Hallo, Howdy, Hey y’all!
My name is Chamisa, founder of Zirkus Design, and I’m glad you’ve stopped by.
I’m a designer, illustrator, and writer living in sunny Arizona. I started Zirkus Design in the spring of 2017, but my love for all things art began decades before.
My first memory of making art was in a kindergarten art camp, and I remember sculpting the face of my grandmother. After carefully forming both her nostrils, I painted half her face red and the other half green. The art teacher scolded me and repainted her face with “normal colors.”
I went on to explore art in many forms: piano, theater, photography, graphic design, woodworking, baking, with lots of doodling thrown in for good measure.
At Zirkus Design, my work is focused on surface pattern design, lettering, vector art, and logos.
My design style can best be described as eclectic. I love to pick and choose from various genres and elements and juxtapose them together. I always seem to have several things going on at once!
Fun fact: I share my name with a gigantic sage brush plant with golden flowers that grows in the desert. Some might call it a weed, but that’s just mean.
Why the name Zirkus Design?
Around here, it’s loud, it’s smelly, and things end up looking like a freak show at times. I’m married to my best friend who happens to be an electrical engineering professor (opposites attract, eh?). Together, we have a three-pack of energetic boys. As you can imagine, our house is always a bit of a… wait for it… circus.
Zirkus is the German word for circus, but it also incorporates the initials of all three of my sons (fancy that!). When thinking up a name for my illustration company, I wanted it to reflect my life and personality as well as my design style. I love that Zirkus embodies all of my hot mess in one word.
Besides the obvious connection to a three-ring circus, I chose to use the German Zirkus instead of the English word because I love Germany. I lived in Deutschland with my husband and sons for four years before moving to Arizona. Our family has adopted many German customs and quirks, and we try to provide opportunities for our kids to retain their language skills.
Traveling is such a huge part of who I am and how I have chosen to live life. I’ve been to 32 countries, 21 of those with at least one of my kids. A few of my favorites (how can you pick just one?) are Switzerland, Slovenia, and South Korea. I am dying to go to Chilean Patagonia, New Zealand, and Norway.
I’ve also lived in 3 countries and more than 10 cities in 4 states in the US. I attended 12 schools between kindergarten and 12th grade. I could be a professional mover except that moving is absolutely the pits. Plus, it doesn’t pay well.
With three kids and a husband, the only way I can afford family travel is by being a total cheapskate saving and embracing the life of a miles & points junkie. Want to be one, too? Find awesome info here. If you have extra hotel or airline points you would love to donate, I will happily take them off your hands (email me!).
On weekends, you can usually find me hiking up a mountain in search of an amazing view. Zip-off pants, mud-caked boots, trekking poles – I’m all in.
Fun fact: My favorite way to get from A to B is by bike. I miss riding my bike to pick up my kids from school, visit the park, and buy groceries. In Germany, I cycled all over town and never feared for my life like I do in the “bike lanes” of America. Riding in one of those is scary stuff, y’all.
Way back in the day, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Art History. I love to research, write, and make stuff. I’ve never pursued a higher university degree in Art History because my bachelor’s program required me to write a full-blown thesis. It was like doing master’s work without being rewarded with an M.A., but that’s okay because I really loved working on my degree.
The first creative job I remember having was designing postcards for a realtor who wanted to market herself to area residents. I was fifteen. Since then, I’ve worked for a variety of employers including a florist, a print/copy shop, an international nonprofit, and the CEO of a real estate investment company. In one way or another, I found ways to be creative in every single one of my jobs.
When we lived in Germany, I had small children and babies and no work visa. I found a few minutes here and there to let my creativity flow into writing a blog about German expat life. You can check that out here if that floats your boat.
I really enjoyed developing my photography style during those years, but perhaps what I loved even more was getting back into writing. Though writing isn’t as pretty as art or graphic design, good writing is incredibly creative and feeds the soul.
Drawing, painting, photographing, sketching, designing, writing – any excuse to be creative is a good excuse in my book!
Fun fact: I am a total sucker for gorgeous stationery and fun bags – the kind you wear and the kind that carries your purchases home. As a child, I collected pretty bags from stores; I literally had a bag collection. Secret: I still have a bag collection! I love adding fun packaging and bags from my travels around the world.
We humans are creatures of habit, and I am no exception. I believe that if we add what we love into our routine and make it a habit, life is just that much sweeter. I want my habits to focus on exploring and creating both by myself, with my family, and with clients and other creatives.
If my explore + create design style sounds like a good fit for you, I would love to hear from you! Email is the best way to contact me, though I am available via Skype upon request. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you!
Thank you for stopping by!
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