Monday, October 27, 2008

Say Hello to Bonnie Dain


Ciao Bonnie! (Normally, I don't say 'ciao' but Bonnie really does live in Rome.)

You have the best life! Apartments in Rome and Seattle, vacations to places like Marrakesh and Amsterdam. You make paintings for a living and your boyfriend plays online poker professionally! I'm so jealous!


How did you get your start in illustration? You briefly went to art school? And then moved to Seattle.

I've been into making art from day one. When I was little I entered every art contest I could find. In high school I was really lucky because we had an excellent art teacher and our school even offered advanced placement art classes. By the time I was a senior I was taking art classes at the local community college for college credit. After I moved to Seattle I took a two year course at SCCC in graphic design, something my high school art teacher was always encouraging us to explore, so I took his advice and gave it a go. I really enjoyed graphic design and print and it seemed to be a way to actually work creatively and also have a career so after that I went to Cornish College of the Arts and got my BA.

licensed by American Greetings

Much of your early work was for Starbucks? How did you transition from working for Starbucks to working for yourself?

I was hired on as a Graphic Designer at Starbucks right out of school. It was a fantastic studio to work in, I truly spent some of the best years of my life (so far) there. The studio was extremely creative. A lot of the designers were also painters or visual artists, some were even musicians. So when a project came along that needed illustrating, they called upon us designers with fine art skills to work on them and it pretty much happened like that. Before I knew it I had an illustration portfolio and that's when I decided to get an illustration rep.

cd cover for Hear Music

I don't remember how you ended up in Rome.

I came to Rome sort of by chance. I moved here with my ex husband who came for a teaching position. He left and I stayed! I have always loved Europe and wanted the experience of living in another country, so in the end it all worked out for the best.

I think I love just about everything I've seen of yours, but I'm especially fond of your maps. Do you have any pieces/subjects that stand out as favorites?

Oh yeah the maps are a lot of fun! Sassy, sexy people, animals, textures, nature, I love all of it.

What things in your daily life influence your illustrations?

Definitely people. I am a constant people watcher and they are so so inspiring, especially here in Rome. You really see all types. But I can be inspired by anything from the colors of the bark on the trees to the weird purse of the lady on the bus, you name it.

You are represented by Lilla Rogers. How did that happen? I think I read on her blog that it's easier to get into Harvard than it is to get picked up by her.

When I decided to find a rep I started shopping around and Lilla Rogers Studio was the perfect fit. I liked the other artists she was representing and the studio is very professional. I've been with them for six years now.

NYC Village Voice

Your clients include LA Times, New York Magazine, Spin, Macy's, NYC Village Voice and American Greetings. Is there a dream company or magazine you'd like to illustrate for?

All the projects are a lot of fun. As far as things I'd like to do? Maybe bigger projects would be fun. For example, Susy Pilgrim Waters, another one of the artists represented by LRS is doing a project with murals for the walls of the NYC public library. Now that would be amazing! Something for the Obama campaign would be cool too.

When are going to get to see you in a gallery? Have you thought about showing in that type of venue?

Hopefully someday soon. Right now I'm working on a series of paintings now based on animals and women's accessories.

Do you have any fun trips planned in the future? (Like say Seattle??)

Well, in last two months I was in New York City, Marrakesh and Barcelona so i'm ready to stay put in Rome for awhile now. But I am planning to go on a Mexican cruise in April with my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary.

We all miss you and you have to come meet Violet!

I miss you too joey!! I can't wait to meet her!

Hugs and kisses, Bonnie.

thanks joey! oxoxo bon


Wendy said...


I love this series! And not just because it's written by one of my best friends and -- 1/3 of the time so far -- about my best friends.

Great, great, grrreat idea!


Lilla Rogers Studio said...

I want to add that Bonnie is a wonderful human being. Also she turned me on to Cram Cream years ago -- that's how cool she is.
Thanks for giving us a great interview.