Hi! I am Joanne Kalisz, owner/designer/maker of Happy Fantastic Designs.
I received my Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) with honors from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 1998 where I studied ceramics and experimental film animation. Oh, and sometime between then and now I got my BA, MA, and PhD in Research Psychology/Social Psychology. I am passionate about fine art, but it is HARD to make a consistent living making fine art and experimental film. I learned it is A LOT easier to sell "functional" art on a tee shirt or tote bag or little pin so I combined my fancy pants art education with my love of animals and fantastic creatures with my obsessive need to make stuff! BOOM!!! HAPPY FANTASTIC DESIGNS was born!
HAPPY FANTASTIC DESIGNS features my original pencil and ink hand drawn art. I silkscreen my art on apparel, hats, bags, accessories, and more in my Burlington, Vermont studio. My art is for humans of all ages... not just kids. My work is an eclectic mix of wearable and function items -- unified by my love of color and a strong artistic vision apparent in my original art of happy animals and fantastical creatures.
Who makes it?
I DO!!! I MAKE ALL THE ART! I sew the hats, change purses, and the one-of-a-kind handbags from scratch. I design, laser cut, and stain/paint the wooden ornaments and wood items. Just as an artist buys blank paper and canvas, I buy blank tee shirts to silk-screen on. Trust me, sewing on jersey cotton is HARD and if I did it myself AND silkscreened my own art on it... that would be a $200 tee shirt! Then only wealthy people could afford my clothes and that's NOT OK!
My work is inspired by what I like. What makes me happy. What makes me think and feel. I love modern art, pop art, dada anti-art, 60’s mod, punk rock, 80's dark wave, sci-fi, and cute woodland creatures.
I take caring for our Earth and the diverse people who live here VERY seriously. My fine art frequently contains themes related to sexism and racism. My interest in social psychology mirrored my art themes on stigma, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Sometimes I can get carried away fighting for social justice and the environment... but I would rather be "too passionate" than indifferent. I follow "green" and sustainable business practices by using up-cycled, recycled, or green materials whenever I can.
I have 2 mischievous, dramatic, and adorable basenji dogs.
I enjoy gardening. I am OBSESSIVELY GOOD at organizing and labeling things... I also enjoy a good mess.
I LOVE teaching and making art with kids! I am certified to teach art, PK-12, in the state of Vermont (click HERE to be redirected to my teaching portfolio). After a rough and heart breaking experience teaching art in the Burlington Public School System, I ONLY want to teach art in schools who appreciate, RESPECT, and support the arts.
Where to Buy
Most of my work is one-of-a-kind or made in very limited edition so the items on this website are examples (many of which have already been sold). I primarily sell my Happy Fantastic art at the Burlington Farmers Market. I also sell a selection of my best-selling work on Etsy and in my Online Shop.