Meet the Artist: Terry Flores

Meet Terry Flores —an assistant art director for ecards. This talented and very busy woman loves her job and her commitment to community work. We’re not sure how she finds time to do everything so well, but she’s clearly dedicated as you’ll see.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?

When I was a child growing up in Guatemala I used to love painting colorful things on paper, wood, cardboard, and I loved painting with tempera. I used to watch my mom draw pictures using the grid method and I would copy her.

I realized I was going to be doing a career in art early in my teens, after I painted a copy
of the famous 60’s psychedelic poster of Bob Dylan with rainbow hair created by Milton Glaser. I loved that funky poster so I painted one myself. After that I was hooked on design, working with color and composition. 

Chalk Mural 2011 for Oberlin Chalk walk community event

 What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?

I ’m an assistant art director for e-cards. I originally got an Associates Degree in window display design. I thought I wanted to make my living creating window displays in Beverly Hills since I lived in L.A. at that time. I later got a degree in graphic design from Kent State University and I was hired by American Greetings to design paper greetings cards. Now I’m designing and art directing e-cards. I continue to take studio art classes on weekends or evenings. Right now I’m taking a portrait painting class.

 Could you tell us some more about your work?

 I do a lot of concept and art direction as part of my job creating e-cards, including managing the talking e-cards for I manage a lot of projects using freelancers as well as in-house staff. I enjoy working in Photoshop, making something new by doing photo illustration and manipulation. I also enjoy doing illustration and design using traditional methods like woodcut, watercolor, photo transfer etc. I really enjoy using multiple mediums and techniques to see my vision come alive when I’m creating art.


“City Scape” wax block printing 

 “In homage to Frida Kahlo” woodcut print

 What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?

A lot of things inspire me: a sunny day, a beautiful photograph, a funky sculpture, looking at artists’ blogs, looking at the masters for inspiration. I try to challenge myself in every design I create. I think concept and story development are crucial for e-cards. After all, we are creating a 10-second movies.

 What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?

Well that is a difficult question. I’ve created so many different kind of greetings cards–paper and e-cards–but a few of my favorite e-cards have been collaborations with some of my peers and some where I pushed myself on the concept and design and worked with a great animator to make it come alive. A good example is this beautiful Thanksgiving         e-card. I did the art direction and came up with the concept, designed the type and I worked with two colleagues to make it come alive and it is just beautiful.

 Collaborative e-card  
 Here are a couple that I designed

What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?

I look at a lot of different artists when I begin a design. It all depends on the concept. I like looking at the masters–even though it may be a completely different thing I will be making, it gets me inspired to begin my piece. I think that for a while I was obsessed with the work of Seymour Chwast and David Carson. I guess that makes sense since I was trained as a graphic designer. One of my favorite painters is Edward Hopper.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I am inspired by beautiful photography. I browse artists’ blogs, and I am in Pinterest, where there is tons of inspiration all in one place. Whenever I begin a new project I always envision the end result, although it may not end up exactly like my vision since I like to stay open to happy surprises, and at times when I get lost in the process I rely on my colleagues’ insights to help me get unstuck. We have an amazing group of writers, artists and musicians that make it all come together.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I love design and animation has opened new design challenges for me, but I also love the other things I do outside of my job. I think eventually I see myself teaching art workshops for young children. I do that now as a volunteer and it’s very rewarding seeing all the great things children can create when they are given the opportunity and encouragement.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Be passionate about what you do, do what you love, enjoy the little things in life, and surround yourself with talented, genuine people, from whom you can learn. Most important, be open to new experiences.

And finally, what do you do for fun?

I ’m part of a local artist group that participates in the Oberlin Chalk Walk. I love it:  2012 was my sixth year. I also make jewelry for fun, like to travel, and I do Yoga which keeps me sane and fit!