Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I live in a high-rise flat in Brighton, England; (very lucky to have a sea view) I have a 22 yr. old son and am currently working on my career as and artist/ surface pattern designer. My passions are drawing in my sketchbooks and growing plants, I could not imagine a life with out my plants, and they are a great source of inspiration to me and I find tending to my plants very relaxing. I love to hula-hoop with my friends, walking and cloud watching from my rocking chair.
When did you discover your passion?
I have always loved drawing and have kept sketchbooks for years, and went to art collage when I left school, but lacked the confidence to push myself further. When my son was 9 I suffered a back injury and it meant I could not work, so I got together a portfolio and applied to uni and studied fine art I specialized in screen-printing. Even after that I still kept my artwork quite private. Last year I discovered surface pattern design and my confidence in my own artistic ability it was a revelation, I now finally understood why I had been drawing away in my sketchbooks and what to do with its contents.
What made you turn your passion into a career choice versus just a hobby?
Last September I made the decision to quit my job in the week and work Monday- Friday in my studio, (I have created a beautiful creative space in my bedroom with sea views) I work weekends in a homeless hostel, it pays the bills and allows me to go for it and give my art career the attention it deserves. It feels the right thing to do, I know its not going to be easy but I know its worth going for, all I want is enough to get by and live a comfortable and happy life making art and that the passion I have comes across in the designs and art work I create.
How do you stay motivated?
I have surprised my self with how motivated I can be and the reason is I am truly happy and the only person that can do the drawing is me. I have a positive outlook on life and try to find solutions to problems and not to stress about the little things.
In January I set myself a year long daily drawing challenge, every day I draw something and post it to instargram and my Facebook page. Sometimes I set my self a theme other times I draw what ever I want, I am currently using this month to draw people as its something I can do but don’t and I need to practice. It’s going well so far. Through one of my daily drawing, I received my 1st overseas commission for a Mandala, which has just been posted yesterday. I feel fantastic
Can you share a little about your design process?
My design process is at its infancy at the moment, and as I grow and evolve I am sure it will change. At the moment it goes something like this.
I love taking photos and use them for design ideas and color palettes, I have loads of reference books My designs are mostly florals so I draw my plants, get fixated on a leaf/flower shape and will set about drawing, filling up pages in my sketchbook, I scan loads of motif is in then I play!!! I currently use Ai to make my patterns but I prefer the more hand-drawn, painted look you get from making patterns in Ps so I am learning to use that at the moment.
What is your favorite part about having a creative business?
Is the fact that at the age of 45 when someone asks me what I do, I get such pride and happiness when I say I am an artist, it feels so right and even as I write this it brings on such emotion as it’s the best thing I have ever done, My family and friends are so proud of me and that’s worth so much, and they encourage and support me.
I am under no illusion that’s its an easy having a creative business but I will give it 100% and at least I will know I have tried.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was me, until I found my confidence I could not start my career as I did not believe in myself.
What advice would you give to aspiring designers looking to build a successful creative business?
That’s hard as I am building mine at the moment, just go for it what have you got to lose, I found my passion and that feeling it gives you, that fire in your belly, that spurs you on. At the end of the day its practice the more you do something the better you get. Social media is a good way of getting yourself known; connect with other likeminded creative people ask question and ask for help if you need it, and if you cant do something find out how and learn it. Be yourself as only you can be!
Whats next for your career?
I will be buying a sewing machine; I am using the money from my first commission, so excited. I am going to have sewing lesions so I can make products out of my own fabrics, (I cant wait to make cushions from my own designs, I will have loads!!) I plan to have an Etsy shop up and running by October.
I am working on my portfolio and creating patterns, experimenting with different mediums drawing and painting, and working on making my blog more interesting. I need a website and will be looking at setting that up by the end of the year. Life is very exciting and full of creativity, so much has happened in a just over a year, looking forward to what the next year brings.
Where can we find you on the web?