The Makers: Bianca Yvonne Creates Retro-Inspired Art

This illustrator and designer marries retro-fun with sharp detail in her abstract world of art
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The Makers is a new column on Seattlemag.com that explores different Seattle creatives and their crafts. These artists live to design, connect and create.

When 8-year-old Bianca Yvonne went to her elementary school's book fair, she didn't bring home a Beverly Cleary novel like many of her peers. "I found a book called How to Build a Website for Kids, and I read it front to back three times that night," she says. "I made my first website that weekend, all about ghost hunting." From that point on Yvonne knew she wanted to be a web and graphic designer when she grew up.

After spending a year at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Yvonne decided art school wasn't for her and returned to her hometown Seattle, finishing her undergrad at University of Washington. For the next three years she worked in advertising then left the field to pursue projects that supported her art. Now 24, the full-time freelance illustrator and designer has a portfolio that includes clients like Skype, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Strideline Socks.

Yvonne's artwork marries physical and digital. Her pieces are often marbled with color and geometric design, depicting '80s retro-inspired influences. It has a fun and lighthearted feel, with layers and textures that draw the eye in. "I want people to see something a bit different: graphic, sharp, something that is fun to look at. I want to bring an interesting element to the space," she says.

Strideline by Bianca Yvonne for Seattle magazine
Casimes designed a range of socks for Seattle-based Strideline Sock company; Photo Credit: Bianca Casimes

Her Capitol Hill apartment doubles as a studio, often taking on the life of whatever project she's invested in. "In order for me to get started on something I simply have to start. And then iterate, produce, go out for a whiskey, come back and try again."

Yvonne says she draws inspiration from the desire to travel anywhere new, her roots and history, seeing others she admires become successful, and summers in Seattle. A perfect day includes moments at some of Seattle's most adored locales: brunch at Oddfellows, rummaging through her favorite Ballard thrift stores, a pit-stop at Thai Tom's on The Ave and a jaunt to Golden Gardens, before making it to the deck of Captain Black's patio in time for a sun-soaked happy hour.

She loves Seattle for the bodies of water and dark foliage, but expresses reservations about the way the city's changing. "My biggest fear right now is that Seattle is changing into a Silicon Valley replica. And while I respect and appreciate the tech industry--I'm loosely involved with it--I don't want to lose the art scene. Or the rock n' roll." (Yvonne is a self-proclaimed rock 'n' roll girl at the most basic level. She's currently jamming to the psychedelic rock sounds of Jeff and the Brotherhoods.)

Ziibra wallpaper by Bianca for Seattle magazine
This piece for Bianca's Ziibra.com profile combines digital and physical illustration; Photo Credit: Bianca Casimes

Though rather than let the current state of change deflect from her art, she plans to keep doing what she does best: exploring new boundaries in illustration and graphic design, documenting life musings in her new blog, PineNoir, and going for a whiskey and a rock show, in the moments between.

Between her girlhood ghost hunting website and freelance career to date, Yvonne's art has taught her important life lessons: "Just work. And document and share that work. And be nice."

For more on Yvonne, check out her blog, portfolio, and current work.

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