This week on our Artisan Spotlight we are featuring native-North Carolinian artist + designer, Windy O’Connor. Windy’s work is always fun and makes us smile! Her fabric and wall coverings are filled with color + pattern and infuse an artistic touch to any room. Not only does Windy design fabulous textiles, her original art is spectacular, too!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Eastern NC near Fort Bragg. I never realized how much growing up in such a diverse community had affected my life until I became an adult. I had friends from all over the globe and many military brats as well. I so appreciate the exposure to so many cultures as a young girl. It truly broadened my view of the world.
I have one sister who is very creative and also an artist. My mother is an artist as well. However, I grew up singing and performing in plays at the Fayetteville Little Theatre. I loved musical theatre and all of the lessons I learned about putting yourself out there and being willing to fail. I was the kid who signed up for everything! I wanted to do it all and I am so grateful to my parents for supporting all of my extra curricular activities!
Fast forward, I am a happy wife, proud mother of two very creative and independent young adults and I feel like the luckiest girl I know. I try my best to live one day at a time while cherishing each moment juggling a home, family, friends and a business.
Who are your biggest influences?
The world inspires me daily. My faith inspires and guides my work. I also love studying art and art history. There is so much to learn!
I have always been obsessed with the work of Cy Twombley, Picasso, Joan Mitchel, Basquiet and Willem De Kooning. Seeing and studying their works in person is a soul moving experience. I am also obsessed with Kim Simonsson’s Moss Children and everything about Damien Hirst.
We recently featured a Southern Studio designed chair for the Green Chair Project seen here upholstered in Windy’s Mossy Blues fabric.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue your artistic dream?
I realized that I wanted to paint for the rest of my life when I started taking painting classes and workshops. My brain was doing full on gymnastics! It is an amazing feeling and I love the fact that there is no end to learning and creating.
Describe your creative process.
It is difficult to describe my process because I don’t really think about it. It is more of an action than thought. I am an intuitive painter and I wake up with my brain full of ideas and never enough hours to create everything that I want make. So, part of my process is scheduling what I want to create along with commissions for clients. Then, I get to work.
This guest bath in our Southern Living Inspired Home featured the Metal Stars wall covering and is adjacent to the bedroom below with Metal Stars window treatments and a bolster to complete the neutral bed.
What’s your favorite medium/material to work with and why?
My favorite medium and material to work with currently is paper. It takes more time to sculpt paper into objects and create dimension but, I love the journey.
What current trend are you following?
I follow design trends but, not necessarily art trends. I love unusual art as a collector. I tend to like things that I have never seen before or a new way of investigating a subject matter or idea. I love that traditional homes are becoming vogue again. I am also swooning over the quiet contemporary rooms that seem to be on trend.
What is your proudest accomplishment as an artisan?
I have had some amazing moments as an artist. Owning my own company has been an amazing accomplishment and one that I never dreamed accomplishing. One of the highlights of my career is certainly being chosen as the Mint Museum artist for the Visionary Women’s luncheon last year. I cried tears of joy when I received that call. The entire event was so stunning! I had the privilege of creating art for the invitations, the table coverings and art for the front of the Mint Museum. That was one of the most special days of my life and certainly the highlight of my career so far. I feel so blessed each and every day to have opportunities like that one and to create for a living.