What does a typical work day look like for you?
One thing I love about freelance life is that I’m always working on a variety of projects at once. Lately, my time has been split between communicating with and designing for UI/UX clients, working on pattern and illustration work and planning for future product lines, and managing our Joshua Tree Airbnb.
Since I don’t have a dedicated studio space right now, I spend a lot of time at coffee shops. I love the change of scenery, and feeding off of the creative energy at places like Saint Frank in Russian Hill.
Tell us about the mediums you choose to work with and why? What was your process when creating the “Gah!” images for us?
I’ve realized that I love creating experiences, and I use a lot of different mediums to do so. This can make it difficult to explain to people exactly what I do though, ha!
Some of the experiences I design are digital… for example, a client may need me to design the best online shopping experience. For UI/UX work, I use Sketch, which is an awesome program for this type of design.
An experience I created for Lisa Says Gah was about opening a special gift with a Lisa Says Gah item inside. For that experience, I illustrated a wrapping paper patterned with little ladies wearing LSG items. I painted this using watercolor for a loose, playful effect.
Another medium I’ve used recently to create an experience is Interior design. I’ve always been interested in how our surroundings can affect our mood, and this year my husband and I bought a house in Joshua Tree. We’ve since renovated and designed it to be what we think of as the perfect desert retreat.
Can you speak to your relationship with creative struggle?
For me, a huge struggle is staying focused. Though I’m always working on many projects at once, I’ve been teaching myself and making a point of focusing on one task at a time. It’s so easy for me to get distracted… so often I start a project and find myself working on another one an hour later with both projects only partially complete. I’m a master of starting, but not of finishing. It takes a lot for me to wrap up those final details, and learning how to focus has been key for me.
I also think it’s incredibly important to allow yourself space from projects. Sometimes if I hit a creative block or road bump, taking a walk and getting away from it for a while is the best thing. In the moment, it feels counter intuitive… like I’m extending the process. But creativity does need time and space to breathe.
What do you have to say to those trying to “make it” in creative fields? What does it mean (for you) to combine art and work?
I think it takes a blend of emotional and non-emotional decisions to combine art and work. By that, I mean that there should be quite a bit of emotion in what you do. You should have a passion for it, and a need to create this kind of work. But, I’ve learned that it’s also important to inject some non-emotional decisions in order to make it a business. Most of the decisions I’m talking about are the ones involving money. After all, that’s what makes it a business, right? Once you decide what your rates are, the only thing to be negotiated is your scope of work.
Tell us about your home in SF. Is there a story behind all the STUNNING original artwork gracing the walls?
Yes! The Alameda flea market is one of our favorite places to go. Probably half the things in our apartment are from there, and almost all of the artwork. For a while, the Sunday flea market was one of my favorite dates with my husband. We had one specific vendor who was a favorite… He had met Matisse at three years old and had a wealth of art history knowledge. We would visit him at the flea market once a month both for stories and, of course, to buy some drawings and paintings from him. Eventually, our collection grew… and our apartment did not. So now our walls are covered!
Joshua Tree House! Tell us all about it! What sparked the idea and how did you make it happen? How do you envision it evolving?
It began with a month long cross county road trip. We got in a routine of driving a few hours each morning and spending the rest of the day hiking a National Park along the route.
This was our first time to Joshua Tree, and it felt different than all the rest of our stops. Something about this place pulled us in and stayed in our thoughts. We found that real estate there was quite affordable, and exactly one year later we found ourselves looking to buy a home in Joshua Tree. As soon as we stepped foot onto the property of the Joshua Tree House we knew it was special, and the perfect place to share with others who needed a place to reset, reflect, and create. We bought it directly from the owner (a Craigslist find - again!), and spent the Summer painting, renovating, and furnishing the space.
We’ve now been renting it out on Airbnb for about two months, and it has been so incredible to share our house with photographers, painters, musicians, designers… and the list goes on! We’re quickly finding that this home is going to be much more than a vacation rental, and we already have some exciting plans for the space for next year.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you organize it?
Different cities and towns offer me a lot of inspiration. I find that having a fresh perspective of a place definitely helps with this. Going somewhere new is incredibly inspiring… I find myself noticing small details in the architecture, the landscape, people’s personal style, etc., and that all somehow finds its way into my work. After living in San Francisco for years, I left for the majority of last year to experience living in Brooklyn and travel Southeast Asia. When I came back after all that time, I had a whole new appreciation for the city’s aesthetic and found myself snapping photos at every corner. I especially love San Francisco’s color palette, and I actually created a whole series of patterns inspired by San Francisco earlier this year.
I wouldn’t say that my inspiration is especially organized, but I do refer to photos on my phone quite often, including screenshots I’ve taken of artist’s Instagrams that I find inspiring. Of course, Pinterest is also a great place for organizing inspiration.
What is your relationship with fashion like? How do you see fashion intersect with art?
My favorite kind of design has always been functional. I believe in function over form, but with fashion I expect both. I’m not interested in suffering for fashion, but I also won’t let myself go near certain items (like Crocs). I don’t even want to know how comfortable they are!
I love that fashion can influence your mood, like any good piece of art. There is so much to experience with fashion… how a piece of fabric feels against your skin, or the way it moves with you. I also love the way my purse sounds when it clicks shut. It’s those details that bring joy to mundane everyday activities. Simply opening and closing my bag is an enjoyable part of the day. Who would’ve thought?!