Super talented Stephanie Ryan had been kind enough to share with us a bit about her work, what inspires, and how she landed her iconic florals onto a great product. Enjoy, and thanks Stephanie!
"Through the use of simple shapes and thoughtful colors, I found that I could express a piece of myself through my art. Peaceful, serene, and beautiful are the colors that I use to express how I feel, and the simple uncomplicated shapes are the life that I am trying to obtain. It is my dream to reach people and soothe their hectic lives with quiet thoughts of inspiration."
"My journey began after a fire destroyed Little Souls, Inc. the doll company where I worked for 11 years. My time there was invaluable. I started as a doll maker and was steadily promoted from designer to buyer, to product manager. After the fire, I was faced with the fact that I had to start over and decided to go back to school. I studied graphic design at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. My love for fabrics and pattern lead me to explore the textile design program and through the exploration of both of these majors my style was born.
I am now a freelance designer, specializing in tabletop, surface, and product design.
Life is very exciting these days.
what three to five words would you use to describe your work?
I would describe my work as whimsical, fresh and pretty with a dash of vintage modern thrown in.
what inspires you?
I am inspired by the shapes and colors found in nature. I don’t like to look at reference when I am painting my flowers, it is more intuitive. I love to mix beautiful muted colors and let my brush create the shapes. It is almost like meditating to me.
what was your first job? when/how did you know you wanted a career in art?
My first job was working in a deli, but my first creative job was working for a doll company called Little Souls, Inc. I had to drop out of college for financial reasons and found the job as a doll maker for 5 bucks an hour and was thrilled! I think I always knew I wanted a career in art but had no idea how to pursue it. I had given up hope when I left college so, when I got the job I dug in deep, worked really hard and learned as much as I could about manufacturing and product development.
can you tell us a bit about how the Lenox deal came about?
I was at the right place at the right time. I have worked for Lenox for many years as a designer and freelancer and an opportunity came up and my art fit their needs. It was quite serendipitous and came at just the right time. I love when that happens.
what was the process like from concept to execution?
This was a different situation than usual. I was doing some concept work for them and was struggling for ideas so, I decided to use some of my existing artwork. The concept didn’t work for that job but was picked up at a sales meeting by one of their major retailers. The deal came from that sales meeting. I then took the art and proposed layouts for the different shapes and handed everything over to their production department to finish it up.
finish this sentence: I could eat...Massaman Curry...all day.
design books/blogs you can't live without:
It has been a while since I bought a design book because of blogs and the amazing resources available online. I do have some Tricia Guild books that I love, and I can’t live without my Artful Blogging Magazine. As far as blogs …. oh, where do I begin? I love decor8, Creature Comforts, & Bloesem for design inspiration and Gathering Spriggs, Simply Hue, and Secrets of a Butterfly for a deeper level of inspiration. It is so hard to pick just a few, I am so inspired by my blogging friends and wish I had more time to interact with them because I value their work so much.
what do you do when you are not doing art?
I’m sorry, what is that? I am pretty obsessed with art these days, it takes up most of my time. Whatever time is left over I try to spend with my husband and our families. Art really fills every corner of my life... how lucky am I?
name one thing about you that would shock the outside world.
Oh gosh, just one thing? Well, I like to paint and wood burn in bed. I don’t know if that is shocking, but it drives my husband crazy. I’ve never had a mishap either.
finish this sentence: If I could time travel, I would arrive... right here, right now.
This is a year of transition for me. I left my full-time job in November and am adjusting to my new freelance work life. I am also creating new art and developing my brand in the hopes of licensing my designs some day.
For more on Stephanie, check out her website www.stephanieryandesign.com.
Keep up with her blog www.smallsweetsteps.com, or pick up a sweet print at her Etsy shop www.etsy.com/stephanieryanart.