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Check Out Normandie Luscher’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Normandie Luscher.

Hi Normandie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was the type of kid to draw and draw and make art out of everything and anything. I remember turning one of my bookshelves into a diorama with handmade props. I was either writing my own stories, putting on plays with my cousins, or dreaming up some projects in my free time. In many ways, I am still the same; I am always thinking of a new project, and if I had 9 lives, I might be able to accomplish all my many goals and ideas. When choosing what to do for my undergraduate degree, I was drawn to Illustration since it was broad and allowed for narrative work that could include words and images. I later realized that Illustration could encompass anything I wanted it to. After graduation, I moved to Brooklyn to pursue textile design. I started working at a textile studio that organized historical swatches that large companies and designers used as a reference to create their fabrics for clothing lines and other merchandise. I then worked at Anthropologie doing window displays for the holiday windows in Rockefeller Center. Simultaneously I met a seamstress, and we started creating our designs and small fashion line. It was a dream to start a company, but we realized how many obstacles we would have to overcome to turn our small idea into a sustainable business model. The seamstress pursued other work, and I followed graduate school, which brought me to MICA. Since being in Baltimore, I’ve found such an affluent community and have been able further to explore my interest in storytelling and surface design. So I guess I’m still trying to juggle my various interests and passions.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been smooth?
Not. I think my path has very much been that of trial and error and throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall. I’ve had ideas that I thought would be a home run to turn project ideas into viable income, but they did not yield the expected results. In being an illustrator, I spend a lot of time asking others for permission to bring an idea to fruition in the form of getting a pitch to an art director or an editor or agent, and often what I think will receive positive feedback doesn’t really. Other times I won’t be very excited about a project, which is what people respond to. But I consider the feedback or lack of feedback as market research. This past year I spent time developing children’s book ideas and pitching those through e-mail, and there wasn’t much response. Still, when I started sending out some greeting card designs, I got more positive responses and have since begun working with an agent to distribute my illustrated products. Sometimes, it’s just about timing and clicking with the right director or collaborator, and you never know when or where that will happen. I continue to reach out, and sometimes, nothing comes of it, but that 100th or 1000th time, something might! While pursuing commercial work, I continue to work on my artwork and storytelling because it keeps me sane and consistent when my illustration opportunities ebb and flow.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am interested in illustration and graphic design, which shows in my work. I’m generally known for using bright ‘candy’ colors; I’ve never been afraid of colors, and in a world that can be challenging, why not brighten things up? I’ve also been developing more lettering work, especially in my greeting card designs, and I am teaching Hand Lettering at MICA for my 4th year. I’ve been enjoying making greeting cards over the holidays for the past few years, and expanding the line of designs this last spring was fun. I am pretty infatuated with being able to draw something digitally and then turn it into a tangible 3D object that people can interact with. In addition to my surface design work, I’ve had an ongoing narrative project since I lived in New York that is in the process of becoming a graphic novel. It takes a lot of time, and I anticipate it will take years, but I’ve started posting one chapter at a time on an Instagram account for my comics. It’s a different type of project and isn’t as commercially based, but sometimes I have stories I just feel I need to tell. My work goes across several genres, from design to fashion to narrative work, but I think my style and use of color are a throughline for my various projects.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you.
I have been lucky in many ways, mainly to have parents who supported my creativity and mentors who encouraged me in my work; not everyone has that kind of support. I’ve felt fortunate to be a part of the undergraduate and graduate programs I was in and to spend time around so many interesting and talented people. Regarding my career opportunities, I could be lucky to meet certain people and times. Still, I also think that if you’re consistently making and pursuing your goals, you’re bound to connect with other people, which can lead to opportunities.

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