Behind the Design {Cindy Lindgren}

I used to create images for clients and now I’m the client. It took a long time, but I’m finally creating the art I love.

Thistle Giclee print

Thistle Giclee print

Cindy Lindgren graduated MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) with a BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design.  She went on to work  at Don Biehn Advertising Art and has been a freelance Illustrator for over 24 years.  From her beginnings Cindy feels she has definitely evolve, mainly with technology and a move from being a graphic styled air brush artist to a digital artist.  Her work has also evolved in subject matter.

The Process

Cindy’s artistic process begins with live flowers (How FUN!) and doing lots of rough sketches in pencil on paper.   She then refines the drawing to a single outline of the shapes  and scans that tight pencil drawing into her computer. This drawing she has created is then used as the template which she will retrace all her line work with the mouse and create graphic color-filled shapes in layers, much like a silk screener would approach their work, with the background on the bottom then the petals and leave on top of that.   She spends a lot of time fine tuning the colors on her florals and creates more than one colorway. Then her work is printed out on a professional grade printer.

I think the best perk of my career is being able to buy potted flowers for reference and then plant them in my garden.

Columbine Giclee print

Q. Your drawings have a very specific look, what is it about the Arts and Crafts Movement that keeps you creating in this style?

I was drawn to the Arts and Crafts Movement because of its abstract nature icons and earthy color palettes in the textiles. The repetition of images created a wonderful flow in their designs. The Movement emphasized native plants and natural materials in geometric shapes. It feels very ‘Midwestern’ to me. It’s fun to see people react to my florals like the Bleeding Heart cards because they relate to the imagery and it reminds them of places or people in their lives.

Tulip Trio Giclee print

Hyacinth Trio Giclee print

Q.  I read that you prefer to draw plants and flowers that you grow yourself do you have amazing gardens?

My garden is small in the Twin Cities but I grow many of the florals I have illustrated like the Morning Glory, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Lavender, Tulips, Daffodils, etc. I think the best perk of my career is being able to buy potted flowers for reference and then plant them in my garden. There are Ginkgo trees on the boulevard a block from my house and I buy flowers from either Garden Centers or take photographs at local places like Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary. That was where I saw my first Lady Slipper in bloom. We also have a cabin in Northern Wisconsin where we pick wild blueberries that I used for reference and my sister in Iowa has a huge garden in the country that I visit, too.

Poppy and Pod art rug

Blueberry Sprig Fabric

Q.  You have succeeded in so many different mediums of art, prints, textiles… what is next for you?

My next step is building my card line with more reps and expanding my licensing brand. I exhibited at Surtex in NYC last May for surface textile designers and signed a license to create wall murals of my art with Atlas, a Belgium Wallcovering company. I hope to expand into home decor with manufacturers with rugs, fabric, prints and textiles. Locally, I’m going to work on a special chocolate project that I’m very excited about. Stay tuned for that next Spring!

Acorn Oak Leaf Note Card

Q.  What advice do you have for artists just starting out?

Best advice for artists starting out is to find their own voice, their own niche. Find what makes them unique and stay true to it. Also continue to grow, learn and be flexible.


Q.  What is your favorite place in the Twin Cities?

My favorite place in the Twin Cities, besides Lake Harriet where I hang out by my home, is The Lakewood Memorial Chapel located in Lakewood Cemetery by Lake Calhoun. It sounds like an odd choice but when I went in it the first time and saw the amazing Byzantine mosaic art throughout the chapel, I was in awe. It’s stunning and breathtaking. Truly an artistic and architectural gem that I don’t think a lot of people have seen.  http://www.lakewoodcemetery.com/History_Chapel.html

Stone Arch Bridge Note Card

Q.  Who is your favorite local artist?

My favorite local artist is Brian Jensen. I love his paintings. I’ve known his since MCAD and have watched him grow and develop into a wonderful painter. http://brianjensen.com/brianjensen/Welcome.html

More from Cindy Lindgren:

My work is sold at Bibelot, Mother Earth Gardens, The Linden Tree, The Paper Patisserie, Articulture, Minnesota History Center, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Mill City Museum, City Gardens Flower Mill, and The Blue Heron Trading Company (Duluth). My Etsy shop contains all the products I make to sell, Spoonflower has more of my fabrics and I exhibit at various art events in the Twin Cities. This past summer I was the Poster Artist for the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts and for the first time this December I will exhibit at No Coast Craft-o-Rama. I’m also a proud member of HandmadeMN, a collective of Minnesota Etsy shop artists and crafters.

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