By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
Recently retired art educators, professional artists, and entrepreneurial cousins Debra Campbell and Alene Sirott-Cope were looking for their next big move. Their love of nature photography, mixed media, collage, acrylic, and alcohol ink paintings were helping them pass the time, but they wanted to do something more substantial with their work.
“We both wanted an encore to our careers. Although we hadn’t seen each other in six years, we started talking regularly. Clearly, we were both frustrated that we weren’t producing our art. As an art educator for 20 years and an adjunct professor at USF, I did art every day, but it was in the service of helping others to create. Alene and I started sending each other paintings, copies of things we’ve done or partially finished work, and the other person would finish it. It began with me sending Alene a foreground, and she would place it on her background, creating a Campbell and Cope painting that looked seamless. It’s like we had the same creative DNA.”
In February 2022, a unique collaboration called Campbell and Cope was born.
Campbell and Cope now offer two online boutiques showcasing the pair’s original artwork on wearable art, home decor, and tech accessories. Their art products feature wildlife, coastal scenes, fish, fishermen, and forests in Florida, Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and the Canadian Rockies.
“We’re inspired by any place that makes you catch your breath.”
Customers can discover wearable art such as yoga capris, adult and children’s leggings, origami bags, tote bags that can be used as purses, a line of scarves, and draped kimonos (a combination of a wrap and a scarf), and lounge pants. These are at their “Art of Where boutique”; http://artofwhere.com/artists/campbellandcope. Home décor, wall art, laptop cases, backpacks, and phone cases are from Society 6, where you can add these unique art products to your shopping carts. http://society6.com/campbellcope
Passionate about sharing art with the younger generation, the artists invite young designers from third grade to college to design their own leggings, backpacks, laptop covers, or phone cases for a back-to-school celebration.
“This free program is open to any young artist who wants to be a fashion or product designer. Students, parents, or teachers email us photos of the art, and then we will continue to work with them to tweak their designs and place their art on the leggings, backpacks, etc. Their designs will show in our store for two weeks so they can see their work on actual products and then have the option to purchase their work. We title the art by using the student’s first name and age. So far, we’ve had seven, nine, and ten-year-olds submit art, and it’s beautiful. This is a real-world experience for the kids. The kids can design wearable art and buy it if they want. After two weeks, the designs are taken down from the site so that it doesn’t become part of the Campbell and Cope line.”
Debra said that the program has been an incredible success.
“The kids are having a ball, especially with the leggings. They’re learning how to design fabric which is different than just doing a painting. We are also trying to work with art teachers so they can do a design curriculum, and then the students can get additional help with their work.”
To get involved with the student design program, contact Debra on the Campbell and Cope Art Products Facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the future, Debra hopes she can return to traveling once the pandemic is contained.
“When I travel, that’s when I get a lot of ideas for my art.”
Not doing something creative was not an option for her and Alene.
“Both of us have way too much energy. We were climbing the walls while waiting for this idea to become a reality. We needed this focus, and now, we’re doing what we love. It’s not work. You can call it a hobby that we do every day, and we’re very serious about our hobby.”
You can also follow them on Facebook at Campbell and Cope Arts Products and on Instagram @TwoArtCousins.
Debra will have an art show featuring work focusing on environmental change in October at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. Alene’s art will soon be featured at Tampa International Airport. Visit their Facebook page for information on how young artists can submit their artwork for print on leggings and backpacks.