A Conversation with... Shandra Smith
Posted by Nicole Yeardley
Canadian artist and surface and pattern designer, Shandra Smith is renowned for her vibrant, abstract patterns. Her collaborations with the interiors, hospitality and fashion industries are well-received and now we have the huge privilege of turning her beautifully bold designs into stunning wall murals.
Living in the mountainous Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Shandra shares her home with her husband and two young children.
“My favourite room is our living room. We helped build our log house in 2002, and we have 22-foot high ceilings in the main living area of the house. It’s an open plan room that opens onto the dining and kitchen areas. It’s quite colourful and a little quirky.”
Shandra continued: “To see one of my murals up in someone’s home would mean a lot! A local hotel in Kelowna, Canada (Hotel Zed) did a massive reno and featured three of my Wallsauce murals. It felt fantastic to walk in and see them taking up the whole wall! It was the first time I'd seen Wallsauce's product up close and I was really impressed by the print quality and colour.”
Primarily self-taught, Shandra gave us a glimpse into her career so far. “When I became a mother 12 years ago, I used art as an escape from the monotony of being a stay-at-home mom, and also used creativity as a means of therapy of coping with some difficulties in my life. So really, creating art is therapeutic for me (cheaper than going to a psychiatrist!)” Shandra jokes. “In 2009, I started by getting these designs printed onto wall art, and was part of a few group shows, then a solo one. Around 2014, I started licensing my designs on to different things - like shoes, lampshades and other fun stuff.”
We asked Shandra about her influences: “I absolutely love American Rex Ray's work - the shapes and colours and depth to them is captivating. Sadly, he died in 2015, and just months before, I saw his original work at a gallery in San Francisco - that was a big thrill for me. I sent him a message saying how much I liked it - and was thrilled to get a ‘thumbs up’ sign back from him! I'm also influenced by Native Canadian art, Mexican folk art and colourful textiles from around the world.”
These influences, in particular, can be seen reflected within her ‘Tribal’ collection of murals. Shandra commented: “I was experimenting with creating patterns from some existing work I had. And the results of some of them looked like tribal art to me. I'm not sure from which tribe though - I guess a tribe that was funky, colourful and eclectic?!”
We went on to ask Shandra about her favourite murals from the collection of 27, she said: “I think it would have to be ‘Fooling Around’ or ‘Shades of Blue & Green’. ‘Fooling Around’ has a playful quality to it, and I love the multicolour aspect of it. To me, ‘Shades of Blue & Green’ has a hypnotic quality to it, and I could stare at it for ages - and get lost in it!”
See Shandra Smith’s collection of vibrant murals and prepare to be mesmerised. Comments are welcome below for your opinions on your favourite print.