Today is the official launch day for a new collaboration between artist Danielle Romero of Flora + Form and Morgan Wagstaff (that's me!) of Two Fold Clothing. Danielle and I have been insta-friends since a little after I launched Two Fold and I have been a big fan of Danielle's work for years, admiring it from afar. More than just her work, I've always been intrigued by her sense of self and individuality. Her humble nature comes across in her demeanor and how she portrays herself and her work on social media.
I have such admiration for other mediums of art. Personally, I am not a great painter or sketch artist. While my strong-suits don't lie in certain mediums, I have dabbled in quite a few other forms of creating and know the time, effort and skill it takes to create a minimal painting, simple white ceramic piece, etc. Danielle's refined aesthetic speaks to her ability to pair down and hone in on only the necessities while keeping her abstract, subtle form, color and texture.
I always find it so interesting to learn more about an artist's process and lifestyle, so I caught up with Danielle and asked her a few questions.
In your own words, tell us what it is you do.
I like to say that what I do is simply create. Many like to label me an artist (and I have given myself this label many times as well) but for some reason I haven't yet become fully comfortable with that designation haha.
Where are you from and how does that play into who you are today and the art you create?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Miami, Florida. My parents, and more so my dad, constantly had my brother and I outdoors, exploring in nature, so I believe that is where I get that love and fascination for our natural world from.
What does beauty look like to you?
It's difficult to say exactly; I find so many things beautiful, and beauty in so many things. I honestly think there is beauty in every single facet of life, one just has to perceive it as so.
What are three things that are inspiring you right now?
Trees, although they always inspire me so I don't know if that counts; perhaps more specifically the phase trees in my area are in at the moment. Almost all of them are blooming with flowers and seeds. Birds are also really inspiring me right now. I have been making it a practice to listen intently to them every morning on my walks. I'd say the third thing very much inspiring me at the moment is ancient architecture. Architecture in general inspires me greatly in that I am fascinated by the ways humans separate themselves from nature in the form of shelters and in the modern age, cities. I am equally intrigued by how architecture has the ability to be used to create a shelter (separation) from nature, while at the same time connecting to it through specific design elements.
Do you have a morning ritual?
I definitely go through phases of rituals, but for the past few months I have been going on daily walks in the morning. I love this and would like to continue this ritual for as long as I can.
Who or what are you listening to right now?
Lately, I have been glued to Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. Also the band Khruangbin.
What does your ideal Sunday look like?
I actually have quite a few ideal Sundays, but the simplest and most common I actually achieve is - a morning walk followed by coffee (decaf). Then spending some time in my garden/yard just observing, a quick hour or two of painting or creating after that. Making a nice lunch and then putting on my swimsuit and laying out on the grass to get a bit of sun mid afternoon. If it is cool enough out, which currently it is definitely not, one of my absolute favorite things is to make a campfire in the early evening. My boyfriend and I will have a cocktail or two by the fire before making dinner and then go back to the fire after eating. Finally, I love to end the night with a good movie.
Do you have a favorite film or group of films? What is it you love so much about that film(s)?
While I don't really have a favorite film because I just love too many, one film I can honestly watch anytime is The Big Lebowski. I don't know exactly what I love so much about it, perhaps just the energy of the film. I find it quite funny, and easy to watch...
Explain the creative process behind a new collection/design. Where do you start?
I typically always begin with a theme or overall direction. From there I go into sketching and color palettes; although sometimes a color palette is the theme I begin with. I feel I need a lot of time to sit and almost observe the theme during this time. Then when I feel a particular sketch or two is ready, or if the deadline is fast approaching haha, I jump into the final work.
What was your inspiration behind the "bloom" design you created for this project?
I was inspired by the femininity of spring and summer; mainly the way so many flowers in my area were blooming and waking up to a new growth in the next phase of their life. wanted that to translate into the print and ultimately into the person who wears it.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Don't worry so much.
What is one thing you think the world needs more of?
Personal internal reflection and growth. Hopefully this will lead people to having more empathy which I think is another thing the world really needs more of.
Is there anyone (any type of artist) that their work has always inspired you?
I know she is a popular choice, but Georgia O'Keefe really inspires me. Although not as much for her actual body of work, but more so her life and lifestyle. I have very reclusive tendencies and I feel a big need to be alone often. I love the idea of living at Georgia's Ghost Ranch in the middle of that breathtaking landscape, exploring in nature daily and creating as a result of that environment.
What do you think of success? Do you think you've achieved it?
My definition of success has changed many times over my life. Currently, I would say that success for me would be achieving a somewhat specific lifestyle I am envisioning. With that said, I am also becoming conscious to the idea that true success is achieving internal peace and contentment despite the lifestyle, environment, or situation I am in. And no, while I believe I am making good progress, I have not achieved neither the lifestyle I envision nor the internal peace haha.
What drives you to keep going?
I've attempted to define this myself, but I cannot. My drive to keep going comes from a place within that I have not yet become very familiar with. I am working on tuning in to that place, but it is a bit difficult for me. All I know for sure is that it is there, in the depths of my being.
In tough times (politically, personally, etc.) a lot of artists run to their art to express themselves. Do you find yourself doing the same? What is most therapeutic for you?
When I go through anything emotionally difficult I immediately turn to nature. I find myself needing to be alone and specifically outdoors more often than usual during these times in order to think clearly, reflect, and simply cope. This results in more creation for me though as inspiration is almost always ignited through my time spent in nature.
What is happiness to you?
I don't feel I can actually answer this question yet. I am learning that for me personally, like success, the truth about happiness lies deep within myself in a place of origin. I have visited this place extremely briefly through different moments in my life; the longest time spent, and strongest felt moments have been when I am completely mentally and spiritually immersed in nature. Those moments have produced extreme and other worldly feelings of ecstasy. These short moments are the only times I can say I've been absolutely happy.
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