Kurston Melton + Jeremy Paten
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Our services include but are not limited to graphic design, visual art with a concentration on illustration and painting, creative direction, and design consultation. We like to collaborate and we like to have fun.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
2) Worked a lot of hours for little pay
3) Studied illustration, public relations, and integrated marketing
4) Took a leap of faith
5) Worked in arts administration, public relations, film, project management, digital marketing, and production
How do you stand out in your field?
We are versatile and adaptable. One day we can help curate a gallery wall for you while the next we can create branding for your uncle’s lawn care business. We stand in the middle of the digital world and analog. Pulling from our late 80’s / early 90’s childhoods we remember what it’s like to read newspapers but also chat on AOL. We also remember discovering new music and brands in magazines and on MTV (when they actually played music videos). We love the adventure of the hunt and discovering new content, concepts, and ideas while researching.
We are also partners in everything - life, love, and creativity.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
We are working on a passion project - Black People with Plants (BPWP). It’s a project that stems from our love of nature and gardening. As two Black green thumbs, we were constantly disappointed in the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the plant media world. This drove us to set out to create and control our own narratives.
BPWP focuses on sharing historical facts about Black people in agriculture and gardening, highlighting personal plant connections, and representing Black communities and their plants.
Follow along at www.blackpeoplewithplants.com.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
For our personal and in-house projects our style mixes nostalgia, color, otherness, tradition, approachability, hardships, playfulness, and culture. You can find our work at http://collectionofcollections.net/illustration-1/ and http://collectionofcollections.net/design/.
For clients we create work that visually represents their vision and mission. You can find our work at http://collectionofcollections.net.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
Kurston - floral arranging, interior design, aesthetic building
Jeremy - botany + horticulture, typography
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Kurston - Bookkeeping. Since there’s only two of us I take on more of the administrative roles. Although I do spend a lot of time being creative, I’d like to not spend time crunching numbers.
Jeremy - The formality of design.
Collectively - The lack of knowledge clients have about the value of design and why it’s necessary for their business.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Kurston - Helping us get the word out about Collection of Collections. Marketing is key! It’d be great to have an extra hand in coming up with out-of-the box marketing campaigns to reach more clients.
Jeremy - A brand ambassador. Since we create our own in-house merchandise it’d be great to have someone represent the studio and create brand awareness.
We value collaboration and sharing ideas, so having different perspectives is what can propel us even further.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
Kurston - My college years! I wish I could have studied a semester abroad and double majored in Public Relations and Graphic Design. I took a few design courses in college and later in a post-baccalaureate program, but I wish I had done more in-depth training while in college. I went to Simmons and the professors taught classes in traditional design as in pre-computer when you had to do everything by hand. The process seemed so tedious, but the ability to create such tangible pieces all by hand seems more rewarding than just doing it on the computer. I wish I was able to have that experience to apply to our design practice now. Jeremy went to art school so he had that experience and is able to teach me now.
Jeremy - While cutting my grandmother’s grass in my pre-teens. I wish I would have told myself “The things you’re doing now that are boring will actually serve a purpose in your adult life”. Learning more about landscape design for interiors and exteriors. I wish I could have taken courses in botany + horticulture to really understand the science behind plants. Learning botanical illustration is a beautiful way to study the inner/outer workings of plants.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Creating an intentional business that stays humble, while also pushing the boundaries of the design world.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Working with a new or existing business, particularly one with a physical space on all of their creative needs including but not limited to branding, interior and product design, and marketing materials.
Working with small minority-owned businesses to help them compete in a world filled with corporations and businesses owned by the majority.
Partnering with venues or businesses that allow us to create our own space filled with creative pieces from the Collection of Collections world. It’d be wild to have people spend a few hours or days if they want to in our minds. We literally wake up and stay up late ideating over how to spread the word about design, but in a fun, tactile way.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
Our ideal client understands what it means to collaborate. Also, they are open to better understanding the importance of design for them and/or their business. Having a sense of humor helps too, we like to laugh a lot.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Our rate varies based on the project. Project budgets range from $1000 and up.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Scope of project
Budget (estimated is ok too)
What’s your favorite collection? (Interpret this however you want. :) This could be a personal collection or collection out in the world.)
If you could be a piece of art, what would you be and why?
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Dance. Gardens. Museums. Friends. New Orleans.
This member profile was originally published in January 2019.