So to start off this month’s post, let’s briefly look at the subtle differences between two different categories of art. This will enable two things: a) for us to be on the same “page” when it comes to discussing artworks on paper (Please, PLEASE forgive the awful puns in this post!) and (b) for you to impress all your friends with your insightful knowledge of the art world.
Arkansas in the Making is a series of interviews featuring local artisans, their workspaces and accoutrements. For this post, we interviewed Laura Dro, an artist and textile designer transplanted to our fair state from sunny Florida.
AT HOME IN ARKANSAS: Define your personal style in 6 words. LAURA DRO: colorful, trendy, fresh, eclectic, whimsical and beachy. My personal style definitely leaks into my artwork.
AHIA: What are your current obsessions? LD: I’m currently obsessed with my baby! Also, I would say that I’m obsessed with Instagram, Pineapples, my new collection of Lucite tray patterns, and my new collection of paintings.
AHIA: What color could you not live without? LD: This is a tough one for me. When asked what my favorite color is, I usually say: “Color!” But if I had to pick a few, my artwork always has some shade of orangey-coral, pink, and turquoise. I truly can’t pick a favorite color though.
AHIA: Tell us about why you make what you make: a history, timeline or some sort of list. LD: I am obsessed with bright, fresh, and sunny colors. Color is the center of all of my work. I love coming up with unique color-ways for paintings/patterns and turning that into a piece of art that can be incorporated in someone’s home or place of business. I started out several years ago designing custom wedding invitations and stationery when I was living in Chicago. Eventually, I was able to hone in on what artwork and patterns I loved. Next, I signed up for Surtex (a trade show in NYC) and was able to land several licensing contracts through doing so. After working with such great companies over the past few years, I wanted to be able to provide people a way to get my paintings and patterns directly from the artist. That eventually led me to developing my website and selling prints, patterns, and the Lucite trays that I do today! I love collaborating with other artists and companies, and am always looking for new fun and interesting things to do with my artwork.
AHIA: What is your greatest achievement or goal for your brand? LD: Recently, I’ve had some amazing opportunities and I still have to pinch myself about them. A shoe that I designed for Bucketfeet was picked up by Nordstrom, both in-stores and online. Also, a collection of my paintings can be found in HomeGoods stores across country. The best thing about both of these opportunities was that I was able to put my name on both of the products!
AHIA: What is your go-to for a quick burst of inspiration? LD: As long as the weather is nice and sunny, there is no stopping me! But, if it’s one of the dreary winter days, I love just playing around with watercolors and inks, it helps me stay loose and create unique color-ways that I eventually use in paintings or patterns. I try to stay away from the internet when I need inspiration so I can truly let my own creativity flow.
AHIA: Which of your tools is most important for your work? Describe it, how long you’ve had it, etc. LD: I could not live without my Bamboo Wacum tablet. It’s basically a digital sketchbook that I can use in Illustrator and Photoshop. It gives my designs an expressionistic and hand-drawn look because they are..just digitally! I’ve had it for three years and it has changed the overall look of my patterns quite significantly.
AHIA: What makes your workspace, studio, etc. uniquely yours? LD: Aside from the bouncy chair for my infant and the dog bed that are both at my side, I have an amazing worktable/storage unit my husband built for me. The top lifts up and I put all my messy paints and artwork inside. Having enough table space to spread out and create on is very important for a studio. Also, my studio is here at home and that is very important to me so I can be with my little baby!
AHIA: To an aspiring artisan, what would you say is the most important part of doing creative work? LD: To an aspiring artist, I would simply say to be original and make several pieces to show the range of your style. Just having a few pieces won’t convey what you’re trying to do. A collection should be eight to 10 pieces, whether it’s photography, paintings, or illustrations. The more you have the better people can relate. I think quote by an unknown author says it best..”Be yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.”
AHIA: How does your lifestyle support your work? LD: I would say that I’m a fun, colorful, vibrant, and happy person and that my artwork is a reflection of that.
AHIA: What do you want your customers to know about you and your work? LD: I put so much passion and energy into every piece that I do, and I want to share that with as many people out there as I can. I am constantly producing new collections of artwork, prints, and patterns with the hopes that I can continue to expand and grow, so I can bring color AHIA: Within the field of your work, who is your greatest inspiration/influence/role model, etc? LD: Growing up in Florida, it’s impossible not to mention Lilly Pulitzer and her whimsical patterns as a huge influence on my work. Her patterns and artwork are easily recognizable and I really hope that will be the case with my art one day! A more current artist/designer is Lulu deKwiatkowski–LuLu DK–she is definitely a role model to me. She has amazing work in both the art and design industry. She creates amazing collages and paintings which influence her fabric and textile lines. Her work also has a beachy-sunny vibe that I am always drawn to.
Thank you, Laura! And as a bonus for you, today, Laura is giving away a 12″x12″ Lucite tray! To enter: go and “Like” the Laura Dro Designs Facebook page, then “Like” the At Home in Arkansas Facebook page and let us know you’ve done so by leaving a comment below! A winner will be selected at random on next Wednesday, October 8th, at 4pm, so be sure to check back to see if you won. Best of luck! [This giveaway is now closed: And the winner is….Katie Grant Holley! Katie–To claim your prize email our Online Content Editor at email@example.com CONGRATS! And thanks to everyone who entered.]
Happy October! In this month’s new issue, we share new takes on traditional design. This week’s Room of the Week features a Little Rock family who turned to designer Joshua Plumlee at Cobblestone & Vine to help bridge the gap between the classic look of their Heights home and their distinctive style. The front entry, seen above, is one of our favorite spaces. The interior of the front door and its surround are painted black to draw attention to its shapeliness and to add drama, while a Chinese Chippendale chair and an X-bench with traditional silhouettes are updated with fresh design details and fabrics. Plumlee used color, art, and custom furnishings to make the home a reflection of its fun-loving owners. We’ve gathered a few items to help you get the look, but contact Plumlee for all your design questions. Read the full story online here or find a copy of the new October issue on newsstands.
In this month’s issue, we brought you a roundup of home decor inspired by painting techniques [click here to read the article online]. When shopping the trend, we found that a number of top textile lines have created fabrics that capture this brushstroke effect; seems that this is a trend with some staying power. Here are our top five brushstroke fabrics:
#5 LULU DK for F. Schumacher pattern: Cha-Cha, in color Coral
At Home in Arkansas: What are your 3 must have items for this year? Tracy Rivers: Concrete texture, Crazy bright over-sized art-think Julian Schnabel, and gold gilt!
AHIA: What is your favorite paint color at the moment? TR: SW6480 Lagoon is beautifu! Its a great color for accents, accessories and painting furniture
AHIA: What is the last thing you purchased for a client? TR: Bruno Mars Tickets. But, as it relates to business, a beautiful limoge display table that we covered in gold gilt
AHIA: Is there a design trend or product you are dying to try or purchase for a client? TR: I have this photo I keep in my back pocket of a powder bath thats just perfection
AHIA: What is one design secret you can share with our readers? TR: One of the easiest ways to add character to your house is to add hand applied texture to your walls and ceilings. It can soften and add an element without adding alot of busy movement. Neutrals go great on texture.
Learn more about Tracy and her work on the web at Angelfish Studios
And for more of her work that has been featured in the magazine, check out these articles: European Union and Sparkling Sanctuary. And definitely keep an eye out for her latest work in our August issue, available on newsstands July 29th!
(gallery image above from BrantFoundation.org; coffee table image from 1stdibs.com)