How She Did It: Junkprints Founder Chanel Kennebrew Talks the Business of Art

January 24, 2012  |  

“A lot of the times I’ll illustrate little pieces of things, collect signage, take pictures and recompose it. I’ll shoot then illustrate over it until I feel like it’s a finished piece,” she added, speaking of the photo-illustration process. Using a combination of pictures and illustrations (mixed media) is what gives Junkprints items their distinct look.

Running a Creative Business Alone

“It’s one thing if I open a design business and do branding for other people, but on something that’s transparent and that’s coming out of my head, there’s a boldness and a selfishness,” said Kennebrew. “It’s basically saying I feel what I think is important and I need to invest all my time and energy into getting it out into the world. There’s a deliberate attitude that comes into play when running one’s own business; it’s fun.”

Through Junkprints, Kennebrew has contributed her designs to brands not limited to Nickelodeon, Pepsi, MTV and Birkenstock. However, as fun —and time consuming — these projects are, Kennebrew says they definitely aren’t easy to obtain.

“I call Junkprints my graduate program, because there are a lot of things that would have been nice if I had known. It’s a lot of work and I’m definitely working a lot of hours,” she said.

Running Junkprints not only takes up a lot of time, but also requires persistence. Outside of being present at every art fair from the Bronx to Staten Island, Kennebrew remembers setting up even when there wasn’t an event.

“I’d set up on the street in SOHO and people would be like, ‘I just saw you!’ [My advice to individuals] with the ‘I’m going to start a business, I’m not going to be in the system and I hate corporate America,’ perspective; you’re going to pay for your learning somewhere. I feel that I kind of stumbled through some things business wise.”

Once in a while, Kennebrew will enlist others to help with Junkprints, but for the most part, it is a one-woman operation.

“I sell artwork as well,” she chimed. A thought provoking artist, it’s no surprise that she produces huge mixed media canvases that belong to larger movements.

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