A little about me . . .
I grew up in Marin County with a fascination for drawing and building Lego cities. Focused on becoming an urban planner, I graduated UC Santa Barbara (Environmental Studies/Political Science) but the pull toward art, and my parent's steady faith in me, eventually lead me to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After graduating, I landed at the Nokia Design Center in Los Angeles to work as a Senior Graphic Designer for the Asia Pacific region. I later moved on to other creative pursuits at various design firms in the Bay Area. My corporate experience at the time spanned from art direction, graphic design, and copywriting, to branding, identity, exhibit and multi media design. Several of my projects found recognition in various publications worldwide, like I.D. Magazine and one earned a spot in the New York Film Festival.
In 2004, I got an itch to venture out of the corporate world and whip up a little fun on my own. I launched GLEAUX (pronounced *glow*), an uber-custom San Francisco-based stationery and invitation design studio. Here, I spent years of grueling, but strangely satisfying, late nights masterminding and meticulously hand-assembling (with the help of my wonderful non-artsy husband) elaborate, out-of-the-box paper creations. Before I knew it, without ever spending a dime on advertising, a feature story in the SF Chronicle Magazine, and mentions in the Oakland Tribune, InStyle, SF Magazine, 7x7, and NBC’s Today Show carried me the rest of the way : )
After relocating to San Diego in 2012 along with that wonderful husband Chad, and three young children, Luke, Reid and Brooklyn, I expanded my studio to include illustration, painting, fine art photography, 3D sculpture, collage, mixed media, and various types of decor. My bright and colorful home-based makery in Del Sur is where I craft the fresh and original creations I sell all over the world via my GLEAUX online shop ( here ) and other popular online retailers. I also work as a "candid" photographer, building a steady and genuine connection with my subjects and using my graphic designer's eye to frame and capture the essence of mostly unposed moments~ hopefully turning them, not only into precious memories, but into art.
In 2017, my goal as both artist & photographer is to embark on a personal journey to study, practice, and celebrate the ART OF SEEING. Whenever possible, I get in a car or plane and go until I'm out of the "bubble" where I can sit quietly or wander, mostly unnoticed, with my camera or sketchbook. Here I can really witness and absorb the vibrations of the coarser, sometimes forgotten, more organic, unpolished, and un-zoned corners of life. I return home with a full range of emotion, appreciation and courage to create from deep within... to let expectation, judgement, market research, and pressure to follow popular trends, just fall away... to create unconsciously.
In this digital age with all our crazy schedules, I try to get my kids to slow down, take a seat in our “Makery”, and relax long enough to use their hands to make things that make them happy. Let's just say we have no shortage of God's Eyes, slime, squishies, popsicle stick art, duct tape wallets, glue-gun skate ramps, rubber band guns, woven bracelets, claymation characters, cardboard arcades, and red cup sailboats, to name a few! The motto at our house is *make awesome things with all your heart even (especially) if no one cares or will ever see them*. Just imagine and make. No judgements. And with that, it’s time for me to get back to work. Thank you for stopping by : ) -Erika Rhein Givens