Emily Koller is the creator and owner of Paintbrush Print Company. She designs and creates modern hand printed souvenirs with just the right amount of class & kitsch.
She grew up in a small town in Wyoming that saw its fair share of Summer tourists on their way to Yellowstone. Her obsession with retro roadside art started by collecting vintage travel things.
She taught herself how to screen print after she discovered her first Harwood Steiger fabric in a vintage store in in Tucson, Arizona.
1. Tell me about your recent move from Elgin to Amarillo?
We were happy in Elgin! But, it felt like the right move for a lot of reasons. Much of it was about a professional opportunity; however, I was also really excited about living in a city with Route 66 history and getting a little closer to family. I love roadside architecture, collect vintage travel things, and make modern souvenirs, of course. Being here gets me a little closer to the places out West that inspire me the most, but I can also proudly say I’m still in Texas.
2. What compels you to spend time creating?
This is actually something I have learned about myself through the transition this past year. If I am not making things or letting my mind get lost creatively, I start to feel trapped. The creative process has a calming effect for me – I just feel happiest when I am making things or solving design problems.
3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.
Thing 1: Can I count what I said in #2? 🙂 It is an important realization because I have not identified as a “creative” in the past, but it now means that I have to both allow myself that expression, while also protecting myself from burnout. I have a “normal” kind of demanding career, but also want to do all sorts of creative things on the side. In the next five years, I will figure out a better way to balance it all.
Thing 2: Screen printing – I first learned how to do it exactly five years ago.
Thing 3: That we’re all too hard on ourselves.
4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?
These are the kind of questions where you want to sound really interesting and intellectual. I’m sure my parents will be disappointed. I have two stacks of books that I pick up occasionally and read very slowly. One stack is about yoga and wellness and the other is a stack of Route 66 and roadside architecture books. I read Texas Monthly pretty religiously and I like to follow travel writers. My mind requires total immersion in TV shows so we just finished Jack Ryan and The Stranger.
5. Cake or Pie?
Cake 100%. I would even go without dessert if my only choice was pie.