Friday, June 3, 2011

Who Is Art: Sloe Gin Fizz

Nicole Ray of sloe gin fizz brings colorful whimsy and a hint of retro to the world of illustrations, prints and paper goods. Her subjects range from the simple to the scientific, but somehow always evoke in me a feeling of cheerful memories.

Read on about Nicole and sloe gin fizz below…

First, I have to know what the meaning behind your name is.

The name comes the song "Portland, Oregon" by Loretta Lynn and Jack White. It's one of my all-time favorites and how could you not love a line like this: "Well sloe gin fizz works mighty fast when you drink it by the pitcher and not by the glass…" I'd like to have a similar effect on people with my art work.

You have such a variety of subjects in your work. What is it that provides cohesion? What is the connection between rubber boots and the “Opening Doors” illustration, for instance.

I think a focus on line work is the common thread running through my work. I draw inspiration from so many different sources and in so many different ways, but it is always about capturing the essence of the design in a simple way through line quality. I never know where or when inspiration will strike -- it seems to come like a flood in those moments when I am open to it. The Wellington boot drawing, for example, was an act of desperation as my very favorite pair of boots was quickly disintegrating. I wanted to capture them before it was too late. On the other end of the spectrum, the "Opening Doors" illustration leapt out at me while exploring the work of others: I write a monthly feature I write called "Eye Candy" for the blog of a local craft space. ( In the first month I present a variety of images related to a theme. The following month I return with a drawing inspired by those images. This is how "Opening Doors" happened. 

Opening Doors

My Favorite Yellow Boot

I get the sense that many of your illustrations are like little memories. What in your life has inspired your art?

People and travel. I got the travel bug earlier on and my favorite part about it is the people you meet along the way. I've met so many people following exactly the path they want--or extremely unconventional life paths -- rather than what is expected. I find this endlessly inspiring and encouraging and it is what has helped me choose to make art and be an artist -- and to take a new direction when the whim dictates.

You seem to have a bright and bold color palette, which I love. Are you drawn to the bright and bold in all areas of your life?

Hmmm, I think that was probably more true of my younger self. I've had some truly wonderful adventures so far, but find my tastes are mellowing in an extremely pleasing way. I certainly enjoy the bright and bold but also find pleasure in the calm and constant. I've been known to dive in and throw caution to the wind just for the sake of doing and movement, but in recent years I think I revel in the everyday a bit more. 

Masked Birds Sticker Set

Under the Sea

I mentioned the fact that your colors are bright and fun, but many of your subjects are simple, everyday objects that other artists might find uninspiring. Somehow you are able to take a French Press and a Stanley Thermos and draw me into your art. What about these objects attracts you and make you want to give them life?

So many everyday objects are so well-considered and well-designed without us ever thinking about it. I like to really look at them and as I draw I inevitablly see and discover new details I hadn't noticed. It helps me really see. 

French Press

Classic Stanley Thermos

It’s always interesting to hear about an artist’s background. How long have you been creating art? Where does your artistic nature come from?

I have been drawing since I was a little kid, but it's been about 2 1/2 years that I have been focusing on it as a business. My mother is convinced that my artistic nature is based purely in the fact that she didn't let me watch television as a child, but I also grew up in a town that really appreciated and supported art and music in the schools and greater community. 

On the Breeze

More ways to connect with the fabulous Nicole and sloe gin fizz...


For the complete Who Is Art series, click here or let us know if your work has a story to tell!

Much (Petal) Love,

PetalPetal designs and VintageChild:Modern


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