Arkansas in the Making is a series of interviews featuring local artisans, their workspaces and accoutrements. For this post, we interviewed Laura Dro, an artist and textile designer transplanted to our fair state from sunny Florida.
AT HOME IN ARKANSAS: Define your personal style in 6 words. LAURA DRO: colorful, trendy, fresh, eclectic, whimsical and beachy. My personal style definitely leaks into my artwork.
AHIA: What are your current obsessions? LD: I’m currently obsessed with my baby! Also, I would say that I’m obsessed with Instagram, Pineapples, my new collection of Lucite tray patterns, and my new collection of paintings.
AHIA: What color could you not live without? LD: This is a tough one for me. When asked what my favorite color is, I usually say: “Color!” But if I had to pick a few, my artwork always has some shade of orangey-coral, pink, and turquoise. I truly can’t pick a favorite color though.
AHIA: Tell us about why you make what you make: a history, timeline or some sort of list. LD: I am obsessed with bright, fresh, and sunny colors. Color is the center of all of my work. I love coming up with unique color-ways for paintings/patterns and turning that into a piece of art that can be incorporated in someone’s home or place of business. I started out several years ago designing custom wedding invitations and stationery when I was living in Chicago. Eventually, I was able to hone in on what artwork and patterns I loved. Next, I signed up for Surtex (a trade show in NYC) and was able to land several licensing contracts through doing so. After working with such great companies over the past few years, I wanted to be able to provide people a way to get my paintings and patterns directly from the artist. That eventually led me to developing my website and selling prints, patterns, and the Lucite trays that I do today! I love collaborating with other artists and companies, and am always looking for new fun and interesting things to do with my artwork.
AHIA: What is your greatest achievement or goal for your brand? LD: Recently, I’ve had some amazing opportunities and I still have to pinch myself about them. A shoe that I designed for Bucketfeet was picked up by Nordstrom, both in-stores and online. Also, a collection of my paintings can be found in HomeGoods stores across country. The best thing about both of these opportunities was that I was able to put my name on both of the products!
AHIA: What is your go-to for a quick burst of inspiration? LD: As long as the weather is nice and sunny, there is no stopping me! But, if it’s one of the dreary winter days, I love just playing around with watercolors and inks, it helps me stay loose and create unique color-ways that I eventually use in paintings or patterns. I try to stay away from the internet when I need inspiration so I can truly let my own creativity flow.
AHIA: Which of your tools is most important for your work? Describe it, how long you’ve had it, etc. LD: I could not live without my Bamboo Wacum tablet. It’s basically a digital sketchbook that I can use in Illustrator and Photoshop. It gives my designs an expressionistic and hand-drawn look because they are..just digitally! I’ve had it for three years and it has changed the overall look of my patterns quite significantly.
AHIA: What makes your workspace, studio, etc. uniquely yours? LD: Aside from the bouncy chair for my infant and the dog bed that are both at my side, I have an amazing worktable/storage unit my husband built for me. The top lifts up and I put all my messy paints and artwork inside. Having enough table space to spread out and create on is very important for a studio. Also, my studio is here at home and that is very important to me so I can be with my little baby!
AHIA: To an aspiring artisan, what would you say is the most important part of doing creative work? LD: To an aspiring artist, I would simply say to be original and make several pieces to show the range of your style. Just having a few pieces won’t convey what you’re trying to do. A collection should be eight to 10 pieces, whether it’s photography, paintings, or illustrations. The more you have the better people can relate. I think quote by an unknown author says it best..”Be yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.”
AHIA: How does your lifestyle support your work? LD: I would say that I’m a fun, colorful, vibrant, and happy person and that my artwork is a reflection of that.
AHIA: What do you want your customers to know about you and your work? LD: I put so much passion and energy into every piece that I do, and I want to share that with as many people out there as I can. I am constantly producing new collections of artwork, prints, and patterns with the hopes that I can continue to expand and grow, so I can bring color AHIA: Within the field of your work, who is your greatest inspiration/influence/role model, etc? LD: Growing up in Florida, it’s impossible not to mention Lilly Pulitzer and her whimsical patterns as a huge influence on my work. Her patterns and artwork are easily recognizable and I really hope that will be the case with my art one day! A more current artist/designer is Lulu deKwiatkowski–LuLu DK–she is definitely a role model to me. She has amazing work in both the art and design industry. She creates amazing collages and paintings which influence her fabric and textile lines. Her work also has a beachy-sunny vibe that I am always drawn to.
Thank you, Laura! And as a bonus for you, today, Laura is giving away a 12″x12″ Lucite tray! To enter: go and “Like” the Laura Dro Designs Facebook page, then “Like” the At Home in Arkansas Facebook page and let us know you’ve done so by leaving a comment below! A winner will be selected at random on next Wednesday, October 8th, at 4pm, so be sure to check back to see if you won. Best of luck! [This giveaway is now closed: And the winner is….Katie Grant Holley! Katie–To claim your prize email our Online Content Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org CONGRATS! And thanks to everyone who entered.]