One sunny day, Adri was just about to go out the door to elementary school, when her Mom said,
“I need a drawing for the article I’m sending out today. Can you sketch something quickly?”
Grabbing a black marker, Adri drew a pen and ink style sketch. As she dashed out the door, she handed the sketch to her Mom, never giving it another thought. What a surprise when the final article arrived. There was her drawing, big as life – in a magazine! It was her first publication, but not her last.
During high school, Adri illustrated more and more school newspaper covers while honing her flowing pen and ink drawings. Fellow students loved her art so much that she was even offered money for her Narnia-inspired drawings that she created in class!
Growing up in both Belgium and Holland, Adri traveled throughout Europe, and was even able to visit Morocco. All of these places influenced her love of bright colours. In Holland during the 70’s, she saw Marimekko-style designs, which were bright, bold, and simple. Cozy Dutch homes with their sparkling windows and short lace curtains were also an influence.
While in Holland, Adri got to know her paternal grandfather, a European fancy pastry baker and artist. Adri’s roots revealed that her Canadian maternal great-grandmother took up painting in her 80’s. It’s no surprise then that Adri has creativity in her genes.
Adri received a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Toronto and took courses in illustration, perspective, and logo design at the Ontario College of Art. Subsequently, she earned an M.A. in Communications/Journalism from Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. The program featured communications theory, screen writing, creative writing, and media studies (which took place in England and Holland to compare media systems). Adri’s thesis focused on cross-cultural re-entry.
A life-long learner, Adri later started photography at the Continuing Education Department of Conestoga College, enjoying classes in digital and darkroom photography, Adobe® Photoshop®, and studio photography. In 2014, Adri took the Digital II photography course, and was thrilled to receive 90%.
For over seven years, Adri was a visual merchandiser for a bookstore company with multiple locations. She was responsible for all seasonal displays for large sale events, as well as for smaller displays of individual products or product groupings.
In order to display the product well, Adri considered the product (usually a book or gift item) and asked herself, “How do I tell the story of the item, so the customer can see what it is about?” Once the story emerged, she drew the designs, sourced the props (or in many cases made her own out of paper), organized the product, and photographed it all when complete.
For key event displays, Adri also collaborated with the buyer for product selection and price. Working together, they created a display and then checked the sales results. Adri was always excited to see that when the display,product selection, and price all worked together, it resulted in a higher sell-through.
Stylist & Contributing Design Editor
As a visual merchandiser, much of Adri’s inspiration came from magazine photography. As a result, getting to work behind the scenes at SCT Magazine – styling pages and working on photo shoots as a Contributing Design Editor, was a thrill.
Once again, visual storytelling was very important. What fun to visualize what the picture would look like in the magazine, work to bring it to life on location, hear the “click” of the camera, and then gather around with the team to look at the laptop to see if it was just right. If not, repeat until perfect!
You can find Adri’s pirate theme for Scrapbooking & Cards Today magazine which features Adri’s craft designs and backdrop painting here. Other published projects with SCT include a two-page birthday party spread, and several articles.
Event Design & Management
Using her experience merchandising large spaces sometimes as large as 10,000 sq. feet, Adri managed and designed events from a large international conference to smaller educationally focused ones. She incorporates a unique creative twist to each. Sometimes it means creating unique event signage by asking,
“Why do signs always have to be 8 1/2″ x 11″ if they will stand out better against the modern decor if they are round?”
Or other times it means paying attention to the little details for small gifts designed to end each event memorably. The result is the same, the customer experience is tended from beginning to end. Attendees feel welcomed, cared for, and able to absorb what they are learning, then sent off with a celebratory gift they will remember.