NAME: Jordan Kay
LOCATION: SEATTLE, WA
SOCIAL MEDIA: @msjordankay
Starting off with her sketchbook at a young age, being an artist came naturally within her creative family. Her characters have since developed as a form of her inner dramatic self, characterized with retro, theatrical sophistication and lots of color. Her success has brought her to work with clients such as Amazon Publishing, Starbucks, Lenny Letter, and more….each project unique in their bold and graphic style. She hopes that her work brings joy and sparks passion for others when they see it, bringing fun into each piece as a component of personal satisfaction.
Meet Seattle-Based Illustrator, Jordan Kay.
Hi Jordan! Thanks for taking the time to speak with pop. WE ARE SO EXCITED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK AND HOW YOU HAVE GROWN TO WORK FOR SUCH LARGE company CLIENTS.
tO START OFF, LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE ARTS. Did art start off as a hobby for you or did you know you wanted to be an artist EARLY ON?
“I always sort of kept a sketchbook growing up -- I suppose it was something that my parents probably gave me as a present at some point when I was young. My dad is a graphic designer and painter and so he was very in tune with creativity and definitely encouraged it in me. He actually used to teach me to read via drawing! He'd draw a little picture of a man and then write "man" under it, and then hand me the crayon and I'd mimic his letterforms and then try to draw the picture he made.”
YOU DEFINITELY HAD A FAMILY BACKGROUND IN THE ARTS THEN, THAT’S SO AWESOME TO HAVE A CREATIVE FAMILY BEHIND YOU IN YOUR ENDEAVORS.
fOR OUR NEXT QUESTION, WhaT WOULD YOU SAY HAS been the biggest challenge of having a creative career?
“Hmm, I guess it's sometimes a bit of a challenge to make each project fun! Sometimes you might take on a project that miiight be a little boring looking to begin with, but then it's so worthwhile to find a little nugget in the brief that you can latch onto and make it grow and develop in your mind into something interesting. The final work I end up loving the most almost always directly reflects the fun I had while making it... if that makes sense!”
tHAT CERTAINLY MAKES SENSE THAT BRINGING THE FUN HELPS IN CREATING SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL WITHIN A PIECE.
Is there a project you've done that particularly stood out to you?
“Haha, I'm currently on a packaging project for an alcoholic beverage (that will remain nameless, because I signed an NDA) that is super fun and I think it's going to turn out really cool! Hopefully people like it! I recently did a large amount of work for Starbucks' social media accounts to accompany powerful stories from their partners and customers, centered around Pride. It was an awesome experience, and I got to work with a very welcoming team from all walks in life, as well as meet some of the people whose stories were told throughout June this year. It was an honor to get to draw such amazing people, work with a kind/inclusive team, and for a brand that has done so much over the last 40 years for the LGBTQIA community.”
Wow, those are such huge projects. Congratulations! That must be so rewarding to see your work used on such powerful company platforms.
What helps you practice patience when working on larger projects?
“Easy! Drawing for yourself on the side. Sometimes breaks are necessary, especially when you're stuck on something, or you think the style isn't quite there. I usually walk away, work on something else (most likely for myself/IG feed) and then come back with a new outlook. It always helps when the timeline is reasonable and gives you room for that break time. Also, I've lucked out so far, in working with so many encouraging art directors, that tend to keep me jazzed about the project all the way through ;)”
“I guess, when I draw people, I'm drawing some part of my inner, dramatic me.”-J.K.
Your work certainly catches the eye. How would you describe your artwork in three words?
“Retro, theatrical, sophistication.”
I can certainly see components of each of those within your pieces. many have touches of decade inspired throwbacks, personalized characters, and an overall elegance to them.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
“Oh man, that's hard. It depends-- if I'm creating something to be produced physically, I want people to hesitate before they throw it away/recycle it etc, some of the best packaging for the (consumable) items I buy, I definitely get a bit sad when it's all used up and I have to discard the packaging (doubly sad too, because, planet.) When people see my work in general, I want them to feel a little joy, or honestly, passion of some sort. I guess, when I draw people, I'm drawing some part of my inner, dramatic me. I definitely see my work pushing into a space of more fervor and more balance between loose expression and tight rendering. I feel like my body of work is always contradicting itself... so I'd like to sort that out in the next coming years.”
Since you have had so much success in working with large brands, What advice would you give to artists looking to book larger client projects?
“The easy thing to say is find an agent! Or find friends in high places. I was once told that you should reach out to any and every artist/business you'd like to work with or collaborate with. The more work gets out in the world in partnership with others, the more the word spreads, the more coveted your work becomes, then ideally, in come the bigger gigs!”