A few months ago, Jill Crane launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her new line of stationery that is inspired by the work of her friend and former collaborator John Crane.
“I was just looking for a little bit of an update, something that I could just show off on my walls,” she says.
“That’s the reason I’m launching this Kickstarter campaign, because I want to be able to show people how much I love John Crane and the artistry he creates.”
The result of her campaign is a series of stationers featuring the artist and his cranes.
“A lot of people are like ‘I want to make an Instagram account of these, but what’s the best way to do that?'” she says, “so I’m looking to find a way to get the feedback of people.”
The project is inspired in part by the iconic artwork of John Crane, who died in 2011.
The cranes have been a part of Jill’s life since her days as a student at the College of Art and Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
“When I was in college, I had a very big crush on John Crane,” she explains.
“He had a really beautiful sense of perspective, which was very important to me.
I always wanted to paint cranes on my wall.”
She got her first glimpse of John when he was still alive in 1989.
“His artwork was just so beautifully beautiful, so I thought ‘why not use that?’
It was a really good opportunity to be influenced by that and create a little piece of art that reflected that.”
Jill Crane began her career as a graphic artist before going on to become a professional graphic designer and a full-time model.
She began her journey in design when she was 16, working on projects like the iconic “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” album cover and the “Rio Tinto” album sleeve.
“One of the things I learned in art school was that the best artists have the ability to make a statement, to do something different,” she recalls.
“And so that’s what I do.
I’m not interested in being the same artist.”
In 2009, Jill started working for a clothing brand, and the company was sold to Ralph Lauren for $1.7 million.
“My first year, I was a full time professional designer, so it was a huge step in my career,” she reflects.
“But the thing that I remember most about that time was the conversation that we had about my work.
I felt like we were in this moment of real change, where there was a lot of new ideas coming out, and I was always listening to that conversation and hearing the voices of artists that were saying things like ‘no one wants a black person in their clothes.'”
Since then, Jill has continued to work with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including the label of her choice, Ralph Lauren.
“They’re the ones that are really making me want to keep working in this industry,” she exclaims.
“Even if they don’t agree with me on every decision, they’re really trying to help me in every way possible.
I really feel like I have an amazing network there.”
Jill’s work has appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ, and Glamour, and she’s also been featured in many online publications such as Glamorise.com, Jezebel, and The Hairpin.
Jill is also the subject of a series in Glamored, a digital magazine from the Glamorous Collective.
In 2017, Jill co-hosted a live talk show called “Proud to Be a Jill Crane” at The Hairpiercer in New York City.
“The reason that I decided to do this live talk is to share that I’m proud to be a Jill and that my work has always been inspired by him,” she continues.
“It’s not something that’s something that comes out of my head, it’s something he has written, it comes from his work.
It’s something you hear every day, I just feel like it’s really important that it be out there.”
“It makes me feel like a real artist, and that I am a real human being.”
Jill continues to use her experience in design to inspire her customers.
“For example, I work with a lot designers and artists that I’ve never worked with before, and it’s very inspiring to have a conversation with them about their work,” she states.
“Like, ‘what’s your favourite thing that you’ve ever made?
It’s like the most important thing that someone has ever made, so how could you not be inspired by that?'”
Jill says that she is proud to share her love of John with others, and hopes that other designers will take the time to discover her work.
“John Crane’s work was so much more than just the cranes themselves,” she notes