Sandra Dwyer was a recent winner of our Folio Focus Design brief. She came up with two beautiful "wave and wash" inspired cushions which will be available to buy for the next six months.
1) How long have you been an artist?
Ever since I can remember, being creative has been a part of my life. I started selling my handmade items when I was in high school at local craft shows and dreamed of owning a shop. I went on to study Industrial Design at the Univ. of Arts in Philadelphia. . During that time I collaborated with a fashion retailer and designed a merchandising display system for one of their store’s opening in NYC. After graduation, I joined their in-house advertising & design department full time.
2) How did your particular style develop? What were your influences?
As a graphic designer, I’ve worked primarily in a digital format and I’ve only recently discovered surface pattern design and am currently building up a portfolio. I’m making a concerted effort to return to more traditional methods and like to incorporate both traditional and digital media into my work. However, I am still exploring and my style continues to evolve. I like to include touches of the hand-hewn creative process in my designs and like when happy accidents occur between the two.
3) Which artists do you admire?
There are so many great artists to admire. I think I would be remiss though if I didn’t say Lilla Rogers and Rachael Taylor as they both have had a huge impact on me in learning about the surface pattern design industry. I’m also a fan of such notables as William Morris, Georgia O’Keefe, Mark Rothko, and Lucienne Day to name a few. Contemporaries include Lisa Congdon, Lauren Minco Lowen, and Flora Waycott, but again, there are countless brilliant artist whose work I admire.
4) How did you take the step to start selling your art?
I’m currently pulling together work to publish on my new website and plan to make some designs available for sale and licensing. Other than that, my abstract waves and washes cushions are available for sale on Wraptious. I’ve also entered the current competition so those cushions are also available for sale for a limited time.
5) How did you start promoting yourself?
I’ve been sharing and promoting my work on Instagram as @sanderella_d. I’m looking forward to publishing my surface pattern design website at sdpatterns.com and will promote my work there and at shows in the future.
6) What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome as an artist?
The biggest challenge for me is juggling time and technology. Quite simply, I want to do it all!
7) What's the best piece of advice you could give to emerging artists, from your experience? Trust the process and be kind to yourself. You’ll be carving your own path and there will be obstacles along the way. Create a community that will support your endeavors and delegate what you can.
8) What was your process when designing for the brief?
The design brief for Folio Focus was inspired by the theme of abstract waves and washes. I knew I wanted to use either paint or alcohol inks to express the fluid quality of water rushing in a stream or a crashing wave.
9) In an ideal world, what would you be doing?
In an ideal world, I’d have a dedicated art studio and representation to license my work and develop my own line of products for retail and wholesale markets. I’d also like to have a space that would serve as a gallery for showings and workshops to support the local community and artisans.