Sonora was the first artist we commissioned for a DESEDA scarf design collaboration. We felt it was a good omen when her warm intelligence and generous creativity was evident from the start. The end result, our Secret Garden scarf, is a dynamic, colorful design bursting with nature-inspired elements -- a signature aspect of Sonora’s artistic work. In this DESEDA Artist Collective (DearCo) Interview she shares more on her roots, her ongoing creative journey and what moves her. Let’s Make Ties and get to know Sonora…Read on!
DESEDA Artist Collective (DearCo) Artist: Sonora Mindling-Werling aka Sonora MindWerl
Current Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Hometown: Oaxaca, MEX / Ashland, OR
DESEDA Scarf Design: Secret Garden
Please introduce yourself and share what you do!
My name is Sonora MindWerl! I grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico until I was 10, then moved to gorgeous southern Oregon. I am absolutely in love with traveling and I run my own multifaceted freelance visual arts business, from hand painting one of a kind denim jackets and selling my own shirt designs on my page, MindWerl, to creating brand content and collaborating with companies (Like DESEDA!) with my art and photography. I’m happiest when I’ve got a new road to wander down, a bag of art supplies, a few snacks, and some friends to share them with.
What was your path to becoming a creative?
I think that I started on the path to becoming a creative before my earliest memories. My parents are talented artists although neither of them ended up pursuing arts, so our house was always full of art supplies. Growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico also let me be surrounded by a richness of color and culture which definitely filtered into the deep levels of my psyche. I think the love for making beautiful things has been with me since I first could hold a crayon.
How do you describe your work? And, what do you hope others take away from your work?
When I move through the world, I am in a semi-constant state of awe and wonder. I think that I have retained a childlike way of appreciating beauty in all things -- from the grand to the mundane -- and my art is my own way of reciprocating that back into the world. It is my way of returning some of the delight and joy that I get from observing things existing around me.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I don’t necessarily have a specific motivation for creating, I simply don’t have an alternative. The thought of NOT making things is terrible to me. The medium doesn’t matter, I move between painting, drawing, photography, video, modeling, collage, writing, poetry -- but as long as I am letting that flow of creative energy out in some way I feel happy, and when I go into creative slumps, as happens to all artists, I feel the deep and subtle sense of longing for the inspiration to come back.
Where do you find your most significant inspiration?
Nature and travel are my biggest inspirations. I have been to 22 countries and on countless road, camping, and backpacking trips, and on all of them my eyes and mind are constantly wide open receiving and storing tiny bits of inspiration so that they might filter back out later, from the color palettes of Colombian towns to botanical details, my brain is always searching for new and interesting things to add to its vast reserve of inspiration.
What are the plans for the next phase of your artistic and/or professional journey?
I have been working as a freelance artist since 2016, alternating between living in the states and long bouts of traveling. The next phase of both my professional and artistic journey will be very interesting, as over the summer my boyfriend and I are planning on building out a van and joining the movement of people traveling and working on the move, vanlifeing. Our goal is to drive it down to Costa Rica, and I will be running my freelance and art products in my shop, MindWerl, from the road!
What is/are the signature element(s) of your personal style?
Botanical, feminine, symbolism
What music is on heavy rotation for you right now?
Nora Jones, the Avett Brothers, CloZee
What is the favorite place you’ve visited?
There’s no way I can choose just one. Top 3: Iceland, New Zealand, Colombia
What is the last thing that really caught your eye or got stuck in your head?
The book Landmarks, by Robert Macfarlane
What are your favorite websites and/or Instagram profiles?
@silkymerman, @raychponygold, @allegraroseb
What’s on your current wish list? (Can be any things, places or experiences!)
iPad Pro and pencil to go with the Procreate App!
What’s the best nugget of advice you’ve received and would like to share with others?
“Take only what you can carry, who you were will be waiting for you when you return”
And, we’d love to wrap up with the two signature questions that we refer to as the “Double Knot” 😊:
Please share an example of a time in your life where you said, “why not” and took on a big risk, challenge or leap of faith!
It was the end of 2016 during my gap year after high school, and I had spent 6 months in Portland working full time in retail, followed by 8 weeks traveling mostly solo through Europe. I was hiking with my dear friend Andrew Kearns, talking about whether or not I was actually excited to go to college, and he turned to me and said, “You know, you don’t HAVE to go.” THAT was the moment when I really clearly saw the scope of possibilities that my life had to offer, and that was the moment that started me on the path to fully, intentionally pursuing my creative work!
Please share why you “made ties” with DESEDA and teamed up to create an original scarf design with us!
I love the attention to detail, the quality, the feel, the sense of nostalgia that DESEDA brings to their scarfs! It was my honor to get to make art for one. I love wearable art and what better way to brighten up someone’s outfit and day.
Note: all photos courtesy of @sonoratmw