You know just a normal Tuesday night with me scrolling endlessly through Instagram at dogs, blogs, and Sam Hunt and I come account @iamlaurael and I was automatically drawn into a deep hole of me drooling over every single thing she has ever posted. Her feed is full of blues and yellows and city backgrounds accompanied by women and their pups and sometimes their leopards. Every single time she posts something I find myself looking at it for about 5 minutes straight, her work is just purely mesmerizing. I had the chance to get two portraits done by one of my new favorites and obsessed is an understatement. We also got to chat with her about who she got started, her pets, and what is coming for Stellar Villa!
How did you get started with your business?
I had always dreamed of being an artist and running my own business, ever since I was a young girl. It was at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, surprisingly enough, that my dream would come true. At the start of the outbreak, I put a fundraiser together for a local animal shelter that was in need of funds as donations had dried up. I gave away custom pet illustrations for free while accepting optional donations from those who could afford it. Over the course of three weeks, I drew over 1,200 illustrations and raised almost $12,000. News stations and online publications caught wind of my fundraising story and it went viral. This also put my artwork in front of thousands of people and many of them loved what they saw. Even after the fundraiser ended the requests for my artwork continued to pour in and so I launched my business to meet the demand. Although I got my start drawing pets, I have since expanded to offer a wide selection of prints to decorate your home.
Tell us about your pet(s)!
Ah, my baby Lenny! And Norman! Norman is a 9-year-old black labrador that is our very first family dog. He still lives with my mom and brother in Ireland. Norman has the sweetest personality; truly one of the mildest, kindest labs I have ever seen – although I might be a bit biased!
Lenny is also a lab who is slightly more wild and goofy compared to Norman. Lenny is still a baby and next month we are going to celebrate his second birthday. Once the pandemic is over and we can travel again, I’m hoping to bring Lenny over to Ireland so my two boys can finally meet. That would be my dream; Lenny and Norman, two of my dogs together!
What and who influences your work?
I always loved the minimalist line drawings of Pablo Picasso. That’s what influenced me to develop my line art style. I remember when I first saw his work I was instantly mesmerized. I loved how from a single brushstroke he created one continuous line to illustrate his subjects.
While half of me loves minimalistic line drawings, the other half is into full color, full background storytelling pieces. This illustration style of mine was highly influenced by an artist named Pascal Campion. I love how his pieces tell a story using specific colors, lights, and shadows. When I need inspiration or even when I want to get lost in art, I always look him up.
What is/are your favorite pet brands and why?
While there are so many good pet brands out there, I really have been loving the Mutt Cloth Bandanas. I love that they are created with incredible precision and all the fabrics that are being used are so classy and unique. Every time Lenny and Norman wear their bandanas they look so dapper!
What do you have planned for your company in 2021?
The new year brings so many new goals and plans. One of my main goals for this year is to expand my print selection and have a wonderful variety for customers to choose from. My goal is to make Stellar Villa the first place where people look for art to decorate their homes.
How can people support you and your business? Where can people find you (website, social handles, stores)?