Meet Char Fatke, the owner and creator behind Later Gator. Char and I have been friends for about 3 years now, having first met at Holy Hill Art Farm. Her work is very unique and she's fascinating to talk to; she can recount the history or story behind every image that she sells. I particularly love her vintage Milwaukee images. Check her out!
Char, tell us about Later Gator, when and how did you get your start?
Later Gator was started in 2009, but it took 4 years for me to come up with the name. I have always loved photography and bought my first camera during my first year of college. Being a poor college student and since this was during the 35mm era, it was costly for me to get photos developed. So, it was a hobby for me then. Then the digital age occurred and voila! I was inspired all over again. In 2012 I was given my Grandma's postcard album. After looking at these cards, most from the early 1900's into the 1930's, I felt the old artwork needed to be saved. Back then, so many were drawn pictures or black and white photos that were later colored. I wanted to keep that artwork available to everyone out there. The problem was that the cards were "old." They were dirty, had ink marks, bent, torn or even missing corners. So, after a lot of investigation and experimentation, I taught myself how to fix them. Now that I had that part figured out, I thought the images should remain postcards along with my original photos. And so, the Grandmother who passed away 2 months before I was born and is my namesake, was my inspiration for bringing in the vintage aspect of my business.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is anything in nature, vintage and unusual. I also work off of popular items, such as the "keep calm" theme. I feel that a mailbox needs to be filled with personal mail, not just bills and junk mail. The postcards have inspired note cards, various sizes of matted prints and I'm expanding onto other mediums for both my photography and vintage art. Anything is game in my world.
How do you decide which images to use?
I have to say, a lot of what I use is my personal taste. I love artwork of kids playing that could be anyone's children. Always, without them realizing it, I'm shooting them. I do make sure I have permission to use my "people" artwork. Flowers are beautiful. So intricate and the colors are amazing. Animals are so fun. Especially my chickens. I love shooting on farms. I'm never afraid to ask someone if I can shoot their dog or cat, goat, etc. As for the vintage, I love old city scenes; fun to see how it has all changed or in some cases, remained the same. The drawn artwork is amazing. I have a series of vintage women images that I really enjoy working with. Would love to find the same with vintage images of men.
What can customers expect when they work with you?
Customers can expect friendly service and the highest quality available. My postcards and note cards are printed on 60% recycled pulp paper, with the rest sourced responsibly from tree plantations. The inks are vegetable based and the packaging for the note cards are plant based and compostable. I continue to search for the same with my matted prints. All of my work is professionally printed and USA made. Customization is also available, I'm happy to work with someone's photos or artwork.
Tell us where we can find your awesome work?
My products are available through my website at latergator.us, at art fairs and soon in shops. Feel free to visit my website as this information is updated continuously.
Now just for fun, if you could have any celebrity, dead or alive, as your company spokesperson who would it be and why?
Being an avid reader, I would love to have Jane Austen see what has happened for women in the 200 years since she authored her books (no offense guys). There is so much potential for women who want to have their own business. It's exciting and scary at the same time. I do have to admit that I'm not on my own in this entire process, my husband, Dan, is my sounding board, my builder and gives honest opinions. Thank goodness for that!
Thanks Char! I am looking forward to seeing you again this year at Holy Hill Art Farm. XO, Lisa