As a full-time art director at a publishing company, Knoxville native Kristen Vasgaard designs book covers to capture the personalities of fiction novels, biographies, and cookbooks.
In her spare time, Kristen channels that artistry to create a series of state prints inspired by her Southern upbringing and extensive travel.
For each 8- by 10-inch piece, she pairs a well-known lyric or song (Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” graces the Peach State print) with a watercolor illustration. Anticipating fiercely territorial college sports fans and their preference for school colors, Kristen can customize the color of any piece.
“I sketch with a marker on bristol board art paper and scan it. Using Photoshop, I get the layout of the letters just right and finish the lettering and design.”
“Some of the songs for the states are obvious, such as James Taylor’s ‘Carolina In My Mind.’ For other states, I ask friends and research songs and poems.”
“For a state like Tennessee, picking a color is easy because of UT’s orange. Sometimes I choose colors that feel right, such as beachy aqua and yellow for Florida.”
“I can tailor the colors and background textures to provide a custom piece of art. I’ve done both UNC blue and NC State red for North Carolina.”
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