MUSE RADAR: Kelly Clawson

Kelly Clawson photographed by Taja Sparks

Kelly Clawson photographed by Taja Sparks

Kelly Clawson is a designer (currently a graphic designer at Urban Outfitters) & co-founder of the Philadelphia chapter to Ladies Wine & Design, an exclusive salon style night hosted monthly for 6 creative women. Kelly has been my saving grace for over 4 years by continuously helping to shape ARI DRIVE. She was the first person I ever put my trust in to help bring our vision to life & steer our brand designs in the right direction. 

Creatively, she always reminds me that an artist has the ability to choose their medium & express themselves however they see fit. There are no rules in the world of creating which is why it's so important to create thoughtfully. In a world of artists, Kelly consciously makes decisions mapping out every detail of each project she approaches to maintain simplicity in the artistic process. With me it's very easy to go overboard, but with Kelly's strong sense of discipline combined with a broad spectrum of artistic technique she effortlessly designs even the most complicated ideas into brilliant simplicity. 

Where are you from & what do you do?

Philadelphia born and raised! I'm a graphic designer and artist.

Where do you find your creative inspiration? Favorite designers, sites, resources?

I find inspiration from artists and designers like Sol Lewitt, Leta Sobierajski, Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Walsh and Daniel Arsham. In general, I gravitate towards artists who work in more than one discipline or medium to create something unusual.

Also enjoy finding inspiration outside of graphic design in books, conversations, movies and art.

What do you think is the key to creative partnerships? Advice to those looking to start collaborating with other creatives.

I’ve found that positivity, humility and approachability are essential. Then it’s about finding someone who can push your ideas and vice versa.

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How did you get involved in Ladies, Wine & Design?

Initially, I loved the idea of a intimate salon to meet and converse with other creative ladies. So I reached out to Jessica Walsh to bring a Ladies, Wine & Design chapter to Philadelphia.

The salons were created to champion others' work and provide mentorship, considering only a small percentage of women are leading the creative industry. Overall, it's been an amazing experience that I host with my co-leading lady, Dylan Garner.

What is one of your dream projects you'd like to work on?

I’d like to work on something sculptural in nature. If I weren't a designer, I would have probably pursued sculpture in art school. I'd love to create something that alters physical space while bringing a design perspective. A mural would also be fun!

Favorite places to travel to & why do you love them? 

California is a favorite destination. I love nature and hiking, so California has so much to offer from the mountains to the desert. I’m also planning to visit Spain and Japan in the near future. I’m sure I'll fall in love with them as well.

Top 7 vinyl tracks you currently love to listen to while designing? 

I'm definitely a vinyl person! Being a designer I enjoy the tactile experience of collecting records. Some top vinyl albums currently in rotation are:

Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers + Let it Bleed + Some Girls

Tame Impala - Currents

Thrice - Vheissu + To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere

Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Best advice for staying creative & pursuing a career in design.

Be open to change and inspiration from unlikely places. Also, never be discouraged by not knowing how to do something. Learning, putting forth the work and continually building your practice can take you further than never attempting at all.

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