Bored Inc. is a mother (Carol) and daughter (Courtney) design team based out of Los Angeles and San Francisco. They create super kawaii characters that are featured on an array of products and sold at stores around the globe. I’ve been a fan of their work for many years and I was happy to interview Courtney for this series.
My first encounter with Bored Inc. was your Stinky Poo plushies. This was way before the poop emoji was so popular. How did you come up with such a poo-rific character?
I was in conversation with my mom when the idea first came up – we were trying to think of an odd pairing that would make good friends and I thought of poop and toilet paper. I remember saying to her, “Would this be too gross?” It was a challenge to draw something that looked like poop but still could be posed in different ways and be made into different products. That’s why he has a little body, unlike the emoji style poop. At this point I would like to explore more sophisticated illustrations, but Stinky Poo remains one of our best selling characters. It is fascinating to me the range of people who connect with him!
Does working as a mother/daughter team have its ups and downs as one would expect?
I started working professionally with my mom while I was still in high school, and we’ve been collaborating ever since. When I was younger, I think family dynamics were more challenging – especially when you live and work together – but over the years it’s been nice to see it evolve. I now live in San Francisco, and my mom lives in Los Angeles, so it’s a good way for us to be creative together even though our lives have taken separate paths. We bring different strengths to the table, and I think that’s what makes it productive after all these years.
I love how my favorite artists have ventured into the pin game. Do you think this trend will go on for a while?
Pins are so fun to make! I hope that they have staying power, though I worry the market is oversaturated. The cost of entry into pin-making is pretty low, which makes it a great starting point for so many talented artists. I do wish there was a healthier option for the pin-making process though, and one that was better for the environment.
How do you balance art exhibitions vs. creating art for your business?
I am a stay-at-home mom, which makes this tough for me. I really love being included in exhibitions, and the inspiration of the show themes (and deadlines) push me to actually sit down and make something. In an ideal world I would nurture both sides more independently, but to be honest it’s really hard to find time (and energy) to be creative when you have a toddler, so there ends up being some crossover between the art I make for shows and the art for Bored Inc. products.
What’s next for Bored Inc.?
I wish I had better grasp on this! Like many others, I have felt gutted over the political and social climate of the past year. This – paired with with the responsibility I feel raising a daughter – has nudged me to evaluate how I spend my time and energy and to really consider what I want to be working on.
I love making cute stuff for Bored Inc. and so deeply appreciate the people who’ve supported me over the years. I’ll keep making cute stuff, but I’d like to foray into some different things too, more influenced by my feminist ideals, and the desire to create art that can be empowering on a deeper level. Stay tuned, I have ambitious ideas in the works!
Bored Inc. products are available online and select retailers like Leanna Lin’s Wonderland.