As the Store Artist at Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown, PA, Melissa Eason is able to combine her love of art with her interest in healthy eating.
Eason, a 2010 illustration graduate of Moore College of Art & Design, is in charge of all signage at the store. She spends her days creating illustrations for the chalk boards that attract customers to fresh produce, special sales and other organic products. She also works on three-dimensional pieces, portraits of team members, banners and anything that delivers a visual message to the customer.
“I really enjoy making signage look cleaner and more customer-friendly than it was before,” said Eason, who has worked at the store since September 2011. “As long as it correctly calls out the product, fits in with the Whole Foods theme/brand and attracts customers, we artists can really be creative with what we make.”
Eason is one of three Moore alumnae who have found a professional niche as store artists at Whole Foods Markets in the Greater Philadelphia area. Tegan Bellitta, a 2003 illustration graduate, is the store artist at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, while Katie Lanciano, a 2000 fine arts graduate, is at the Fairmount store.
“What are the odds that three of us from Moore work as store artists?” Bellitta asked. “We know and get to e-mail each other, as all the store artists do frequently, but I wish we had more opportunities to hang out in person!”
Eason’s interest in organic eating was sparked by a junior year internship at Greensgrow Farms in Philadelphia, a nationally recognized leader in urban farming. Moore is the only independent art and design college to require a professional 240-hour paid internship fellowship for all BFA majors and fund the experience through internship fellowships. In 2009, Eason was one of ten juniors to receive a competitive Knight Internship Fellowship, which provided a stipend for each of the students to complete their required paid internship fellowship at a regional not-for-profit.
While at Greensgrow Farms, Eason designed a new currency that the farm now uses for its members and illustrated labels for the farm’s homegrown honey and maple syrup, among other projects. For Eason, Whole Foods, which actively supports organic farming and sustainable agriculture, seemed like a great personal and professional fit.
“I’m a huge fan of Whole Foods Market and chose to work there because of my interest in health/organic/local foods and also because the position offered a very stable job in the arts,” she said.
Each Whole Foods store has its own artist and unique look. At the same time, “all store artists must adhere to regional and global brand standards,” Eason said. “There are also seasonal themes to drive sales,” such as “honeybees” in the summer and “back to school” in the fall. Occasionally, Eason and her back-up artist even venture out on the roof and paint the gigantic windows on the outside of the store to reflect the latest theme.
“Melissa produces beautiful original art that really speaks to our customers,” said Dana Sommers, Marketing Team Leader at Whole Foods Jenkintown. “She is a great part of the Whole Foods team.”
While Eason celebrates her one year anniversary this September, Lanciano has been with Whole Foods for 14 years, both in Texas and Pennsylvania. She enjoys the challenge of creating artwork for displays and special promotions. “It gives me a creative outlet from the conceptual point of view,” she said. “It offers other opportunities as well. Everyone gets to see your work. I’ve gotten ten side jobs from this over the years. It’s like a revolving gallery.”
Bellitta has worked for Whole Foods since 2006, when she started in the North Wales, PA store. She was an instructor at Moore from 2003 to 2009 in the Illustration department.
Bellitta said she applied for the store artist position at Plymouth Meeting after viewing Lanciano’s work at the Fairmount/Callowhill store. She estimates she has designed over 200 chalkboards.
“The store artist job has you doing graphic design, illustration, and fine arts,” she said. “I am a painter at heart and get plenty of opportunities to draw and get my creativity out. It’s also a fantastic job for an illustrator.”
Moore College of Art & Design educates students for inspiring careers in art and design. Founded in 1848, Moore is the nation's first and only women's art college. Moore's student-focused environment and professionally active faculty form a dynamic community in the heart of Philadelphia's cultural district. The College offers nine bachelor of fine arts degrees for women. Moore also offers three coeducational graduate programs. In addition, Moore provides many valuable opportunities in the arts through The Galleries at Moore, continuing education programs for professional adults, the 85-year-old acclaimed Young Artists Workshop for girls and boys grades 1-12, The Art Shop and the Sculpture Park. For more information about Moore, visit www.moore.edu.
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