5 Questions with Alex Labriola of Alstampa

We’re giddy about our collaboration with Amsterdam based design studio, Al Stampa.  Designer, Alex Labriola (pictured above), created an original playground print launching this month on our pajamas and bear eared hats and sold exclusively on Maisonette and Paper Cape.  The inspiration for the print was the concept of a modern toile that celebrates the magic of childhood play.  We think the results are dreamy...

We interviewed Alex to share a little more about her process:

Describe how you became a print artist and what you love about it.

I'd say by immersing myself in the world of print design, and then just doing it! I have always dreamed of creating my own illustrated wallpaper line, (which will be coming out soon) having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, I began exploring print design right out of college.  I created some silkscreened wallpaper patterns on grasscloth for the company I was working for at the time, and it was so rewarding seeing my prints up in people’s homes! I think creating something people love enough to put in their homes, or wear on their bodies, is truly special and such a fun part of the process

What is your creative process like?

Because I’ve been creating for so long, there’s a specific feeling I get when I approach a project and feel ready to get into it.  There are days when things just aren’t clicking and I’ve learned to take breaks when this happens, so I can come back to the project with a fresh perspective and less pressure. I get to draw, design, letterpress, and brand strategize for numerous clients, and this array of services I provide keep me feeling really energized, because they are all so different. I think my main way of sticking to the creative process is to keep organized so that when I do sit down to work on a new brand's mood-board, or an illustration for a publication, I have organized other aspects of small business ownership enough so that I can put it out of my mind. I pick days for admin only, for press outreach, for instagram strategy etc, so that I can really hone in on the tasks at hand.

What tools do you use?

      I love my iPad Pro, which I just bought this past December.  I used to draw by hand, scan in my drawings and then clean them up in Photoshop.  Now this tool just allows me to draw directly on the tablet, and export to PSD.  

      I also do a lot of printmaking for clients, letterpress mainly.  I use a Vandercook Press, and I source beautiful handmade paper from Italy, France and Germany mostly.  My business started on letterpress printing custom wedding invitations, and while there are fewer wedding clients, I still print specialty items for clients here and there.  

      Finally, I always use my Japanese Dictionary of Color Combinations, and now Mohawk Keaykolour for color inspiration.  And my favorite drawing pens are Japanese Pigma FB pens in black.

      What was the inspiration behind the Paper Cape print?

          The Paper Cape print was inspired by color and playful kids.  We wanted to create tiny scenes of kids playing. The scale of these scenes almost makes these little dots, so from far away it could just look like beautiful splotches of color, but up close you see what’s going on.  I love the color palette, and can’t wait to see it in person! I have a little niece who will look perfect in it :) 

          Do you have a favorite memory of an item of clothing from your childhood?

              As a matter of fact I really do! I stumbled upon this wool felt jacket recently, that was my obsession when I was about 6. This woman used to take old wool felt blankets and repurpose them into these amazing somewhat shapeless fall jackets.  I remember I lost it once and I was devastated, and then the snow melted and we found it outside.

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