CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
OF: I like to describe my illustrations as whimsical and charming. I do a lot of decorative work, and I always try to make my illustrations fun and playful.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
OF: I draw inspiration from a lot of different places. I can spend hours at a time browsing through antique shops, getting ideas for new pieces from the quirky vintage dresses, illustrated and hand-lettered packaging or the retro patterns on the furniture. For my floral pieces, I draw a lot of inspiration from looking at different bouquets in wedding or gardening magazines and books. I also think a lot about childhood when creating a new illustration, because children are so full of imagination. Children see the world as exciting, silly, and magical, and those are things I want people to see when they look at my work.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/piece of artwork?
OF: I actually have an ongoing list in one of my journals of different things I want to illustrate. Ideas pop into my head all the time, so writing them down is always where I start, and I just work my way through the list. Often, reading over these ideas sparks even more ideas—it’s an ongoing cycle. Once I pick what I want to illustrate, I get out my stonehenge papers and decide which colour would suit the piece best. Then I sketch it out very roughly. After that, I get out my gouache paint, and fiddle around with the colours until I find the perfect combination.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
OF: I just want people to look at my work and feel happy. I hope they think that it’s something they would like to have in their home or share with their friends.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
OF: My studio is a little corner of my apartment that holds my drafting table with my cork board full of ideas hanging on the wall in front of it. When it’s time for me to illustrate, I brew a pot of tea, put on a record, and get to work. Oftentimes, I get lost in my painting and don’t stop until the piece is finished. Once I’m done for the day, I wind down by playing and chatting with my Siamese cat.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
OF: I think everyone has their own way of doing things that works well for them. I am very much a list making, plan setting, schedule following type of person. I like having a guideline and following it—whether I make that guideline myself or get it from a client—it helps me stay on track and gives me a clear direction to work toward.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
OF: Always be yourself and do what makes you happy! Over the years I’ve tried to change my art style or subject matter to fit in with what I saw people around me doing, or what I was told to do in art classes. I’m not saying those people and instructors were wrong, but there is more than one way to do something, and their ways just didn’t work for me. Once I stopped trying to fit in with all that and just embraced my style and illustrated the things that interest me, my art grew so much! I started making illustrations I was excited about and proud of.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
OF: Personal style and taste are what makes everyone unique. I think they are very important, because they are what give us so much diversity in art and everything else in the world! The style and taste of one person can be inspiration to another, so it sets people apart but also brings them together.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
OF: The hardest thing for me is that it can be somewhat overwhelming at times. Everyday I get new ideas about what to illustrate next, and when the ideas pile up, it can feel like I have a lot hanging over my head. This is part of the reason why I make lists. Keeping myself organized really helps.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
OF: I love that I can take ideas and thoughts in my head and put them down on paper for other people to see and enjoy. There is something so rewarding about taking a blank piece of paper and turning it into a beautiful piece of art, making something out of nothing, like a magic trick!
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
OF: Anna Bond has been such an inspiration to me. She and her husband created a greeting card and stationery business called Rifle Paper Co. out of their apartment a few years ago, and Anna illustrates the products. Today, Rifle Paper Co. is a huge name in the greeting card industry and sells cards and paper goods all over the world. Anna’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! She does very decorative work that includes a lot of florals and other vintage-looking people, places and things in the most beautiful color palettes! She is everything I aspire to be!
OF: I’ve personally never really embraced the use of technology when it comes to creating my illustrations. I’m much more traditional when it comes to making art. I love the feeling of a paintbrush on paper, and that’s something a computer can never replicate for me. I think illustrating and art making are about the whole process of getting your hands dirty and making mistakes! I find technology erases all of that and makes art this sterile and robotic thing. I know it really works for some people, and that’s great, but it all goes back to “always do what makes you happy”, and gouache is what makes me happy!
However, in this day and age it’s nearly impossible to avoid using technology completely! I do use technology to share my art with others by posting it on my portfolio website and social media. Technology can be a very useful tool in getting your work seen by a wide audience. That is probably how I use technology most in regards to my work.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
OF: I think everyone views the world differently, no matter what path they take in life! That’s what makes the world so interesting!
CH.89: Do you enjoy travelling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
OF: Yes, I love to travel! I studied illustration abroad in Italy a couple years ago and spent my time sketching in the piazzas and cathedrals. It was beautiful, but my favorite place to go, by far, is London, England. I have always had a huge love for British culture, and I feel like that English aesthetic comes out a lot in the style of my illustrations (maybe that’s just wishful thinking)! I am actually leaving very soon for a backpacking trip around the U.K. with one of my best friends, and I could not be more excited!
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
OF: My favorite book is Watership Down by Richard Adams. It is such a beautiful story. One of my favourite authors is William Steig, who wrote and illustrated many hilarious and bizarre children’s books I loved as a kid. I still love those books today! He wrote the original story of Shrek, but it’s quite different than the movie, much more simple and charming!
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
OF: I’ve recently started designing and illustrating my own line of greeting cards that I sell on my Etsy store online. I plan to expand that and also branch out into surface design like patterns for gift wrap, pillows, or other homewares. I would also love to do more narrative work, like children’s book illustrations. I love being able to tell a whole story with my work.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
OF: It means I am able to put all the crazy ideas in my head down on paper to create something beautiful for the world to see and enjoy! It’s such a great feeling to be able to share the things I love with people everywhere.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
OF: I want to capture the beauty and magic of everyday life in my illustrations. I want people to smile and feel entertained when they look at my work!
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