Art Pack Sneak Peek #1

by Ken Greene

Jessica Pollak's Pack: Panther Edamame

We often get asked how we pick our artists and how art is turned into a seed pack. This series will share some of those stories while giving snippets of what this year’s collection of Art Packs holds in store.

When artists apply to become pack artists, they send us two existing images of their work, a bio, and a link to their website. They have no idea what the varieties might be. We look closely at each and every entry before we start making any decisions. We also take the time to look at each artist’s website. In the case of Jessica Pollack, this was a game changer.

Jessica Pollak

Jessica is a multi-talented artist. She says she was interested in creating a pack for the Seed Library "because it's such a fun project. I loved the idea of transforming a seed packet from disposable envelope into an affordable piece of art." The images she chose to send us represented the kind of artwork she imagined a seed company might be looking for:

While we really liked her style and it was clear she could do a good pack, we weren’t sure this was the right kind of art for our packs. We're not like most seed companies or business who use graphic design artists for packaging. We are looking for a wide diversity of contemporary fine artists. Since we liked her work, and Jessica had a website, we decided to check it out and see what else was there. We went to her website (which used to be called Emu Attacks! but is now redone as First Pancake Studio.) That’s when we saw this:

The color palette, the dense storytelling, the bold characters, the balance of classical fairytale with modern sensibility, and the originality all screamed Pack Artist! We got in touch with her to see if she would work in the same style for her pack. We then had to find a good variety match for Jessica. When we’re assigning varieties to selected artists it’s like being a matchmaker. The personalities, characteristics, habits, and histories of the artist and varieties have to be compatible. We want the artist to feel inspired by and connected to their variety. The variety we chose for Jessica was Panther Edamame. We thought she was the best choice to interpret this unique soy bean- and that she could draw an awesome black panther. "I was thrilled I was given a variety with such a fun animal to draw," she says. "From the start I had a very clear idea of how I wanted it to look."

Here is the proposal she created:

Here’s what the work looked like in progress:

And here's a sneak peek of the top flap of the pack:

Now that her pack is done (she's the only one outside of the Seed Library who knows how it came out) here's what she has to say about the experience. "Thank you to all the gardeners who buy the art packets!  Your support allows artists like me to wake up everyday excited to go to work.  If you're an artist and you love veggies and flowers then think about submitting your work!"

We hope you have as much fun paging through Jessica’s website as we did and that you’ll come to one of the upcoming Art of the Heirloom exhibits to see her original piece. The pack will be available in our Season’s Seedings Holiday Catalog in November. There are limited quantities of this pack as we are the only commercial source of seeds in the country. We need to keep enough of these rare seeds to plant again next year! If you'd like to be one of the first to receive the catalog when it's ready, make sure you are signed up for our monthly Seeder's Digest email.

More Sneak Peeks on the way!