Artist Spotlight: Idlewild Co.

IDLEWILD CO., founded in 2010 by artist & designer Katie Gastley, started as a tiny pop-up at the Renegade Craft Festival in Brooklyn, NY. A few shoppers noticed her whimsically hand-painted Brooklyn neighborhood prints and asked if Katie would create their wedding stationery. She soon developed a line of greeting cards and notebooks, and has since expanded into calendars, keychains, phone cases, wrapping paper, and more. Katie’s process always begins with a hand-painted, nature-inspired artwork, which is the core of the Idlewild aesthetic, and pure joy to our souls.

We caught up with Katie about her creative process and how it’s possible to achieve success even if you wake up late and enjoy a slower pace of life.

Idlewild Co. greeting cards, notebooks

Did you always want to be an artist, even in childhood?

Both of my parents are designers, and have always been fine artists on the side. Ever since I was young, I always felt most like myself when I was creating, and I think being raised in an environment that promoted the arts was super beneficial in formulating my own craft. I couldn't imagine spending my days doing anything else, and feel very fortunate that I am doing what I love. 

Katie Gastley of Idlewild Co.

What is your favorite medium to create with? Describe your process.

Although I love experimenting with sculptural mediums (clay, and metal) in my spare time, I am definitely a painter. When I'm working on creations for Idlewild, I tend to use gouache, and paint to-scale of the item I'm designing. Gouache is an opaque, water-based paint that cleans up easily and can achieve huge spectrum of color-range. When I'm at home, I work on much larger scaled abstract paintings in mixed media.

Katie Gastley painting toucan in gouache

Where do you find your inspiration?

I look to nature, interior design, and fashion as my inspirations for my work. Mother Nature is the ultimate creative director, but I like to temper that with a hefty dose of trend-forward fashion and home design!

Idlewild Co. studio painting corner

What does a typical day at your studio look like? How do you manage your time?

I am a late starter, so my typical day starts with coffee at about 10:00 am when I head to the studio. Fortunately, the weather in Florida is usually beautiful so it makes my short commute in my vintage Mercedes convertible very enjoyable - especially with my two dogs in tow!

I usually spend the entire morning answering emails and tackling the "admin" side of our business, checking in with our studio manager and accounts manager to make sure everything is on track for the day and what the week looks like coming up. Ideally I'll spend the afternoon painting and focusing on any design work or prototypes for new products; I like to keep 4-5 uninterrupted hours to myself to really dig into that.

Idlewild Co. studio in Vero Beach, Florida

How does the culture of your city contribute to the development of your independent business?

In 2013, I moved to Vero Beach, Florida from Brooklyn, New York. The stark contrast of day to day life is really apparent. I miss the creative hustle of NYC; it's almost tactile there! But I do enjoy the fact that the pace of life is downshifted here in tropical Florida. Now I'm only beholden to myself to go into overdrive (which I still tend to do).

I'm really lucky that Vero Beach is going through a small business/entrepreneurial boom right now; Idlewild has been tapped to be a contributor to the downtown mural project and we're creating a huge Idlewild mural on a building before Christmas!

Idlewild Co. greeting cards

We hear you have an exciting retail partnership in the works. Do tell!

We're currently working with Blue Sky to create lines of stationery and planners for Target stores! Our first Target collection launched in the Back To College section this past summer, and we have 4 additional collections that will be available in all stores through 2020.

Idlewild Co. stationery, greeting cards, gifts