Joy. Love. Happy. These are the words you see most often in the artwork created by Lynn Giunta, the artist whose work is featured on our cover. Scroll through her Instagram account @lynn_giunta and her eye-catching, beautiful collages always make us smile. An artist who has also worked professionally with Hallmark for over 30 years, we asked her to share a bit about her process, inspiration and a few thoughts on love. Lynn also shares her art on the cover of our LOVE issue available now.

Your work is so beautiful, colorful, joyful and positive. Where do you find the inspiration for the phrases you bring to life in your artwork?
I find that I do my best work when I am constantly thinking and planning and mulling over what to create, instead of saying, “Now I’m going to sit down and be creative.” I love words—I love the power of words, and I find it endlessly fascinating how much emotional impact words can have. I’m constantly listening and observing and collecting words. I jot them down on my phone; I have a huge list. Or sometimes I just have a phrase that will sit on the back burner of my mind until I almost can’t wait to get a chance to bring it to life. I think of my art as conversations about my life—most of my work is very personal.

Share with us your creative process. Do you always work in collage? Do you work on the computer as well?
My process is that I usually start with the words or situation; I will sometimes do a very rough sketch just to give myself a sense of composition. I more often use sketches when the work is tighter, for instance a commission that needs to fit a specific size. The next thing I often do is pick out my colors; I find color really inspiring. I might have a piece of research that I use as a jumping off point, or I just start to look through my collections of papers and start to pull colors that I think are working well together. I have my papers organized by color family, so I find it really exciting to leaf through and pull out painted papers that I forgot about. Or sometimes that will be the trigger that pushes me to do a limited color piece, just black, neutral and a bright. I might take some time to brush out patterns on the papers, creating patterns can be really calming and fun. I also like how it makes the papers unique to me. Then I just jump in and start cutting things out. I will cut and recut. I’ll change colors and sizes.That’s the thing I love about collage, it’s very flexible and forgiving. When I’m doing collage for fun, I just glue it all down when I’m done. When I’m doing a project like the book I recently finished, I will scan in all of my pieces and finish the job on the computer. That gives me much more flexibility in changing sizes and colors when I’m working with an art director.

Share with us what you love about what you do? 
Making a collage brings me joy—actually making anything with my hands makes me happy, but creating a piece of collage art with words is something that I love to do. As I started to get more and more into collage, I realized how much love positive words and phrases. I will sometimes try to do something a little more snarky and I realize I just don’t like it as much. My hands are happy cutting out with scissors, and my brain is happy because I’m constantly thinking about words that bring hope.

Share with us artists or creators who inspire your work:
Sister Mary Corita, Alexander Girard and Paul Rand. These are the three artists that I go to time and time again. They worked in the ‘40s-’70s, and their work captures the essence of amazing design. Their work always feels inspiring and fresh to me.

Morgan Harper Nichols @morganharpernichols
She has such a powerful way of harnessing emotion into words, and pares her words down to just the ones that matter. She really captures the human experience—I’m always moved by what she shares.

Poppy Dodge @poppydodgeart
She has such a great eye for color—her color combinations are really inspirational to me. It almost makes me want to paint. We do completely different kinds of work, but her color explorations, her sense of play, her use of scale and composition always make me happy.

Terry Runyan @terryrunyan
Terry is my friend who is an entrepreneur and creative coach, and the most amazing illustrator. She is the one who got me to start creating work for myself. We taught an online workshop together last year—maybe we’ll do another one! 

Do you have a personal yoga, meditation or journaling practice? If so, does it influence your creative process?
I try to make working out as a part of my routine—it centers and settles my mind to have good physical activity. But also—I cut myself slack when it doesn’t happen. 

The theme of this issue is LOVE, can you share with us what you have learned about love?
Share as much love as you can—in your thoughts, in your words, in your actions. When you focus on the good in life, it becomes how you live your life.