Like many FK success stories, artist Daniella of For Me By Dee began her creative journey in the corporate advertising world before fate led her down the path of selling prints and cards featuring her own beautiful illustrations. Read on to discover more about Dee’s story and what inspired her process.
How would you describe your style of artwork and how has this evolved?
The composition of my artwork is clean and simplistic featuring white backgrounds to bring to life the character of the individual animals. I try to reflect the unique character of each animal by focusing on the detail and texture of different features such as fur, eyes, etc which has developed over time.
What is your background and what lead you to where you are today?
I have always had a passion for art and design. I completed a Bachelor in Communication & Design in 2009, which led to five years experience in the corporate advertising world. Since I can remember I have wanted to run my own business…I guess I just never knew what or how? In late 2013 I started a series of coaching sessions, which inspired me to start doing what I loved, painting and creating! By the end of my coaching sessions, my team at my corporate job was made redundant. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to begin my own business and For Me By Dee was created.
Who are you favourite artists and what inspires your work?
Miranda Skoczek – The layering, colour and energy she captures in each of her pieces is just breathtaking. I really appreciate her use and combination of acrylic and oil on canvas. Sandra Eterovic’ – Other than being one of the most humble creatives I know, she is just bursting with talent! Her work is quirky, fun and pushes the boundaries of the imagination. I just love it!
The challenge that comes with painting each animal inspires me. No two animals are the same. There may be similarities in texture and colour however, each animal is unique and creates a unique and individual painting experience for me. Capturing and conveying the animals unique character is something I really like to focus on. I have found this to be one of the things people comment on or even mimic when they see my range for the first time. I’ve seen a few head tilts when customers see Berty the Budgie. I love seeing the animals gradually come to life. I often capture progress by taking a few snaps and share them with family and friends who really connect with the animal as it develops. It’s as though I am giving these animals a life through another medium!
What materials and mediums do you enjoy working with and exploring? What other areas would you like to explore or expand into?
Water colour on paper is my medium of choice. I love the forgiving nature of water colour, the short time it needs to dry and the amount of detail you can achieve through layering. I would love to explore acrylic on larger scale canvas works. Sometimes the size of paper can be limiting so the thought of a canvas as large as the heart desires is very exciting!
How has your creative style developed and what is your working process?
My painting technique and process has been developed through my own trial and error and experimentation. I was never taught to paint, never attended art school to learn the correct techniques and until recently only drew. This is probably why it comes as a surprise to most people that I use watercolour to create my artwork. I guess I use it in an unconventional way. I paint, as I would draw, beginning lightly and gradually adding lots of layers with less water as I build depth in the work.
What do you love most about being an artist, and what are some challenges?
The thing I love most about being an artist is using my hands to create my artwork. This is one of the reasons I chose to venture away from the graphic design industry and reconnect with art through painting. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes through creating artwork by hand. I also love the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for myself. Being able to decide what to paint and when to paint it rather than following a specific brief and deadline is liberating and empowering! I am quite a social person and really enjoy working in a team so the transition to working alone at home has been quite challenging at times. I try and compensate for this by frequently attending markets on weekends where I get my social fix and can interact with fellow creatives and supportive customers.
What has been your favourite project or exhibition and why?
My debut stall at the Autumn/Winter Finders Keepers Market in Melbourne 2014 was a definite highlight and one of my favourite exhibitions to date. It was always a dream of mine to have my own market stall and when this dream was realised at one of the biggest markets in Melbourne, I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Having a stall amongst some of my creative idols was an incredible feeling. I think I smiled for two days straight; my face was sore for a week!
What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?
My biggest dream is to keep this dream alive. Creating and growing For Me By Dee has been the most satisfying experience I have had and to be able to continue doing what I love would be an absolute privilege! Future aspirations would include collaborations with fellow creatives, For Me By Dee products to be available internationally and maybe even a children’s book to inspire children to embrace their inner creativity.