Before we launched our Planters and Plant Stands, our team was chatting about where we wanted to photograph these brand new items from Cambodia. It wasn’t long before Casa Joshua Tree came to mind with it’s one-of-a-kind on brand style that would complement our Planters and Plant Stands. We called on our friend Lindsay, the owner of the Airbnb, and couldn’t have been more amazed at her beautiful space when we got there. She was incredibly kind and generous to let us overturn her home for the day to snap away! In the process, we got to chat with her about her inspiration behind Casa Joshua Tree, her work as an artist, and her best advice for fellow aspiring creatives. It was so good, we just had to share with you!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, education, how you got to where you are today.
I am an artist & designer, and I moved to Joshua Tree in 2015 seeking wide open space, an affordable cost of living, and time to explore my creativity. I created Casa Joshua Tree to be a versatile, simple, relaxing creative space inspired by the desert landscape. It’s my home, but also an Airbnb, my studio, and where I host workshops and retreats. I am focusing my time on painting and building my studio practice, but professionally I do freelance design & illustration for the stationery, gift, and home décor industries. I have a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University.
Are you a California local?
I am originally from Gainesville, FL. I spent 10 years in Los Angeles before moving to Joshua Tree. I’ve been here in Joshua Tree for about 1.5 years.
What is your background in art and what mediums do you use?
I have a degree in Illustration, and in school I learned very traditional methods for oils, acrylics, and watercolor. Over the years I have gravitated towards watercolor because of its portability and ease of use. My current painting work is almost exclusively watercolor, and I have been exploring abstraction and color. I also digitally paint using photoshop in my professional illustrations.
How do you continue to develop your craft, personally and professionally?
Pushing myself to paint or draw as much as possible, even when I’m tired and don’t feel like it. I’m not always successful on that (sometimes binge watching Netflix wins) but I’m trying. The more work I make, the closer and deeper I get to my creative center. Professionally, being involved with other entrepreneurs is so inspiring and beneficial. I recently attended the Bossladies Magazine worksesh series and it was amazing! I felt a lot of momentum from that inspiring group of women.
Tell us a little bit about your workshops and what inspired you to start them!
I have always dreamed of having a space for collaborative learning. I love teaching and mentoring, so it seemed a natural progression to host workshops at Casa Joshua Tree. I teach watercolor, but I also host visiting artists who teach on topics I’m interested in. They’re all day affairs – which gives people a change to talk, relax, ask questions – long form workshops allows for deep connection and understanding. I have been blown away by the students and what they create. The next workshop is Indigo with Graham Keegan on Saturday May 6, 2017.
What do you think is the importance of honing in on creativity?
Creativity is important for everyone. I love the saying, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Creative practice expands all areas of life and you can train your brain! The benefits are astounding and substantial. I see it affirmed in the “grown-up” coloring book trend – using your brain and hands to make marks and use color can relax and open you up. I don’t think it matters if you identify as an artist or not, you can help your mental health by practicing visual art. Personally, a good day for me includes time to doodle, sketch, or paint without any purpose other than enjoying the process. I feel refreshed when I take time to make art.
What are your thoughts on creating an atmosphere that inspires you to create?
First and foremost, making an atmosphere for yourself to create is important, even if you have small space or limited means. It takes some thought, planning, and dedication but it’s worth it. I love having a dedicated spot where you keep your supplies, a music playlist ready, a candle, and a comfy place to sit.
Do you think retreating for inspiration is important?
I do think “retreating” is important, although you can define that in many ways. Giving yourself space and time to create is necessary to grow as an artist. If you can, getting away to a beautiful place is really inspiring and amazing, but you can’t retreat every day. Taking 30 minutes at your little corner desk in the living room to write in a journal while your kid is napping is a form of retreat too.
What do you think artisans, makers, and creatives offer to the world?
Everything. This is a hard question to answer because it’s so big. Every product you use, every structure you live in, every story you watch, read, hear, come from creatives. It’s pretty magical!
You offer creative residency at Casa Joshua Tree! Can you tell us a bit about that?
It is my mission to support creatives however I can, so the residency is my way of doing that. Visual artists and writers are invited to apply, and I chose one to receive a week at Casa Joshua Tree to work, free of charge.
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature is my biggest inspiration, both desert and elsewhere. I love painting in the outdoors. Beyond that, I love looking at what other artists have done (or are doing). Of late, which you can see directly in my work, is an obsession with Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and work.
What are pieces of advice that you would give to spring artists and creatives?
Start Now. I did a lot of thinking and hoping and wishing, but until I started taking action, even tiny steps, nothing really happened for me. It’s really easy for me to get stuck in the planning stage waiting for “the time to be right” or to “be ready” but I wish someone had told me to just start! You’re never ready, you have to do it and move forward.
For those that create as a hobby, do you have any advice for them as they seek to get better or need to make space for creating a priority?
Make as much as you can! And then refine it. Ask yourself what you like about it, and why you like it, relentlessly. And you’ll see your work evolve, and grow, in ways you never expected.