From her studio space in New Zealand, overlooking fields and farmland, Samalah Sandbrook (aka MMMedia) creates colorful surface prints. Experimenting with everything from dragon scales to construction equipment, Samalah’s designs cover quite a range. Meet Samalah, our latest Featured Artist, today on the blog.
Where do you live?
I live in Rangitikei, New Zealand. It’s a beautiful rural area, largely farming and small country towns.
Does where you live influence your art?
Not precisely, in the sense that I don’t create a lot of rural inspired designs, or specifically include farm animals etc. But in the larger sense that I get to experience the colours of the changing seasons, the grandeur of nature, and the freshness of brisk country air, then yes! Being outdoors and immersed in nature fuels my creativity, and helps me feel ready to get back into the office and create new designs.
Tell us about your studio/workspace.
Like a lot of designers I’m sure, I don’t have a dedicated room for my creative space, so it’s a shared family office. But I have my corner of it decked out with colourful designs, and things that inspire me, and I’m fortunate enough to have a large window looking right out onto farmland.
When did you begin designing surface prints? What inspired you to get started?
It was relatively recently; I think about 3 years ago. I have been involved in various creative pursuits – website design & development, graphic design, illustration and painting – for a long while, but a lot of that was computer based, and I was looking for a way to enjoy tangible results from my work. The idea of creating a physical end product that you could use to decorate a home or workspace, or even weave into garments was very appealing, so I began specifically designing for surface prints.
What would you love to see your print sewn into?
I guess it depends on the print, but I’d love for some of my construction machinery fabrics to be sewn into a quilt or bedcover for a little boy somewhere who loved heavy machinery. It’s always great to make a child smile!
Where do you find inspiration?
This is actually a hard one to pin down. I find that as I go through life I observe various things, whether it’s a pattern, texture, colour combination or imagery. Then when I’m energised and ready to create, I draw from those mental pin-boards as it were, and see what combinations come together. Speaking of pin-boards, I also really enjoy Pinterest, as it’s such a visual collection of beautiful things to be inspired by.
What is your go-to colour combination?
I’ve noticed that I definitely gravitate towards teals and blues. And a recent favourite is turquoise and pink! Certainly I tend towards brighter and bolder combinations, and find muted palettes harder to work with.
Do you have a signature design style? How would you describe it?
This is something which is still in formulation! Sometimes I work directly with vector shapes and paths, sometimes I will incorporate painted elements, sometimes I will digitally paint and take motifs and designs and develop them further. I really enjoy using a wide variety of different techniques, and find the experimentation process very enjoyable. Something I am working on is creating with more of a “collection” mindset, and not simply working on standalone designs. This should bring some consistency into my design style over time.
What advice do you have for creatives just getting started?
Patience and practice are what you are going to need to succeed! Unless a designer is exceptionally talented, it just takes a lot of time faithfully pursuing your art or craft to build momentum. Whether that’s sales or publicity, or simply a body of work that you are proud of. Everyone starts out creating work that they are dissatisfied with, and the internet makes it way too easy to compare your work with much more advanced artists and become discouraged. The only way to improve is to keep creating, refine, study great artists, and try to add a new skill with every project or piece.
How has WeaveUp helped you sell your work and break into new markets?
As a newcomer to WeaveUp, I haven’t yet sold anything in this exciting marketplace! However it has allowed my work to be viewed by a larger body of commercial stylists, designers and decorators; and I hope to see them begin enjoying my designs as I continue to fill out my range of designs for this market.
Has the WeaveUp Customizer helped streamline the creation of colorways and collections of your designs?
I’m fairly new to WeaveUp, so a lot of my designs were pre-existing, but the WeaveUp Customizer has introduced a new way of designing to me, in limiting colours and encouraging the creation of designs which translate well into other colourways.