ARTIST INTERVIEW: Stevie Howell
Painter, photographer and printmaker, Stevie Howell loves many mediums. But it’s her role as textile designer that has her layering all three to give her patterns a distinct twist. Merging handcraft with digital techniques, this native San Franciscan experiments with color and shapes, contrasts and layers. The result is simultaneously organic and otherworldly.
A former student of both the Glasgow School of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Stevie’s aesthetic is modern and sublime. Whether she is designing wallpaper or loungewear, Stevie strives to create colorful pieces that connect with people and bring joy to their lives. From a trip to Brazil to the weeds behind her studio, she lets life’s big and not-so-big moments inspire her to make the ordinary a little less so.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I had just finished a grad program in painting and was working simultaneously with photography, printmaking and painting. I began reading about textiles, messing around in the studio, and instantly feel in love with the process of making patterns. It’s very similar to painting—each print I create is still fine art based—but I found that with textiles I could interact with a much broader audience. I loved that my work could provide comfort and happiness, and could make someone feel good.
What are your artistic goals for the future? Next week, or next year, or 20 years from now?
The thing that excites me the most about textile design is the huge range of possible applications. I don’t feel constrained to one product. I try to bring a unique beauty, luxury, and comfort to everything I create. I’m looking forward to adding new products for home and working with new collaborators.
What are your most important artistic tools?
My hands, paintbrushes, coffee and photoshop.
Do you have a daily working routine? What is it like?
Mornings are for meetings. Afternoons are for emails. And nights are for painting.
How does practicing your art or craft impact your life or way of thinking?
One of my favorite things that happens when painting is that it changes the way you see light. After a few hours of focused studio work, I begin noticing extra colors in the world. It’s something small, but shifts my attention to the present.
Where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
Anywhere new. Could be as elaborate as traveling across the world or as simple as taking a new street on my way home. Just like hitting the reset button.
Did you have any artists in your family, mentors, or other important creative influences?
Gregory Parkinson has been an incredible mentor to me. He is the color master and a textile genius.
What do you hope to share with those who purchase your art and bring it intimately into their Lives?
My gratitude for choosing something that I created! It’s a huge honor to see people enjoying and wearing something from my collection.
I also hope that there is a shared value with regard to our environmental and social impact. The apparel industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, so it has always been important for me to do everything as sustainably as possible. We use natural fabrics, non-toxic inks, natural dyes, and each piece is made in limited quantity so their is no waste. I hope this is something that my customer also takes pride in.