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Meet Chelsie Tamms

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsie Tamms.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and always had an interest in art. After having an 11.5-hour spinal fusion surgery when I was 14 to correct my scoliosis, I shifted my focus from sports to another passion: art. I attended Cary-Grove High School, where I took nearly every art class offered including AP 2D Design (which earned me credit in college). I began to focus on graphic design after a field trip to Leo Burnett my sophomore year at which time I was in my first graphic design class. I went on to study Graphic Design, Spanish, and Marketing at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. While at Bradley, I held several internships with advertising agencies, as well as self-published an inspirational guide to hand lettering titled “Just my Type of Lettering.” The book received local and national recognition from the American Advertising Awards. Senior year, I participated in a student entrepreneurship competition and won $10,000 to start my own business, Lettering Works, a custom design business. Since graduating from Bradley in 2012, I have focused on my design and lettering full-time, completed an artist residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria’s Warehouse District, and gotten more involved in both the art and entrepreneurship communities in Peoria. I frequently teach lettering workshops, speak at entrepreneurship events, and work with small businesses to develop branding and marketing materials as unique as they are.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a lettering artist and graphic designer. The majority of my designs begin with pencil and paper, but ultimately end up on my computer in Adobe Illustrator where they are vectorized and able to be scaled and transformed into a variety of formats. I have always loved handwriting and crafting very intentional designs. I most enjoy bringing art into advertising and working with businesses and brands who have an important message to share. Common themes of my personal work include positivity (I have a series of Motivational Monday hand-lettered quotes) and community building (I have worked campaigns to promote shopping local and many local businesses). I have always hoped that my work can instill a greater sense of pride in oneself and their community. Even when I am working with a client, I want the work that we produce to add something beautiful and meaningful to the world. Never just another annoying ad that people want to throw away. I am currently working on expanding my community designs to new cities, including Chicago.

I’ve written and designed two books: “Just my Type of Lettering” and “100 Days of Peoria.”

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
My advice for artists looking to connect with other artists is to attend community events such as art gallery openings and social meetups. Putting yourself out there and communicating both who you are and what you do are key to finding a supportive community. Also participating in artist residencies and applying for shows locally.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Currently, people can see my work online at

Instagram: @letteringworks, 100 Days of Peoria Project: @100daysofpeoria; Unpolished Press: @unpolishedpress; Travel in Type Project: @travelintype; Personal: @chelsietamms

People can support my work by purchasing prints, books, stickers, magnets, and other items at or on Etsy ( or People can also hire me for custom lettering and design work. I specialize in designs for business, branding, communities, and causes.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sarah Waldo/Violet and Ivy Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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