When it comes to the big world of little people, things don’t get much cooler than anything the marvelous husband and wife duo Roxana Marjorie Barrus and Jesse Barrus of Roxy Marj put their mits on. They take such care in their work – from conceptual design through to manufacturing and delivery - When you purchase anything from their range you really feel like you have received an important heirloom made especially for your own child or grandchild...
We are honoured to have the team from Roxy Marj create an original piece of artwork for our 'My Happy Place' Art Exhibition in support of the Dandelion Support Network. We caught up with the gang to hear more about what inspired this rad piece!
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration comes from kids, animals and being out in nature… Kids & animals because they are always present, naturally creative and fun. The perfect mindset to always be in I think, and nature because I find myself always being content when I am in the outdoors exploring, hiking, camping, going for walks, laying in a hammock… my mind is able to process things in a healthy happy way and for whatever reason, this gives me confidence in my ideas, and I love feeling that way.
How did you develop your signature style?
My signature style really came into fruition when I started college… it wasn’t until having our weekly critiques that myself and my classmates started pointing out consistent styles in each other’s work. Apparently I was drawn to the mix of rustic, modern, and graphic detailing, with little hints of primary colours, but mostly red.
A huge hand to helping me develop my signature style has come from some of my favourite artists/illustrators from the early 1900’s to the 50/60’s - Erte, Wanda Gag, Ilonka Karasz, the Parin d’aulaire’s, Calder, O’keeffe, just to name a few. I’ve tried to take my favourite things about their work and use them as inspiration to create my own personal style. If they all were alive today, I feel like they would be able to see the influence, and hopefully would be happy that I honoured their influence in a respectful and honest way.
What do you love most about being an artist?
Well, honestly I think everyone is an artist. So I don’t feel any kind of superiority or uniqueness here… I just feel glad and lucky that somehow I believed in myself to keep creating… I liked my work enough when I was younger to keep making it and that is what has led me to where I am now. I have never met a child that isn’t an artist… it would be crazy amazing if each kid had the support or personal belief in his or her own work to never stop… this world would be totally enchanting!
What do find most rewarding about using your art for a good cause?
I wear my heart on my sleeve… and I am a very sensitive person. If someone is crying to me in tears of joy or sadness, I can’t help it, I will cry with them. The best thing ever about putting my art out there, is seeing how it effects people. The connection they have with my artwork and products is always amazing and it gets me either teary eye’d or crying weekly!
I often receive the sweetest emails from people all over the world with stories relating to things I’ve created, it’s so touching, and it just makes me want to continue creating… so for that I am so grateful.
What was your favourite thing to do as a kid?
I loved to explore and just be outside. I am 1 of 7 kids [second youngest] and my parents kind of let us roam wherever we wanted… looking back, I find it totally strange, but we lived next to fields and orchards, so it naturally became a place for all us neighbourhood kids to let our imaginations run wild. Making forts were a large priority, something that I still love to do as a 34 year old woman! HA! Weird? lol…naaaw….
I can’t forget to mention that when I was inside, rearranging the bedroom with my little sister was always a huge thrill. We felt so grown up and independent having total control over our bedroom style… to separate the bunkbeds or not separate the bunk beds, rearranging pictures on the walls, styling the little tchotchkes on the dresser, organising the toy shelf just so... many tough decisions, but such fun ones!
What is your 'happy place’?
My happy place is wherever my husband Jesse and our dog Harley are. With that said, I’m a MAJOR homebody… this often gets the best of me whenever we are away from home, no matter the place. But my home will always be my happy place… and right now that happens to be in the mountains in Oregon, I love living in our little “cabin" so much, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Check out more of Roxy Marj's stunning artwork over on her website.