We've partnered with the incredibly talented Courtenay McKay of JOJO & GUN for the Valentine postcards that are sent with our Beltagrams. Hurry - you have until February 14, 2020 to get in on the belt-lovin' fun.
As rabid fans of her cheeky take on Edmonton's must-see-sights in her City of Champions Postcard Collection, we just HAD to partner with local designer Courtenay to create the limited-edition Valentines to send alongside our Beltagrams. Her use of color, expressive illustration style and sense of humor made her a perfect fit for this collab. Marketing Manager Kat had the joy of connecting with her to talk a little bit about art, #YEG and which Valentine candy reigns supreme.
Kat: Thanks for chatting with me today. We were so excited to work with you on this collaboration. To start with, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Courtenay: Sure! I grew up outside of Edmonton, went to school for visual communication design at the University of Alberta, and work as a graphic designer and illustrator here in Edmonton. I have two cats, Jodie and Gunther (namesake of JOJO & GUN). I like crafting, listening to podcasts, occasionally attempting to cook, but also checking out Edmonton's awesome food scene. I started JOJO & GUN just over a year ago, and I'm happy to say it's been keeping me busy ever since!
K: Okay, I LOVE that the brand is named after your kitties! Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative field?
C: Not always! All through grade school I loved drawing and making things, but I thought I was going to end up doing something in the sciences; I wanted to be a pharmacist for a long time. Then when it came time to actually plan for post-secondary, I realized I was more passionate about art and design and decided to go for it! Definitely happy with my choice, I can't imagine doing anything else today.
K: You can definitely see the passion in your work. What inspired you to launch your own line, JOJO & GUN?
C: I've been working as a graphic designer for about 10 years now, but it's not very often that I get to incorporate illustration into what I'm doing, so I wanted to create a project for myself that could be an outlet for that. I settled on the postcards about Edmonton because when I'm traveling, my favorite souvenir to pick up for myself is an illustrated postcard: they're inexpensive, they don't take up a lot of space in your suitcase, but mainly I love having this mini art print that an artist or illustrator created with the idea of wanting to show people, "this is what my city is about!"
K: I love sending postcards when I travel. It's such a fun way to share your experiences with people.
C: I think postcards are great because they're a nice way to say "hey! I saw this and thought of you!" or "I was traveling here and thought you should know about this!" It takes a bit of extra effort to actually mail something so it just makes it that much more special. Also, it's lovely getting art in the mail instead of junk!
K: As an expert on Edmonton's hidden gems and endearing quirks, where is your favorite spot to hang out?
C: A friend took me to Paul Kane park for the first time this summer and it's such a great park! An awesome place to hang out and read or draw on a nice day. Alternatively, the patio at Next Act Pub is my favorite place to hang out in Old Strathcona. You're right in the heart of Whyte Avenue and there's always something going on.
K: Why did you choose to collab with Unbelts?
C: The Unbelts team is so passionate about what they do, about their product, and their community. I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with a company that cares so much about creating, not just a great product, but a memorable experience for their customer in the form of the Beltagram!
K: Aw shucks. Okay, I was maybe fishing for compliments there. Now for the big one: Fuzzy peaches, conversation hearts or cinnamon candies?
C: Fuzzy Peaches!
K: We had to hide the Fuzzy Peaches in the office because we were unable to restain ourselves, so it's safe to say we wholeheartedly agree. Thanks, Courtenay for taking the time to chat with us!