Artist’s Name: Stephanie Ruggeri
Artist’s Age: 22 years
Artform: Visual and Media Arts/ Interior Design
Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?
I knew I wanted to be an interior designer when I was around eight years old. I used to watch all the HGTV house design and decorating shows with my Mom growing up. From those shows, I started creating little paper and popsicle stick houses which soon became a hobby of mine until I was around ten. But it was only in high school when I started delving into the techniques and history of fine arts. When I found myself skipping class and spending time in the art room during my lunch breaks to paint and draw; I realized my passion for the arts. My interest in architecture and design was later rekindled during lectures on Michelangelo, DaVinci and Bernini‘s historical works and I took off a year after graduating high school to complete my portfolio for Sheridan’s interior design degree program
Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?
Whenever anyone tries to pursue the arts as a career, I feel skepticism is inevitable in our society. Originally, when I would tell my teachers, family, and friends that I wanted to study interior design and/or pursue a fine arts degree, I would often get the responses: “why don’t you do architecture?”, “you like reading; what about studying English?”, and the worst one, “you won’t go anywhere with a degree like that”.
How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?
I’ve always felt strongly about doing what feels right for myself in the present. There may come a day where I decide to pursue architecture or another profession but that’s in the future and as of today, I am very happy with my decision to pursue interior design. Fortunately for me, those who felt skeptical in the past are beginning to understand my decision and most importantly, my passion. Today, I respond to skepticism with confidence because while not everyone may believe in you or your strengths; you are the only person who needs to believe in you to begin your success story.
What are some of the fears that you face even today?
While I respond to skepticism well these days, criticism isn’t quite so easy. An artist is their own worst critic but when another person echoes these critical remarks; it feels all the more difficult to come back from.
How do you deal with those fears?
I’m continuously working on these fears by challenging myself to trust in my abilities and draw confidence from my past achievements. It takes work, time and patience to reach your goals and for me, that means keeping my head down and pushing through until the results begin to show.
How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?
Whenever a vision or artistic direction pops into my head, I let my thoughts run wild through my imagination. I don’t filter my ideas at all until it comes time to define the purpose for what I am creating. Whether it be a painting, simple sketch or a full-scale design project, I go full throttle from the start until I have nothing left to add. Some ideas turn out better than others, but at the end of the day, I simply enjoy the process of creating something – whatever it may turn out to be.
What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your artform has the power to benefit society?
In my mind, the role of the artist is not only a creator but also, a visionary. Artists have a unique ability to translate their thoughts into a visual representation and this can take many different forms across a variety of fields. From highly expressive fine artistry to innovative design models geared towards improving our daily lives, artists have the potential to impact society both emotionally and physically depending on the direction of their art form.
Given my pursuit of interior design, my career path will be involved with the evolution of interior spaces and how the built environment will take shape in future developments. I also have a great interest in biophilic design and the promotion of wellness in the built environment so for me, I will be working towards contributing my ideas to the development of healthier building design and construction methods and/or practices.
Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?
Currently, I find myself resonating with one of my most recent drawings called “Forte” which started as a brief sketch inspired by several abnormally shaped trees in a park near my house. The tree limbs contorted organically and mimicked the movements of contemporary ballet and figure skating. At the time, I was working on my portfolio submission to Sheridan College for Interior Design and felt strongly that when one recognizes the potential of their innate strengths, there’s a sense of freedom and excitement felt in this newfound expression.
Forte illustrates a woman embracing her grounding talents and experiencing her budding passion through dance. I feel this captures my exploration and excitement for Interior Design over the last few years as I’m still learning about the various applications and design considerations used within the industry.
What elements of your career bring you the most stress?
I am a perfectionist. Friends and family often say I cause my own stress by constantly aiming for perfection and raising the bar on my expectations for myself with each project. But that’s just how I work towards bettering myself and mastering new things – its part of my process!
What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?
The best advice I could give to others is simply to follow your passion wherever it leads. If you have a talent or strength or intense passion for something – use it to your advantage and expand on your natural gifts. We each have something important to contribute to our ever evolving world so no matter what your skill set holds, nurture your gifts to their full potential and it will lead to true happiness and success. Trust yourself.
“while not everyone may believe in you or your strengths; you are the only person who needs to believe in you to begin your success story.”
~ Stephanie Ruggeri