A CUP OF TEA WITH HELEN GARFIELD @ SWEET WILD DESIGNS
The striking artwork by Helen Garfield of Sweet Wild Designs stands out to me for several reasons, and with collections of nature inspired paintings and canvas artwork, I became drawn to the detail in her designs very quickly. I caught up with Helen to learn all about her art, the background behind SWD and a glance at her new home decor collection.
Tell me about Sweet Wild Designs: How did you start?
I started Sweet Wild Designs after I realised that if I wanted to work in a creative field then I would have to create my own opportunities in which to do so.
I enjoy creating art and have been into drawing and painting from childhood – so naturally I decided become an artist and create an online shop with my art available for sale. It took me a few months really to focus on one particular subject and method, and I still think I’m a bit all over the place. But I think that is part of the journey in becoming an artist, illustrator or any creative.
Why the name Sweet Wild Designs?
I wanted a name that encompassed the elements behind my work which is wildlife, nature, pretty florals, culture and the things we love - as well as art that has a positive message.
Sometimes the natural world and even things in our culture can be wild and other times cute or sweet, so I think that the name reflects that.
How would you describe your Art style?
I would say my paintings often look quite dreamy, with a stylised and illustrative feel. I enjoy using a limited colour palette which adds to the stylised look to my artwork.
I like my paintings to have a grey background, I think it really makes the other colours I use stand out.
When I start a painting and I’m painting the grey – it often gives me a feeling that I’m about to turn a moody atmosphere into something positive, like the changing skies after a storm. Or sometimes I feel the grey represents the background ‘noise’ in our lives, now fading away allowing us to focus on whats right in front of us and allowing us to enjoy it.
With all my artwork I aim to create a joyful experience and with it celebrate the beauty of nature, love and living life. I also have a passion for graphic design and I love incorporating my original paintings into a graphic design or illustration. I like to experiment with my art and use it again – for example as greetings cards, mugs and other items. I think I’ll always be trying to merge painting, graphic design and illustration with my art.
You can create one piece of art/ painting for anyone on the planet... who would it be for and why?
Erm… good question. Maybe Katy Perry – I read somewhere she likes cats!
Do you have a background in Art or is this a passion turned business?
I would say I’m very much a self-taught artist. My last formal education in art was at 16, I got an A for art in my GSCE’s. I was going to carry on and do art as an A-level but on the first day I walked out (and four others did too) after the art teachers speech on her expectations on our commitment to the course. At the time I guess I thought I should focus on the more ‘serious’ subjects I was doing.
Makes me chuckle to look back on that now and its like I’ve gone full circle.
What would be your fave piece of business advice to anyone thinking of creating their own art/ paintings/ prints?
For those wanting to start selling their own artwork, I would say be true to yourself, build a body of work around the one subject that you’re the most passionate about.
This quote by Andy Warhol really sums this up for me, “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
On the business side of things I would advise, try to stay positive as it can be a long journey and always keep learning.
Is there anything that you really want to add to your collection soon?
I usually have several ideas in mind at one time, I let them float around my mind for a while before they come out into a painting!
I think my nature themed art series will always be my main series, however I do have an idea forming for another art series theme I’d like to explore. It focuses more on elements within our culture. If you’re interested - follow, sign-up or just bookmark my site to find out what that might be!
What are your fave pieces for sale right now?
I like Delicate Daydreams, Exploration and Daises.
I absolutely love the "Exploration" print. What inspired it?
The Exploration painting is inspired by curiosity and the beauty found in nature. The original painting is part of my Floral Adventures art series. The series is all about discovery, of both ourselves and of the adventures, thoughts and discoveries made by our favourite animals in nature.
What is next for Sweet Wild Designs?
I plan to create more original paintings, especially some larger pieces. I also want to learn surface pattern design and create patterns with my art for fabric.
In the next two years I’d love to exhibit my original paintings and artwork at an art show.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying my journey so far and look forward to the opportunities the future might bring.