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Author Topic: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?  (Read 5357 times)

Offline sarafina

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Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« on: Thursday 18 April 2013, 04:20 pm »
I found an old folder of mine from childhood, and I absolutely love it...it has a sweet little fox on it, and the back of the folder shows several other designs, including an otter folder that I desperately want.

The only info I have is that these folders were part of the "Secrets" collection and were made by Brushcreek Creative (part of Plymouth Inc. & out of Radford, VA).  I would absolutely love to find the other folders (and other school/office supplies in the series, if they existed) - even the artist's name would be helpful (sadly, I can't find a signature on the artwork).

Does anyone recognize these?  Any leads would be greatly appreciated! :)



Offline sarafina

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 20 May 2013, 10:41 pm »
Mystery solved! :)  The talented artist's name is Patty Krizan!

I spoke with Patty today, and I have to say - she is quite possibly the sweetest person I've ever chatted with!  She's absolutely lovely.  She has a box of Secrets folders and other goodies that she's going to sift through, so I'll post updates here as I know them. :)

Sadly, all of the originals are lost - when Brushcreek Creative laid off its staff and closed its doors, most everything disappeared one way or another. 

There were actually two series - Secrets 1 & Secrets 2.  One had more exotic animals (polar bear, koala, panther, etc.).  Only folders were produced, and there were six pieces in each series.

She was given a lot of free reign with the project - she was basically told that they wanted something bright, with cute, big animals, and Patty took it from there.

Patty loved detailed drawing and created multiple sketches in preparation for each painting.  She would work on multiple sheets of transfer paper, continuing to add more detail, and would transfer everything onto illustration board with graphite paper.  She then painted the images with watercolor and would use colored pencils for small accents (the tips of fur, etc.).  She also used frisket masking film, which she would cut out with an x-acto knife, to get very exact edges.  At the time, this process was pretty unique, since so many companies were excited about computers and were doing digital art for folders, etc. instead of having artists use traditional methods.

She had a timeline to work under, of course, so she would keep track of how long she had spent on sketching for each piece - if she saw it was taking too long, she'd have to speed up to get to the painting itself.  One painting, the Panda, was completed by a different freelance artist (a man), since all of the pieces were so time-consuming.  Patty drew the picture, and this artist painted over it (and you'll notice that the Panda and the flowers in that image are not nearly as "soft" as the other paintings).  Vivian Boswell did the leopard cub painting.

Patty wanted to make the animals real-looking, but not realistic - she wanted them to be fanciful.  She did a lot of research on the flowers that went into each picture, and in a lot of ways, composing the pieces was like working with collage in terms of adding all of the different elements together. 

After Brushcreek Creative closed down, Patty went to work for Hallmark.  She now works as a freelance artist and primarily does digital work.  She often sketches something and then scans it in to her computer, where she can add color and manipulate it. 

As Patty mentioned, the nature of this kind of work is such that the artist rarely gets feedback from the public.  As she said, "You hope that people enjoy what you do", and I've been so happy to tell her how much her art has meant to me and how so many other people from my generation remember and love her work as well. :)


Offline catlover51

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 21 May 2013, 01:15 am »
Awesome detective work! I love these folders. I thought the art reminded me of a greeting card I used to have (and hope I still do).
I always cringe when I hear that companies have closed without leaving any records for future researchers trying to find their old memories, well the stuff that brings those memories.  ;)

Offline sarafina

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 01 December 2013, 04:19 am »
(Thanks, catlover!  I'd love to see the greeting card you have!)

I'm SO beyond thrilled right now!

A giant package from Patty arrived in the mail today - full of cards, stationary, plushies, etc. that she has designed.  And, of course, Secrets folders!!

Here's a photo of the folders (as well as a cute scrapbook she designed)...I'll scan in the folders later, but suffice it to say at the moment that they are just gorgeous!!  The colors are so vibrant and make me feel like I just stepped back into my childhood. :)

I have to say that it's quite astounding to have these in my hands - I had admired that artwork for so long & never dreamed that I'd get a package of it from the artist herself.  Many thanks to all of you for following this and for your help finding Patty! :)

Offline luckdragon

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 31 December 2013, 02:28 am »
I remember those.  I definitely remember having the black bear and the otter.

Very nice that she sent that stuff to you!  :)

Offline EmBee

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 15 February 2014, 03:05 pm »
Beautiful artwork!  So glad you found the artist.  These are really, really cool.  I feel like maybe I had something similar to the zebra.  Thanks for sharing!


Offline 90sfairy

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Re: Vintage 90s "Secrets" folders - anyone know the artist?
« Reply #6 on: Friday 11 July 2014, 07:21 am »
Oh wow! That's so sweet! I'd be touched if it happened to me! My childhood fave and still is Shirley Barber :)