Etta Kampfer, the Stillwater artist behind Neon Moon Design Co., channels her creative energy and love of all things Western to create vibrant and rustic hand-designed logos, graphics, invitations and calligraphy for her clients.
Growing up watching and learning from her mother, who aspired to be a sign-painter, instilled in Kampfer a desire to express herself artistically. However, it was not until years later, after she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University in 2010, that Kampfer felt the absence of visual art from her life and became even more motivated to return to it. She went back to school for graphic design during which time she began practicing calligraphy and hand lettering.
“I love that designing for others has allowed me to find a way back to the artistic impulses I found so freeing as a child,” Kampfer says.
After realizing her affinity for the graphic arts, Kampfer launched Neon Moon Design Co. in 2016. She currently creates custom ads, logos and signs for businesses. Along with these services, clients often seek her out for her calligraphy for wedding invitations and other events.
“I find the current trend of hand-lettered and hand-drawn logo designs and lettering projects to be a great fit for my artwork. I’m very lucky to have found clients that really appreciate the unique hand-drawn artwork that I create,” Kampfer says.
Kampfer’s art is strongly impacted by her passion for her horses, Finn and Kola. After her first ride when she was 10, horses became an instrumental part in not only making the rural lifestyle she desired possible and sparking ideas for several of her designs, but she also credits them for helping to shape her personality over the years.
“For me, growing up riding and showing horses formed the person I am. [Horses] taught me to be compassionate, determined and committed,” Kampfer says.
Neon Moon is inspired by the western U.S. and some of its key defining elements such as cacti and skulls. Many of her designs draw from desert imagery and Kampfer even uses one type of lettering she calls “saloon lettering,” which is seen on signs used in old Westerns. Horses and horseshoes are also heavily featured in her designs often combined with her signature statement turquoise set against more neutral background so the color pops off the page.
“I was born in Minnesota, but my soul belongs out west,” Kampfer says.
Admirers of Kampfer’s Wild West designs but who are not looking for custom work for a business or event can visit her online Etsy shop that offers a collection sure to transport you to a desert oasis or cowboy’s ranch. Available to purchase are her hand-designed and painted clutch purses, T-shirts and jewelry in an array of bold colors.
Even now, producing art is Kampfer’s way of freeing her spirit and letting go, much like what the Western lifestyle reminds her of. Her clients and the artistic process challenge her on a daily basis, but she comes out with products that fulfill her creative visions and her clients’ expectations.
“When I’m deep in the process of painting, sketching or working on a custom design, I often lose track of time,” Kampfer says.