March 20, 2021 3 min read

THE BASICS
 

Name:
Mel Kadel

Residence:
Los Angeles

Occupation:
Artist
Mel Kadel portrait

We caught up with artist Mel Kadel to talk about her process, inspiration, and her original piece Dots & Daisies - featured on The Original Puffy 1-Person and Junior sizes, and Beer Blanket as part of this season of the Rumpl Artist Division.

Your work has a vintage feel. What process do you use to get new materials to have the classic, aged look and feel?

I would always rip out the blank pages of old books that were super yellowed, and I’d go through all the thrift stores and buy up all the books and tear the sheets out. But that limits. You can only use a little bit of pen, and you can’t use water, and it’s very fragile that way.

I wanted something where I could get that same beautiful old tone- you know that soft yellow that has an old-fashioned feel, and I just like the way that matches to bright colors, so to mimic that, I started staining very heavy paper with coffee. I use this 300 lb Arches paper- it’s super strong. It almost feels like thin wood. And I really tear each corner precisely, so it builds this natural edge. Then, I brew my Folgers coffee (I, for some reason, have stuck with Folgers). I take it out to a board in the sun. I lay the paper out. I splash water on it and let the water sit for a second. And then, when the coffee hits that, it sort of soaks into the paper. I let the sun soak it in and give it a second coat right before it starts to dry for a few days.

Mel Kadel holding her flower Rumpl blanket
Mel kadel painting flowers for Rumpl
Mel Kadel pouring coffee on paper

How would you describe your work? What do the subjects in your pieces represent?

I think it’s very intimate. It’s strong and gentle at the same time. It’s illustrative. I guess I’d describe it as an emotional/psychological blend of imagery. I draw this girl often, and they always ask if that’s me. I think I reach for my emotional and psychological journeys, and then I assign that to this other person (the girl), but it really is coming out of my thoughts, my growth, personal battles, and things like that.

Mel kadel painting flowers at her desk

"I think I reach for my emotional and psychological journeys, and then I assign that to this other person (the girl), but it really is coming out of my thoughts,
my growth, personal battles,
and things like that.
"

mel kadel's painting of a woman

Your work (including Dots & Daisies) has a ton of bright colors and whimsical patterns. What do you like most about this particular print being printed on Rumpl products?

I’m crazy about doing florals on anything that’s wearable or that you can interact with because my work is so narrative, but these are the elements that I think work best on something that can be used and can be enjoyed.

Dots & Daisies is a pattern I’ve always wanted to see at that scale and enjoyed by people outdoors, springtime, flowers. I mean the whole thing. I am just thrilled with it. I love how it turned out because I just want more flowers in the world.

Dog wrapped in Dots & Daisies Rumpl blanket
Mel Kadel painting flowers for rumpl blanket

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