Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Articles, Field Notes | 0 comments

You can always tell when you walk into a creative person’s office. Illustrations, photographs, books, magazines, paintings and interesting objects surround them. Senior concept artist Trisha Stricklin’s office is the perfect example. Inspiration is everywhere. She shows me an oil painting of autumnal pears she created, and then grabs the Tower of Treats® Gift displaying the art. The pears, the colors – everything is exactly the same.

Trisha and I meet up in one of the breakrooms on the Harry & David campus that happens to have not only a ping-pong table and a karaoke machine, but a foosball table as well. As soon as we start talking, an intense (and loud) game of foosball begins and we’re forced outside. It’s only then that I realize what a beautiful day it is and our interview takes a breezy, relaxed turn.

Sitting at a table in the shade, Trisha tells me about her background. She received her BFA from the California College of the Arts and was still living in San Francisco when she started working with Harry & David. She came up to do consulting work from time to time, but after a while it became clear that this was a good fit. Next May will mark a decade since she decided to move north and make it permanent.

It’s kind of rare for an artist to enjoy the technical aspects of a job as well as the creative, but Trisha does. Talking to the prepress guys, doing press checks and working with the printer all add variety to what she does. The artistic element is what she enjoys most, but she feels good about working with her team and creating something beautiful and unique that also makes sense for the company.

Her job is not an easy one. She has to reinterpret the same holidays, time and again, following trends and finding new inspiration anywhere she can. It’s tough to make each season seem fresh and meaningful. Trisha starts sketching by hand, but designs on the computer as well. Once she’s done, her designs will decorate all kinds of deliciousness, from Halloween gift bags to holiday gift towers.

Not many artists get to walk into a store and say, “I painted that.” She does. Combining different ideas is a bit like designing pieces that have to live side by side. It’s important that all the ideas, colors and patterns come together to transform a simple package into a special gift. That’s when Trisha can finally sit and relax in her garden, watching the sunset with a glass of wine and breathing a sigh of relief. For now. Another holiday is right around the corner.