The Visual Story of our Montana

An Interview with Adrienne Langer: Local Illustrator & Designer

If you’ve ever been to a MADE Fair or stopped into Noteworthy Paper & Press you’re probably familiar with Missoula artist Adrienne Langer. The images on her posters, greeting cards, and stickers celebrate the Montana scene from a float down the river, Western Meadowlarks signing among blooming Bitterroots, or a cozy cabin in the mountains. Scrolling through her work on AdrienneLanger.com will lend you a new perspective on your favorite local scenes, and you may even need one for yourself.

Adrienne, tell me about your artistic background.

I’m from Philadelphia and went to art school there where I studied illustration. I freelanced while being a full-time waitress for many years. I eventually started to do commission work including house portraits for people in the row homes area. That was a good foot-in-the-door for a lot of projects down the road. I was fortunate to make good money and get a lot of work under my belt.

What brought you to Missoula?

In 2013 my husband, then boyfriend, Daniel Belski, convinced me that moving to Missoula would be a good idea. He was going to go to graduate school here. We thought, “We’re both in the restaurant industry and can live anywhere so let’s just give it a chance.” 

On Instagram you refer to yourself as an Illustrator and Designer. How would you define these two mediums?

I find illustration work is expressing your voice and telling a story. A lot of my work is heavily influenced by living in Montana so I do a lot of things like camping and fishing and spending time in the outdoors. I really feel like that’s where my heart is. As far as design work, I do a lot of hand lettering and type layout. That really goes into what I do at Noteworthy. 

Tell me more about your role at Noteworthy Paper & Press.

After about seven months of us living in Missoula, I got a job at Noteworthy so I’ve been with them for six years. My full-time job is to help design, create, and plan their line of greeting cards. I also help design our wholesale catalog and I photograph all the products to appear online. Myself and one of the owners, Taylor Valliant, do the illustration work and lettering. I wear a lot of hats there. I have been able to create a job for myself in a really great work environment.  

Your art has a very recognizable style. How did that develop?

When I was in art school I felt like it was really important to have a defined voice and style but the work I was doing back then was very flat with lots of flat shapes next to each other. When I started working on the house portraits I started mixing marker in with my painted work and I found a lot more freedom in creating texture and dimension and layers of colors. It really opened up to what is now my current style, which is a mix of four different kinds of marker and acrylic paint and I work on water color paper which creates a nice texture.  

Where do you find inspiration? 

It’s really about where I live and what I’m experiencing. I used to paint more architecture when I lived in the city but living in Montana I’m just able to experience all things like floating on the Smith River, camping, fishing, and hiking. I feel lucky every time we go outside. There’s so much inspiration I feel like my creative juices are always flowing.

What products do you create and sell?

For my own business, I mainly sell art prints or posters, stickers, and some greeting cards around the holidays. It’s important to me to have my work be accessible to anybody and that’s why I like to sell reproductions of the work because it’s not as easy to sell an original painting versus someone buying my print for $15 to put it in their home and enjoy it. I think art should be accessible to anybody.  

Do you think of Missoula as a good place for creative people? 

It definitely is. After I started doing the Made Fair and working at Noteworthy I really met a lot of people in the creative community. The community here, as far as people that support the arts, is really strong, too. I feel very lucky to have that here. I feel really fortunate that I’m able to have a job and a creative outlet and be able to make a living off of it.  

Etsy & Instagram: Adrienne Langer

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