Payton Cosell Turner.

“My studio is multi-functional, professional and also personal. I share it with the other half of Flat Vernacular, my business partner and husband, Brian. We have a huge table for printing wallpaper, correspondence, and posters and an enormous expanse of desk for drawing and computer work. Brian and I built all the tabletops and the washout booth/ink room. All of our wallpaper designs are on display in the studio on removable wood panels that get taken down when I have to work on sticker wallpaper. The exposure unit looks like a prop from a 50’s movie about the future, but it really works! The view is of an urban outdoor space (our neighbors enjoy throwing their trash out there, sadly) and buildings–luckily Bushwick isn’t completely built up yet so we can still see the sky.”

Payton Cosell Turner was born in New York City (1986). She graduated from MICA with BFA in painting. Her company, Flat Vernacular, began in 2009 and has since been featured in the New York Times, Elle Decor and W Magazine. Payton now lives and works in Brooklyn.

FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?

PAYTON COSELL TURNER: I generally like working in quiet with plenty of coffee and natural light. My studio is in Brooklyn, with huge windows facing north and the expanse of sky and light provide me with the means to think and visualize – and to escape the computer, too. I like using my hands: I don’t like the computer. I’m at the studio Monday through Friday working on the designs for my company, Flat Vernacular. It’s important to keep regular working hours and if my creative muse isn’t responding, there is always other work to do. During the day I’ll take a break from silence and listen to music (Joanna Newsom, Benny Goodman, Bjork, Bollywood hits as of late) on my headphones, or sometimes I’ll sift through old work or books on pattern or poetry that I keep in the studio for inspiration. The creative process is difficult for anyone to describe, and because my life and my work are so tightly bound together, it’s tough to see where one ends and the other begins. I work at home on weekends, in a more informal atmosphere, and look everywhere, all the time, for patterns.

I generally like working in quiet with plenty of coffee and natural light.

FYD: What do you love about pattern?

PCT: Pattern is reliable, joyous and soothing. There’s much room for play.

FYD: How do you divide your time between illustrations and wallpaper?

PCT: Right now my illustrations are mostly connected directly to my wallpaper. There’s an organic flow between the two, an empowering energy. I love making wallpaper, and I love being able to explore the line between design and fine art while in my studio.

FYD: Did you collect stickers when you were younger?

PCT: Obsessively. My favorites were the “fuzzies” and the “oilies” as we called them in those days. Scratch n Sniff stickers were great, too, until I got this pickle scented one and it made me sick. It makes me nauseous even thinking about it now.

Pattern is reliable, joyous and soothing. There’s much room for play.

FYD: How do you approach your hand drawn wallpaper vs your sticker designs?

PCT: The approach is very similar. The only difference is the medium. The stickers are restricted, in some ways: we don’t control what images are on the stickers. Often I let the shapes of stickers and imagery dictate how I use them in a pattern. With hand drawn wallpaper, there’s a concept in my head from start to finish.

FYD: Does dealing with smaller items, like stickers, ever grow tedious?

PCT: It can be tedious, but in a sense I love that about it. I don’t lose sight of the larger picture, or design. If I did, the result would not bear fruit.

FYD: I’m a big fan of set design. Any films of recent inspiration?

PCT: Absolutely. The wallpapers in ‘Les Parapluies de Cherbourg‘ or in ‘Suspiria,’ two of my all time favorites, and any Michel Gondry film is ripe with gorgeous use of color, material and wit. Merchant Ivory films are visually hypnotic, ‘Amelie’ is a terrifically charming one, and ‘The Royal Tennenbaums’ is full devastatingly detailed beauty. Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ is one of the all time great set designs. It’s almost like a wallpaper design because nearly all the action takes place in one “room,” the courtyard and windows of all the apartment buildings. Depending on the angle of the camera, or which apartment it’s focusing on, the pattern changes and reveals new dimensions. It reminds me of some of my wallpapers, where from a distance the design looks like one thing but when you get close up it reveals itself to be something very different.

FYD: What adorns your bedroom walls?

PCT: They are covered in artwork. One wall is full of funny thrift store artwork hung salon style, the other walls have a huge screenprint of interlocking braids I did in school and photos taken by my husband of our hands while in Paris together.

FYD: If you were designing your own wallpaper; describe the vision.

PCT: My own personal wallpaper design would be one of two things: rather creepy (eyes, hands, cats with glittering teeth- black on black with a little bit of gloss in the ink) or rather saccharin (popsicles, pompoms, bows, flowers, animals, and tasty treats in lots of bright colors).

Follow Payton on Twitter.

10 Comments For “Payton Cosell Turner.”

  1. willoughby says:

    Haven’t seen anything I’ve liked so much in years.
    Thanks for introducing me to Turner and Flat Vernacular.
    A wonderful new talent on the design scene.

  2. Melanie Burnham says:

    I am totally amazed by this! Her patterns are so lovely–beautiful imagery! What an interesting young woman. I’d love to buy some of her wallpaper for my dining room!

  3. Jocelyn White says:

    The stickers are fabulous, but the wallpaper designs are even more exciting.
    Creative, beautifully wrought, some playful, some serious, an awesome variety.
    Turner and her husband are really on to something. Good luck to them
    and Flat Vernacular!

  4. Mary Benedetti says:

    cool, cool, cool !!! that wallpaper is just KILLER!! you go, girl!

  5. emily says:

    What wonderful designs – really fun and eye catching

  6. Matt McNally says:

    The diversity in designs is artful — don’t look for the obvious paper for the
    obvious room. Look carefully and you’ll see each design could work beautifully in
    nearly every room in your home. Quite a feat.

  7. Susannah Stein says:

    I work part time as an interior decorator. Thanks so much for introducing me to
    these wallpapers. They are terrific.

  8. Lucy Kittredge says:

    my girlfriend just told me about these great wallpapers. they have some new ones now on their website, rocking cool geometrics. i want ’em all.

  9. Lindsay Kao says:

    great piece and a great website. on the site’s blog i saw ‘flora’ used on
    half a wall, under windows. awesome and gave me lots of ideas for
    ways to use their creative wallpaper. love it, Flat Vernacular.

  10. Naomi David says:

    wow — i want dandelion creatures and peaks and valleys, but lots of dandelion creatures. so fun.

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