Interview with Danielle Romero
Featured Maker: Danielle Romero
July 10, 2015
Grace Gulley: When people ask you what you 'do', how do you answer?
Danielle Romero: That's a good one. I'll admit that I am quite uncomfortable with that question when asked. And I usually want to respond with all the main things that I do outside of what I do to make a living. Like garden, paint, play with my cat, etc.. Because a big part of me feels like people shouldn't care what other people do to make money, but more what they do that makes them, them.
However, I feel like when I do say all those things, the question still gets thrown back at me as to what I do for a living. And the basic answer to that is that I am a secretary/treasurer at an Elementary school.
GG: I think I share in that sentiment. In regards to that default question of 'what do you do' generally being a tad non-inclusive. As humans we are so much more than the thing we do that puts bread (or what have you) on the table. You are Danielle, you garden, paint, love your cat, work in education, and so on and so on! And a fab painter at that! On that subject, how did you get started with painting?
DR: Yes, I agree. I think as a whole our society has forgotten about that aspect of our species.
I began painting last year around this time actually as simply a creative outlet for the somewhat mundane 9-5 office position I found myself in. I really just needed something that would allow me to think creatively and express myself without any ties to it. I had that before with my edible garden, and was very passionate about it. But I had recently moved very far from my job and my free time to garden really got cut into due to my commute.
I actually can't even remember what lead me to experiment with painting... I think it was just one of those things I had always had some interest in since I was young, and I like to learn new things, and it seems accessible and doable for the time I had.
GG: The amount of progression you have had with it only being one year of time since first picking up a paintbrush is incredible. Thank goodness for your mundane job being the avenue that allowed your natural talent to shine. Your gardening love clearly shows through as well in your work. What else do you find yourself inspired by?
DR: Haha oh goodness, I'm quite flattered, thank you. And yes, I consider myself very blessed to have the kind of job that lead me to the place I am today. I am a spiritual person, and I had been praying for an answer to the career/life situation I was in. I believe God has a path for me, and I'm sure I've gone off in other directions many times in my life, but I believe He always leads one back to the path he has chosen through either closing or opening certain "doors". Since this journey started for me a year ago, I have had so many doors open for me to continue if I so chose to. And it is obviously without saying you need to put in your part and do the work, but if it's meant to be, that work will be rewarded eventually. Anyway, sorry! Completely went off on a tangent!
GG: Oh don't apologize! Honest and impassioned answers always appreciated!
DR: I am mainly inspired by nature. All forms of nature. I can zoom out and look at an entire landscape and be just as inspired focusing in on the very tiny details of nature. However, music also really inspires me. But it inspires more my moods than anything I think. And films as well.
Well, also architecture has played a big role in some of my paintings
In the sense that I imagine paintings being paired with certain pieces of furniture or a certain decor..
GG: Oh I like that! Maybe you should do add on 'recommended room vibes' services!
DR: Oooh I should! Haha. I think I get that part from my mom. She's an interior designer..
GG: I think people would appreciate your opinion. Add tastemaker to your 'what do I do's'.
DR: Well I'd be a little unsure of myself but with some practice.
GG: And we all see how well you become with practice. So this is something I, along with many others, struggle with, how do you manage to balance full-time work with painting and preparing to start up a business??
DR: Thanks! Hmm, this one is definitely difficult for me to achieve I will say, I am trying to train myself to take advantage of every opportunity to get something done and progress forward. But it's no where near easy for me. You see I am a serious procrastinator by nature..
With actual painting, I have found that I am most productive if I wait the entire week and only paint on weekends. Week days are simply too full of daily responsibilities and I haven't been able to enjoy painting sessions to their fullest during that time, so to me that's not worth it.
The business aspect of this project is even more difficult for me to accomplish because it is not an area that I enjoy much. So, I try and take care of building my business little by little. For example, if I have some free time at work or during my lunch hour, I'll get on the computer and get a few things done that I have likely been putting off for too long. I also have come to the realization that I don't have to build this business overnight. I think that was one of my biggest mistakes with the past two business ventures I attempted. I keep telling myself that I have a good paying job that fortunately allows me the mind and time to do this in the side and still enjoy it.
I feel the pull to build the business and I know that is something I want to strive for, but I want to do it right this time.
GG: And there is nothing wrong with taking it slow. Plus you are obviously still progressing and moving in a forward direction! Where do you ultimately see yourself going with Flora + Form?
DR: This is the question that always plagues me. You know the one in school where they ask you where you want to see yourself in five years? Haha I always sprinted in the other direction from that question...But I do feel that part of the reason I have been lost for so long is because I've never sat down and truly tried to answer that. So, where do I see Flora and Form ending up? I think I can say with complete honesty that this is where I dream of it going...I would love Flora and Form to be a stable (It would be my primary source of income) online shop first and foremost, where I would have my artwork for sale, but also have ceramics available; I don't know if it's because I also make ceramics, but I am drawn to pairing the two.. Once things online were stable, I would really love to have a studio outside of my home that would double as a small shop. Where again my art and ceramics would be for sale but this time I would also definitely hope to be able to successfully sell plants as well! Just a cute little place where I can spend my time working but also bring in some extra income.I haven't work out the numbers or requirements for something like that to be accomplished, haha that's the part where it's all just a little dream/fantasy! But I can say that at this point right now, that is where I would like to end up. And preferably near a forest hahaha!
GG: But what an amazing dream! I had no idea you did ceramics! But I could easily picture all of this! And we are all rooting for you! Last question (for now) and totally switching gears, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be??
DR: Yes! I also began ceramics last year shortly after I became hooked on painting, and then I became hooked on ceramics! But believe me when I tell you that painting come much more easily to me than ceramics! So I'm trying to practice more before I include that in my "portfolio" haha...Oh my goodness and I thought the other questions were difficult! Hahah I love food! I really have to think about this, give me a minute...Ok, I am not much of a meat lover, but I do really enjoy a good quality cheeseburger. If I could only eat cheeseburgers for the rest of my life would it be safe to say that I could separate the ingredients in that burger and make different combinations or could I only eat the entire cheeseburger? I am definitely taking this question too seriously haha..
GG: Haha I think I'm letting you have this one just for being so strategic! Cheeseburger or individual components! And that was supposed to be the fun easy question. Thank you Danielle I can't wait to come shop at your space for my plants, pots and paintings. I'll also bring all the makings of a cheeseburger!
To see more of Danielle's work visit here!