Tell us about your art, your background and what inspires you?
Art has been a grand passion of mine but it was when I was forced to give up conventional work, due to fibromyalgia, that I rediscovered it as a full time practice. Painting in oils became a kind of meditation that assisted me through the pain of chronic illness, keeping me focused on beauty and light.
Over the next decade and a half, my work appeared in countless exhibitions and galleries, in private collections all around the world and was published in books and by card manufacturers while I gathered a clutch of American Art awards and other recognitions. Yet the true purpose of my art, as a kind of therapy, for both me and for its audience, continued to provide my main inspiration as I sought out some of the most transient and light filled moments in nature to convey with my paint brushes. Beautiful landscapes (from where I live, In England), moments of radiance and garden or floral themes became the mainstay of my work.
How does VIDA impact your work as an artist and designer?
VIDA enables me to make my work accessible to a far wider audience than just those seeking to hang a painting in their home, making the world a far more colorful place in the process. As someone who has been inspired for many years by William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Bloomsbury set, I believe that art should be a living thing that adds value to daily life, applied to many more surfaces than “just” a canvas on a wall. In my opinion, the very spaces that we live in and the clothes that we wear should be beautiful or practical, ideally both and its become all too commonplace to accept less than this when items are mass produced.
I had been looking for ways to achieve this with my own art when I came across VIDA as a means to making this dream a reality. I was also seeking a way of making use of my digital art, which was the next generation of my work, using the same approaches as I had developed for oil painting, only doing so on a computer with even more access to color, layers and brush techniques. Digital art translates beautifully onto fabric so it has been a match made in heaven, just as I had hoped it would be, with even more scope yet to be explored.
What made you want to explore art-inspired fashion?
My own wardrobe is fairly eclectic and I have always been a great lover of accessories! So, it was the ability to see my work interpreted on beautiful scarves, made of the finest materials, that led me towards fashion in the first place. I find that a carefully chosen collection of scarves can get me through a whole range of different social occasions, especially if they are eye-catching and unique. They can be worn in a variety of ways and are just so easy to tuck away in your bag, ready to pull out and transform an outfit at a moment’s notice. When I go on vacation, I take more scarves than outfits as they do everything I need them to and often more, without taking up much space. The fact that I can also play with designing other fashion items with VIDA, such as tops and bags, is a wonderfully exciting thing for someone who loves quirky clothes.
How do you think VIDA is different from other choices out there?
The thing that really made VIDA stand out for me was the quality of the materials and the professionalism of the website. Having worked so hard on my reputation as an artist, I was loathe to put my name on anything that looked anything less than these beautiful products. I am always thrilled at the outcome of seeing my vision come to life on cashmere silk or modal (my two favorite scarf fabrics) plus all the other products in the range. The ability to do so brings a whole new dimension to my creative practice, keeping me thinking outside of the box as I work towards adding new and more innovative designs to my shop. It means I can play with two very different sides of my work – my paintings and then my fabrics – whilst allowing them to cross over and influence each other in so many ways.