I came across Samantha Testa's beautiful lettering work after falling down an Instagram rabbit hole, and I'm so glad I did! Painted Palettes features a lot of DC
💗 L O V E 💗 (which I'm obviously a fan of) as well as some gorgeously luxe pieces that make me wonder if it would be weird to cover my apartment walls in gold metallic word art. One day I'll actually take a calligraphy class -- until then I'll just buy some of Samantha's gorgeous pieces to keep me inspired.
What inspired you to start Painted Palettes?
I've been an artist since I can remember...no piece of paper was safe from my (mostly symmetrical) doodles. When I moved to DC, I would bike around the city and take pictures of landscapes that inspired me, which fueled my 3 flagship paintings of Painted Palettes. I decided to have a go at it and starting making paper goods for purchase. Later on in my art career, I was asked to do a hand lettering project for a friend, which opened up a new set of challenges that I LOVED. And it brought me to where I am now...a hand lettering, watercoloring, stationery-slinging artist with a love of puns and the city in which I live.
Tell me about the philosophy behind your brand.
Painted Palettes is equal parts playful art and accessible design. I love puns, bright colors, and locally-inspired designs. I try to incorporate one (or all) of these into my cards and prints. I love teaching workshops, which emphasizes the accessibility of my art. The first reason I love to teach workshops is because I think adults need more built-in time to be creative--we crave it! Second, I like for people to know that what I do can be done by them, too. We're all artists, we just need to believe in ourselves and practice. Art comes in many forms. Many years ago, in Ravenna, Italy, I took a tour of an artist's studio and on the door of the studio was a quote printed on a sheet of plain white paper..."Life Without Art Is Stupid." It struck me as so simple and so true. I have since lost the photograph I took but I think of that quote every day and smile.
Who are some of your local women crushes?
I read about so many women in DC who are CRUSHING it and I feel strengthened by all of their accomplishments. Our ladies who bring us the best restaurants, distilleries, knits, and paper goods. I have a laundry list of inspiring women I want to reach out to and get a drink with! Someone I know personally that I admire is the GM of the West Elm DC, Tennekka Gray....she's a mom, a badass lady boss, and a genuinely nice person who treats everyone with respect and kindness. Love her!
What makes the DC creative community special to you?
This is where I "grew up," not in the sense of longevity but maturity. I found who I really am in this city with every person I met, every mural I fawned over, and every meal that has left me speechless. After 9 years living here and seeing the beautiful transformation, I am so proud to call it home.
Why is fundraising for N Street Village important to you?
My favorite quote of late is "Empowered women, empower women." It speaks to exactly why fundraising for a great organization like N Street Village benefits everyone. Helping even one woman feel valued starts a beautiful cycle of support and lifting each other up.
What are some other causes that are close to your heart?
The political climate has sparked a fire in me...I am ready to stand up for the causes that support all humans and their right to a peaceful life in which they feel supported, heard, and valued. My background is in education. Our teachers are the hardest working people I know I have a strong interest in bettering our education system for both students and teachers.