Designing Blankets

Over the past week, I have been posting entries to Slowdown Studio’s Art Competition over on my Instagram and today I thought I’d share a bit about more about what I made for it. Here is a little bit about why I chose to enter the competition and what I ended up making for it…

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 20.02.41.png

About Slowdown Studio

For anyone who doesn’t know, Slowdown Studio is the brainchild of Australian-born, Los Angeles-based designer Marc Hendrick. They are a lifestyle brand who collaborate with both emerging and established artists from around the globe to create luxurious products. Slowdown sell a range of prints, textiles and artful objects but are perhaps best known for their illustrated blanket collections. With every range Slowdown Studio produces they aim to celebrate individuality and artistry with their stylish, high quality products. Above this, they wish to promote a slower and more mindful lifestyle as they invite their customers to embrace the slower moments in life. Slowdown Studio’s vibe is very much cool, calm and collected. This even extends to their choice in music which they share through their Monthly Mixtape - a playlist updated 25 eclectic new songs each month. The mixtape provides the perfect soundtrack to listen to whilst designing something to enter into Slowdown’s annual art competition.

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 20.08.44.png

Design by Depeapa

Thoughts On Design Competitions

Design competitions cause a bit of debate within the creative community. Many designers have spoken out against competitions like this one as they believe it is unfair to ask any artist to create work for free. I agree with many of the points raised about art competitions and always look at certain criteria - such as whether the prize is worth the work if you do win and what rights you maintain over the artwork you produce - before entering. Perhaps I will change my mind and be completely against design competitions in future but for now as I am a year away from graduating from Art School, my focus is on personal work for my portfolio and if I can tweak some of these projects so that it gives me the chance of potentially winning a bit of cash then why not?

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 22.47.10.png

Design by Paulina Cáceres

Slowdown’s Art Competition

Every year, Slowdown Studio invite artists from anywhere in the world to enter their annual art competition and be in with the chance of having their design featured in the following year’s blanket collection. The brief is simple: create an artwork in any medium but with the dimensions of 3:4 and post it on Instagram tagging @slowdownstudio and #slowdownartcompetition2019 to enter. Individuals can enter up to 5 times and the top 20 will feature in next years collection and win a cash prize plus a blanket they designed. I have followed Slowdown’s art competition through Instagram over the past couple of years but this is the first time I have chosen to enter. I made the decision to enter based on the prize, exposure and fact that artists keep the right to sell any winning artworks as prints. Plus seeing something I created in blanket-form sounds like a dream!

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 20.08.14.png

Design by Rachelle Sartini Garner

Last Year’s Winners

Whenever I am entering a design competition, I always have a little look at the previous winners. This is to make sure my own design taste match up with the brand’s aesthetic. In Slowdown’s case, last years winners can easily be found here. Looking at the previous winners you can see that Slowdown have a distinct style: understated and sophisticated but still with plenty of personality. From this, I gathered that my illustration style is a pretty good fit with Slowdown and was certain I had to finally enter. I was so impressed by all of the previous winners and would highly recommend checking out all their work, especially Depeapa and Daniel Barreto.

My Blanket Designs

So once I had decided to take part, all that was left to do was actually create some designs to enter! As there is obviously no guarantee you will gain anything from entering a design competition - especially one as popular as this - I make sure not to spend too much time on my entries. With briefs as open as Slowdown’s, it can be a great opportunity to raid through your old sketchbooks and revisit some unfinished ideas. In my first year at art school, I created a whole series of prints where I used Xerography to stretch drawings of animals and make some weird yet wonderful designs. You can read about the project in a post I wrote for Inkygoodness at the time all about learning to borrow ideas here. Since then, the designs have been lying unused in a drawer but I have always loved the idea over revisiting the project as it was so fun to do and the results were fun and unusual. I thought the wonky zebra in particular would make a pretty chic blanket…


Next up, I wanted to take a look at turning some old life drawings I did at the All The Young Nudes life drawing club a few years ago into proper designs. I love loose life drawings all on their own but I thought if I combined them with a bit of colour then I could create something which felt both on trend and unique at the same time. I quite quickly mocked up a couple of geometric back drops, layered on top a couple of my favourite inky nudes and I had my final designs. I want to open an online shop in the very near future so with all these designs I thought about how they would work as prints. With these 2 in particular, I decided to design the backdrops together so that the worked as a pair of art prints...


For my fourth and final design, I actually reused a piece I created for a different competition a wee while back. This might seem a little lazy but I think of it more as having an efficient, “waste not, want not” mentality. The geometric design below was created on the vague theme of creativity - the shapes aim to convey the idea different design elements and concepts fitting together in exciting and unexpected ways. I was really happy with it first time round and thought it would once again make a pretty stylish blanket. Who doesn’t to wrap themselves up in a pleasing colour scheme?


So there you have it - my 4 entries to this year’s Slowdown Studio Art Competition. However they do in the competition, I am pleased with them all and they have given me ideas for a whole host of prints I can sell when I finally open an online shop (more on that very soon). Above that, they have kept me busy and creative! Like many art students I think, I struggle to motivate myself during the long Summer break so it has been good to show myself I can complete self initiated projects. Time to start some bigger and better personal projects I think! As for the competition itself, it is extremely popular so my hopes aren’t sky high but, at the same time, someone has to win…