Friday, January 31, 2020

Gregor Benedetti

Keepsake Artist Gregor Benedetti is still fairly new to the Keepsake Studio, but many Hallmark fans may already be familiar with some of his other work for Hallmark—especially when it comes to licensed properties. In fact, his latest gift line just released! “My ‘Mickey and Minnie in Love’ collection is currently in Hallmark stores and online for Valentine’s Day,” he said.

So how has his former work at Hallmark helped Gregor as he’s started working in the Keepsake Studio? “Developing concepts for licenses such as Disney and Peanuts is similar to the previous work I’ve done on Hallmark’s licensed gifts,” he said. “There are certain guidelines an artist must adhere to when utilizing any licensed character in a design on any given format, from ornaments to salt and pepper shakers.”

Now that he’s fully dedicated to the work in the Keepsake Studio, Gregor has learned that innovation and collaboration are key. “The Keepsake Studio is different from some of the other work I’ve done at Hallmark because it allows for more innovative thinking within my design process,” he said. “Developing all the sound and movement that emanates from this small little ornament can be quite an undertaking, but also an exciting and rewarding experience. I enjoy collaborating with the Engineers and Editors through the development process. Fans should know it takes a village to get an ornament design on track and ready to go out into the world!”

One of the first steps in getting a new ornament out into the world is coming up with the idea. For Gregor, sketching is a good place to start. “Typically, I sketch up new concepts and ideas very loose and fast at first with pencil and paper,” he said. “I sometimes start by drawing a series of boxes on pages in my sketch book. The boxes represent dimensions I’m shooting for. Then I get wild and draw anything I want within those boxes.”

From there, Gregor starts to think about what those sketches might look like as a 3D object, like an ornament. “As the concepts become more and more fleshed out, I start to see them in 3D, which is fun,” he said. “Afterward, I scan everything into the computer and continue to work on the ones I like most digitally.”

Gregor may be new to ornament creation, but his love for art began at a young age in his hometown of New York City, and it’s still the place where he goes to be renewed creatively. “When I return back home and hit the museums like the MET and The Museum of Natural History, I tend to be creatively renewed,” he said. “I love sketching there, whether it be medieval armor, Greek statues and anything prehistoric. As a child, I would be in awe staring for long moments at those Charles Knight murals all over the Museum of Natural history, only to try and emulate them in my sketchbook many years later as an adult.”

So how is he enjoying his time here in Kansas City? “I am really excited starting this new creative chapter in my life in the Keepsake Studio,” he said. “Anyone who knows me is aware that I always tend to love a good adventure! What I am really enjoying about being an official member of the studio is by far the fans. It’s helping me grow as an artist. Being able to connect, especially in person with your audience, is a rare and special opportunity. We are so fortunate to have it.”