Julia Jackson-Clark: The Artist Behind Coastal Native Stickers

Name: Julia Jackson-Clark

Year: Sophomore

Major: Graphic Communication

Hometown: San Rafael, CA

The summer before her sophomore of college, Julia started a small sticker business, called Coastal Native Stickers. She has been making art for as long as she can remember and sharing her art with others felt like a natural endeavor to embark on. Stickers are the perfect medium for exposing her incredible art to the world.

HC: Tell me a little about yourself and your time at Cal Poly.

JJC: I guess last year I came to college, and I had an idea of what I wanted to do but it was a little strange and I sort of started shooting in the dark, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out. I had so many ideas to create things and get things done and make hella sh*t. I was just making things to make them and making things for myself. There was no specific idea of what to do with them. I was inspired to apply to Art and Design because I thought I could turn this into a career. But turns out that the art major is very impacted and doesn’t allow too many change of majors. So I then attempted to get into Graphic Communication, which I now think will be a better option because it takes creativity and mixes it with technology and innovation; it gives more purpose to what you are creating, opposed to it just be hanging on the wall. I think the individuality I found when I came to college inspired me a lot to want to express myself trough the things I create, and I wanted to share them with other people because most people like the things I am creating.

How did Coastal Native start?

JJC: I would show people things, and they would want them. They would be like, “Can you make this for me? I want that,” and I would be like, “No, this is in my sketchbook.” I wanted people to have the things I was drawing but not in a serious way. I wanted it to be an accessory, to be put on anything. At first, I would just draw, not print them. I used sh*tty sticker paper and then covered them with tape to make them kind of waterproof. I was hand drawing directly on the sticker paper – mostly black and white line drawings to start. A lot of people wanted to put them on their cars and water bottles so I knew I needed to find more waterproof paper. Now I print on waterproof, vinyl, self-adhesive paper, which I believe is the best option right now for what I create.

What does the name “Coastal Natives” mean to you?

JJC: Coastal Native was something I thought of because I grew up on the coast of northern California and have always loved swimming in the ocean and living near it. It’s been hard for me to identify anywhere as home lately, but I know for sure that I was born and raised by the Pacific Ocean, and that means a lot to me. Also I’ve noticed that many people that buy the stickers resonate personally to the name, and I think it promotes my products quite well.

How do you make your stickers?

JJC: First, I think of a design to do. Usually, a lot of the things have to do with nature because that is a big inspiration for me. Then, they are hand-drawn in either ink or pastel. Once the design is finished, I use my scanner on my printer to scan them into my computer. There, I digitally edit them and arrange them on pages of around 30, depending on the size. And then I print them out in my bedroom on vinyl sticker paper ordered from Amazon. Last, I cut them all out by hand.

How often do you make stickers?

JJC: I draw designs for them everyday, but I only print for them when I have paper. I guess I make, on average, about 50 stickers per week—that’s how much I print.

Where do you get your inspiration/who are your favorite artists?

JJC: Definitely from nature – probably every single one of my stickers originates from nature. I don’t know why, but I think I have a high appreciation for it, and I want people to see it. I honestly get a lot of inspiration from talking to people. They’ll be like, “You should try drawing this,” and mostly those are the products that people find the most interesting. I really like Frida Kahlo, Hayao Miyazaki and Georgia O’Keeffe.

How do I get one?!?

JJC: I have an Etsy account. For a long time, I would just sell them to people I met. But after awhile, I wanted them to be accessible to hella people. I’ve had some sales from Etsy since making it not too long ago. In the fall, I also sold Coastal Native Stickers at the Cal Poly Craft Sale.

What is your favorite sticker you’ve made?

JJC: The chameleon will always be my favorite one. I have really been getting into pastel lately, though. I feel a lot more successful with pastels because it looks a lot more like what I want it to look like, which is really pleasing to me.

Where do you see Coastal Natives going in the future?

JJC: I don’t really care; I just want to create things for people to have. But if a company sees that and wants me to incorporate my stickers into a product they want to sell, that’d be cool but that’s not super important to me at this point in my life. I don’t want to force it; I would just want it to happen. I just really like to interact with people when I sell them. If it stays like that for the next ten years that’s good, but if it gets bigger that’s good too. I want to focus on production—to increase the quality and quantity. With better materials, I could make stickers so much better and for so much cheaper.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

JJC: I am a dual citizen of the UK, and that is where my parents live.

Julia is not only a rad human but is also an incredible artist that has innovated a unique way to share her work. Her love for nature and the beautiful world around us is present in everything she does. Coastal Native Stickers are one of a kind creations that will leave you in awe of her talent.