Marcia and Daniel Minter -she leads visual communications at L.L.Bean; he’s an accomplished artist, illustrator, and educator – are a creative tour de force.
Styling by Carrie Montgomery Hurlbutt
Photographed at the Portland Public Library
As the vice president creative director at one of the country’s most revered brands, it’s no surprise that Marcia Minter takes style seriously. At the John Calvin Stevens– designed home in Deering Highlands that she shares with her artist husband, Daniel, Marcia is wearing a creamy combination of winter- white jeans and a sheer angora-wool sweater, accessorized with an ombré violet-to-vermillion gemstone necklace from which hang half a dozen pendants. Collected over the last decade, each charm is symbolic: one represents her love of the ocean; another denotes freedom and liberation. “I don’t love to just wear pretty things, I like to look for something that has a meaning for me, whether it’s the color I pick for the fabric, the make of the garment, or even a decision about who made it,” she says.
Daniel, on the other hand, prefers utilitarian clothing—and nice shoes, although he admits that, given Maine’s weather, he doesn’t wear them often. Today he’s in a loden-green cable cardigan, a look that is at once cozy and classic. As an artist, he says, “I just really want to wear something that I can get dirty. I dress like my father, who was a farmer. It’s really just clothes that you can work in.”
The couple met in karate class more than 20 years ago, when they were both living in Atlanta. Since then, they’ve lived all over the country from Seattle to Chicago to New York, following impressive career trajectories: Daniel has received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, won several national awards for his children’s book illustrations, and illustrated two Kwanzaa stamps for the United States Postal Service; Marcia has worked in creative roles at Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Essence magazine.
Now in brand communications at L.L.Bean—a position she’s had for over a decade—Marcia works across the digital and print channels leading a team of graphic designers, overseeing photography, and ensuring continuity of the brand’s visual identity. It was the company’s history and integrity that first drew her to the position. “L.L.Bean is an amazing heritage brand with, as everyone knows, a truly authentic story,” she says. “I was really looking for a place where I could utilize my creative background and skills, but also be in a working environment that actually cares about people and the communities that they are involved in.”
Daniel, too, is intent on creating meaningful work that speaks to others. As an adjunct assistant instructor of illustration at Maine College of Art, Daniel says, “I talk a lot about developing an awareness and appreciation for the community that the students are part of and filling that role as an artist.” His own artwork, which includes illustrations, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, block prints, and bas-relief carvings, often incorporates symbols, icons, and folklore inspired by his Southern heritage as well as African-American and African-diaspora culture. On a table in the living area of their home, a smooth round stone is carved to resemble a person kneeling on the ground in prayer in an untitled work; in the dining room, square-cut antique nails— pulled from renovation work he helped with while sharing studio space at the former Back Bay location of Running with Scissors—are pounded into found wood in his multi-layered, mixed-media piece Judgment House.
While art is one of the key passions the Minters share as a couple and as a family (their son is
a freshman at Maryland Institute College of Art), “also important is our deep respect for humanity, cultures, human rights, and social justice,” Marcia says. Daniel is a founder of the Portland Freedom Trail, a collection of 16 sites around the city that are remarkable because of their involvement with the abolitionist movement and Underground Railroad. Between the two of them, they have also been on the boards of numerous organizations dedicated to community and the arts, including Portland Ovations, Maine Partners of the Americas, the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, Maine Arts Commission, and the International Child Art Foundation, which is based in Washington, D.C.
Creating with intention, as well as through community engagement, is what drives this couple. Whether it’s through beautifully photographed advertising or a moving piece of artwork, as a commercial or fine artist, they share similar perceptions and aesthetics, while they each have their own powerful and passionate visual voice. “I’m always thinking about how people think, of what matters to people,” says Marcia. “That’s how I reconcile my work as an artist to what matters to me as a person, and I know that Daniel does the same thing in his work. It’s bringing those pieces around so that what really matters to you is in concert with your work as a creative individual.”