Meet our fabulous new collaborator, multi-disciplinary artist Joanna Baker. We serendipitously discovered Joanna's work when searching for an illustrated print with shoes for the Protect My Shoes headquarters. Discovering Joanna's talent then led to a conversation with her about creating a limited-edition collection of shoe stuffers and shoe bags. And the rest is history!
It's been such a joy to work with Joanna on her exclusive print we've lovingly named "Romantic Rose." Showcasing all of our favorite things... glitzy high-heels, bows, roses, and vines, Joanna created a design that is unlike any pattern we've had up to this point.
After many years of working in the fashion industry, after attending the famed Parsons for fashion design, Joanna took a leap of faith to pursue her own art business full-time. Since then, her line of products has grown, including an exciting foray into wallpaper and fabrics, not to mention shoe stuffers and shoe bags. :) We are beyond thrilled to feature Joanna as our latest inspiring female trailblazer.
What is your favorite quote or life motto?
“You will figure it out.” This was my mantra on the day I quit my corporate design job to pursue my art business full-time and it still holds true today. You don’t need to know how to do everything before you start. Just take it day-by-day and you will figure it out along the way!
Tell us a bit about you.
I am an artist and illustrator living in Somerville, New Jersey with my husband and our two cats, June & Lola. After living in Manhattan for thirteen years, we recently moved to a house with more space an hour outside of the city. I now work out of my home studio overlooking our backyard garden.
My fashion design background and life in New York City greatly influence my work. I’m a multi-disciplinary artist and create using brush markers, ink, colored pencil, watercolor, and acrylics on a variety of surfaces. I enjoy capturing life’s delightful, everyday details and transforming them into giftable paper & home goods.
After seven years working as a full-time illustrator, I discovered the joy in sharing my creative process with others. I now teach online illustration courses in addition to hosting an illustration membership, The Bountiful Artist.
When I’m not creating, you can find me tending to my English garden roses, sipping an iced Chai latte (no matter the season), searching thrift stores for hidden gems and watching costume dramas for all the beautiful clothes.
When did you discover your artistic talents?
I’ve always loved making things and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My parents encouraged me from an early age and I decided to pursue art as an undergraduate before moving to New York City and studying fashion design at Parsons.
What inspires you as a creator?
I take a lot of inspiration from my fashion design background and my time spent living in the city. But more recently, I’ve been inspired by vintage dishware, our backyard garden, and my growing collection of David Austin roses.
What is it that you love most about what you do?
As an artist and small business owner, I wear many hats – from creator, photographer, and social media manager to product packager, web designer, and online art teacher. I get to utilize every single skill I have and learn so many new ones along the way. While it can be overwhelming at times, it’s also incredibly fulfilling.
You’ve accomplished so much already, but to date, what would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Most recently I’m super proud of my new textile and wallpaper collection! Moving into surface pattern design has been a long term goal of mine and I’m excited to finally have my first collection of patterns out in the world – including the Romantic Rose print we created for our collaboration!
What are some future goals that you have for your brand?
I’d love to continue growing my textile and wallpaper line and collaborate with interior designers to see my patterns installed in beautiful spaces. Illustrating a book is also on my bucket list of things I think would be fun to do someday.
What is one fact that most wouldn’t know about you?
My summer job in high school was working at a farm stand for a local orchard and I absolutely loved it. I have such fond memories working there and get very nostalgic during apple cider season.
If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you’d be doing?
Something creative for sure – I’ve been really into interiors lately while decorating our first home and think it would be such a fun job helping others design spaces they love. I can watch home tours on YouTube for hours – Homeworthy and Quintessence are two of my favorites. In another life, my dream job would be designing costumes for the ballet.
For aspiring artists who want to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, what is one piece of advice you’d share based on your experience?
Oh goodness, there are so many things! I think my best advice is to do what you can to reduce the pressure on your art in the beginning. Whether that’s saving up more money than you need to before quitting your day job or taking on some freelance work in the early years – find ways to protect your art from the burden of solely supporting you in the beginning. This will allow some time to really figure out who you are as an artist and discover what it is you want to create before layering on the pressure of making a living. Slow growth is good growth!
Now let’s talk fashion! How would you describe your personal style?
My style is classic and comfortable, I prefer things that feel effortless and will stand the test of time. That being said – I do gravitate towards feminine details and floral prints.
Who’s your celebrity style crush?
As far as red carpet style goes – I’m always on the lookout for Regina King and Blake Lively – they never disappoint and give such amazing sketch inspiration! But for everyday style, I like following @AnnaWPage and @MaryOrton on Instagram.
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re pressed for time?
A floral dress, flat sandals, and statement sunnies are my go-to in a pinch.
What’s your fashion or beauty indulgence?
I’ve been really into skincare lately and have enjoyed adding extra steps to my daily routine – Biossance is my current favorite.
Favorite shoe style?
Even though I love sketching sky-high heels, I never wear them! You’ll always find me in flats. =)
Which cocktail best describes your personality?
I’m not sure if it describes my personality per se but I’ll never say no to a piña colada!
If you could have dinner with three special guests, who would they be?
My late grandmother Janet who never met a creative project she didn’t like, Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, portraitist to Marie Antoinette, and Taylor Swift – I have so many questions and there would be so many stories!
Follow Joanna on her creative journey!
Instagram & Threads: @JoannaBaker