We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Ivins and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heather, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
There was never going to be another choice for me—I’ve always known that I would work as a creative, in some capacity or another. I’ve been creative/artistic since as far back as I can remember, and I’m fortunate to have a family that encouraged and supported my creative expression.

As a young kid, I would design stickers and sell them at family yard sales. I would cut up newspapers, rearrange the pieces, and write new text to create my own publications. As a teenager, I hand painted t-shirts and gifted them to friends and family, which eventually led to painted t-shirt commissions (remember the days of puffy paint?). I would sculpt trinkets for friends to hang on their rear-view mirrors and paint my friends’ portraits as flowers, giving them petals instead of hair. It has always brought me joy to make others happy with my artwork.

In my senior year of high school, I participated in the school’s work experience program, where you would leave school for most of the day to go to work. I remember being in search of a job and flipping through the yellow pages to find something suitable. I was determined to find a position that would make good use of my creative skills. I came across the sign-making industry and quickly found myself working at a little sign shop in Stuart, where I began learning graphic design on the job. In my spare time, I continued to teach myself graphic design applications and principles in order to pursue a career in it.

I’ve since worked as a designer for over 20 years for a number of companies, including AOL and Fast Company Magazine. Most recently, I’ve joined forces with my husband, John Ciambriello, to officially form HEATHER & JOHN, a creative studio specializing in brand design, post-production photo editing, and illustration. Our most recent project was the re-branding of our local arts council, MartinArts. This was a very rewarding project for us, as my husband and I are both members of the local arts community.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
In addition to being a graphic designer, I’m also a fine artist and illustrator. I love to experiment and to explore different media, techniques, and subjects. I don’t just do one thing—which is kind of a theme running through my whole life (I’ve also dabbled in music and health coaching!). I don’t like comparing myself to other artists, but perhaps this is what sets me apart—you never know what you’ll get from me! I’m best known for my photorealistic colored pencil pet portrait commissions. But, I also paint with watercolor and gouache. And ink. And Posca paint pens. And my fingers! And cat whiskers! The one thing that I think remains consistent, though, is that I like the finished artwork to convey a sense of beauty and wonder.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
THE BEACH! The beach is a must, obviously, when visiting Florida (I’m in Stuart). On our way back, we would stop at Ital Bowls for a healthy treat. We would take bike rides around town and enjoy the beautiful local environment. Anyone visiting me has to come with me to my favorite little cafe and storefront, Hani Honey Company. They have awesome bubble tea, coffee drinks, and really yummy food. We would also head to Gilbert’s Coffee Bar to enjoy a tasty beverage while taking in the gorgeous sunset—they have the perfect view of the sunset over the marina. We would walk along the water and over to Downtown Stuart. After that, we would definitely hop in the car and go eat at my favorite restaurant, South Fork Kitchen and Bar. And then we’d come home and relax in my back yard looking at the stars. That’s just the first day of the visit—the rest of the week, just hit repeat.

Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family. My mom, April Newswander, has always been super-supportive of my artistic pursuits. My husband, John Ciambriello, is my rock. He’s also my sounding board and has no qualms about telling me something isn’t working or needs re-thinking (or sucks!). And my son, Lee, is incredibly creative, artistic, and unafraid to be himself—he’s an inspiration to me.

Website: www.heatherivins.com & www.heatherandjohn.co

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heatherivins & https://www.instagram.com/heatherandjohn.co

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherivinsart

Image Credits
John Ciambriello

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