KENT, Wash. — Kent artist Kelly Gregor is a modern-day cupid: "Well yes, I don't dress up for, I don't make appearances," she laughed.
But she does hand-write hundreds of Valentines for complete strangers from her in-home art studio.
Kelly's an illustrator for Punkpost - a San Francisco area startup that sends hand-written cards created by freelance artists.
Customers pick a card online - and write the message they want to express on the website.
Then artists like Kelly hand letter the message, adding special touches inside and out.
"We can add pictures, we can add confetti, and we also decorate the envelope and make sure the stamp goes well with the card."
She sends her creations off via snail mail, to brighten the day of someone she doesn’t know at all.
But after making more than eighteen hundred cards for all occasions, the strangers Kelly writes for feel more like friends:
"I feel like I know them a little bit,” she said. “I feel like I can read kinda what they want without them saying at this point."
And all that love rubs off on her:
“It does,” she said. “I had a card from somebody in Snohomish recently, he was writing a Valentine to his wife. She had just had a baby. He was thanking her for all the things that she does on a daily basis, and said the baby won't see all the things she does, but he sees her. And he just ended it with 'I see you' and it was the sweetest thing. So, I cried a little.”
One word sums up Valentine season for this artist:
“Busy - I've written quite a few cards. I also have a full-time job so I didn't get to write as many as some people but we've written thousands so far, yeah."
The irony here is that if she wasn't an artist for PunkPost, she probably wouldn't send any Valentines at all.
"I've never really been a huge Valentine’s day person, I like Halloween, it's more my style. But Valentine's day now is more fun now because I get to spread love. And help people spread love. And I think that's really important these days," she said.
And her side hustle has so inspired her to share that love, she's going to downtown Seattle on Valentine's Day to hand handwritten Valentines out to complete strangers, in person.