Emblazoned on signs and kitten ear hats around the world two weeks ago, the color pink confirmed itself to be a color of empowerment. For Lizzie Darden, a Jacksonville-based visual artist who has worked with brands ranging from Method Soap to Miu Miu, the power of pink is nothing new. In the Florida State University alum’s tender and aesthetically pleasing work, pink is meant to represent strength while challenging society’s negative stigma of the traditionally feminine color.
Lighthearted yet brilliantly composed, Darden’s art has garnered the attention of almost 90k followers on Instagram. A candy store for the eyes, the pastel enthusiast’s feed is wondrously splendid and defiantly girly. Sweet and delightfully eccentric, much like her aesthetic, meet Lizzie Darden:
How did you get into digital art?
I studied Graphic Design in school and I always thought I wanted to do logo design or illustration, but when I took a photography intro class, I became amazed by all the stuff you can do with photoshop — endless possibilities! I started doing some photoshop mashups just for fun and eventually it developed into this career.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I usually like my work to be clean and simple, letting the object of the photo do all the talking, especially when it’s some sort of pun or visual gag. But lately I’ve been trying to make more “sets” and have some supporting elements in the shot that help tell the story. No matter what, it’s gotta be pastel though.
Can you tell me about the use of pink in your work, or what the color pink means to you?
When I was younger I actually totally hated pink! I refused to wear any shade of it, and I thought even admitting to liking it was too girly and cliche. I think I thought I was more rebellious than I really was!
Now I fully embrace it, as a color and almost a lifestyle. I read somewhere that there’s a “power pink” revolution going on — females taking back the color pink as a symbol of strength and owning your identity, removing the negative stigma and I absolutely love that! To me it definitely represents strength and confidence, like “yeah, I’m girly, and I’ve got girl power!”
I’m a huge fan of your collaboration with Method Home. Can you tell me about your work for their #fearnomess campaign?
Method was the very first brand I collaborated with for social content, and I feel so lucky to have such a great relationship with them. Their social media manager reached out to me about the campaign early last year and I was blown away, but totally excited! Since then I’ve worked with them a few more times and they’re always wonderful because they give me full creative freedom and let me run wild with the shoots.
What helps you feel creative? What sort of atmosphere do you like to work in?
I’m at my most creative when I get to just zone out in my work space with music for hours, messing around with props. My studio room is always a hot mess, but the type of mess where I know where everything is! Haha. It’s extremely pink and filled with art and knick knacks I’ve collected that inspire me. If I’m feeling stuck, though, a quick run usually helps the ideas get flowing again. I like to hop on the treadmill before a big project.
How has social media played a role in expanding your career?
It’s played a major part. I definitely don’t think I’d be where I’m at today without that boost. Most clients that contact me start out with “I found your work on Instagram,” so it has absolutely been a huge component. It has also been great because I’ve gotten to meet fellow creatives all over the world through social media. We share ideas, concerns, we collaborate together; I love it!
Who are some of your favorite Instagram accounts and visual magazines?
I love following other content creators like @violettinder, @mattcrump, @space.ram, and colorful bloggers like @aww.sam, @studiodiy, and @abeautifulmess
Some great visual curators I love are @meetkvell, @refinery29, @jessicavwalsh.
Growing up, who were some of your favorite artists that inspired you? Have they inspire your aesthetic or artistic focus at all?
I had all of Stefan Sagmeister’s books in school and he was my absolute favorite. His typography series is so wild and cool, and I think in some way that pushed me to experiment with unusual subjects and introduce that unexpected, quirky factor.
My other favorite was Dali, and I think that surrealism and weirdness shows through in my art sometimes, or at least I’d like to think it does! Ha!
What are some of your goals and ambitions going forward as an artist in 2017?
I’m still figuring that out as I go, ha! But my main goal for 2017 is to launch a YouTube channel for photoshop tutorials and tips, content like that! I get a lot of questions from people who are just starting out in that field, so I’d love to have that all in one place and easily accessible.
I’d also love to get more kinds of product out there. It’s so exhilarating to see your vision come to life that way, it’s addicting.