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Subliming.jpg Is Instagram "For The Visually Passionate & Emotionally Confused"

“Inspirational quotes for the visually passionate and emotionally confused” reads the bio of Tessa Forrest’s viral instagram account @subliming.jpg. What first started as an escape from a dull 9-5 quickly turned into a haven for bright colors and artfully selected fonts. Now, Forrest’s account has a partnership with Outdoor Voices, inspires more than 127,000 people everyday, and is still growing. Each of subliming.jpg’s posts feature an inspiring quote from a famous author, poet, or lyricist. The typography she chooses lifts the words off the page, giving them a more powerful effect than they would just sitting, without embellishment. Milk spoke with Forrest about how it all started, what inspires her, and what’s coming up that we can look forward to. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 25, from a small town in Florida and I live in Brooklyn.

How did you come up with your handle name?

It originated as “subliming” as my tumblr handle when I was 18, which I just thought sounded nice. So naturally it was the first thing that came to mind upon starting the instagram. “Subliming” was already taken on Instagram, so I just added the .jpg as a little variation.

Favorite color combination?

Pink with anything. It really works with every color.

How would you explain your art to someone who has never seen it before?

I blend typography and graphic design with inspirational quotes and excerpts from authors, poets and spiritual gurus.

How did you start?

I was going through a heavy bout of depression and working at an advertising agency that was producing super commercial work. I knew I had more to offer and wanted to start working on something on the side that I could have more fun with and evolve my style as a designer. Not really knowing where to start or having any clients to do freelance for yet, I just utilized quotes that I loved in order to whip up some fun typography graphics. It originally started as a daily challenge for myself, just to get a post out each day to exercise my brain and work with fun typefaces and colors. I wish I had the time to post that often now. [Laughs]

What’s the oddest request subliming.jpg has received?

I just remember getting one from this account with the handle “mybacon1” asking for a design that said “create something today even if it sucks” which I found very hilarious and ironic.

Have you ever had trouble with people ripping off your work?

ALL the time. I had definitely seen a few inspo-quote type graphics floating around the internet before I started my page, so I’m not claiming I invented the concept. But I didn’t know anyone else who really owned it. One time, there was this account that (impressively so) ripped off each of my designs and quotes to an exact tee, but written in Spanish. Down to the exact textures, fonts and colors. It was wild.

What was the first piece of work you did for someone else?

Kind of random but it was for Yoobi, this children’s stationery brand. Their products come in such cute colors and are sold at Target. I used their notebooks when I was in college. When they reached out for custom graphics I had such a small following, so I was pumped. [Laughs]

What does your typical day look like?

I work full time in-house at Outdoor Voices as their lead graphic designer, so I’m at our office all day in Soho during the week. I usually walk the Williamsburg bridge, work ‘til about six and then come home. I do a lot of my freelance and design stuff from my bed at night, after smoking a little weed and listening to music.

Where do you pull inspiration, for both words and design?

I have always had a fascination with vinyl covers, concert posters, and movie posters from the 60’s and 70’s. The typography and color combinations are always outstanding. I have also always had an odd fascination for quotes, originating back from the Myspace days that I used to put in my “About Me” section. [Laughs] A lot of my favorites are from that time that have just seemed to stick with me, but over the years I would say Tumblr, Instagram and the internet in general are a major source. I have a collection saved on my Instagram of non-designed quote posts or posts where the quote is used as the person’s caption. If I don’t have a quote planned already, I usually have an author or two in mind that I really connect with at the moment. So I’ll just search them on a quote website and read them all until I find one that really strikes me, or a few that I’ll put in my back pocket for later.

Anything we should look out for in the future?

I’m actually working on something fun for Giving Tuesday with Outdoor Voices x Subliming (instead of just internal design work). I’m really excited about it. 

Images courtesy of Taylour Oney

Stay tuned to Milk for more NYC artists we love.

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