Meet Dinara Mirtalipova, the talented self-taught artist behind our new Sakroots Enchanted Forest print! Raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dinara is inspired by nature walks, Soviet Uzbek folklore, and trips to museums and libraries. Her appreciation for all things happy, colorful and poetic translates into artwork that is woven top-to-bottom with floral motifs, cozy creatures and stunning hand lettering.
Now at home in snowy northern Ohio, she uses a wide range of materials and tools. Whether it's a bouquet of flowers, a mythical creature or a gypsy parade, Dinara's eye for rich, saturated color and detail informs the artwork, patterns and illustrations she creates for books, fabric designs, greeting cards, home goods and even wrapping paper.
What was your inspiration for Enchanted Forest print?
The Enchanted Forest collection emerged as a tribute to wildlife and nature. Here in Ohio, where we currently live, we have many beautiful national parks. When taking a walk in these parks you return home a new person. I believe in the power of trees, there's something mysterious and magical about them, it's almost as if they have an invisible force which renews energy. So yes, Enchanted Forest is about wildlife, the beauty of forest surroundings and its inhabitants. Florals have influenced my art for years, I gladly used a generous variety when creating this pattern.
What inspires your art in general?
Inspiration is like sunlight - it finds its way from all sorts of corners and fills up the messy attic in your brain. I enjoy nature and walking in the woods, history, cultures, and folklore from around the world, fairytales and all things magical, mythical creatures, the list goes on. Sometimes an idea visits me when I least expect to find it, so I try carrying a little sketchbook in my purse at all times.
Was being an artist your dream? Were you artistic as a child?
Growing up I was sort of artsy, I enjoyed doodling in the back pages of my textbooks, but I never studied art professionally. Art was more like my comfort zone, it was my way of relaxing, something very personal and private. I viewed it more as a hobby that people do in their leisure time after they come home from their day job. But only after I grew up and graduated from the field of computer science, I realized I couldn't stop painting. To my surprise, I began receiving commissions to draw and design for people and companies. And after my client list grew I decided it was time to concentrate on art professionally.
How and when did you begin as a professional artist?
For a while, I worked as an in-house designer at a greeting card company. After my little daughter was born I made a decision to leave my full-time job and stay home with my child. I was busy all day taking care of my baby, but at night when everyone was asleep I enjoyed painting for myself as a way to relax. That's how I discovered and developed my current art style. Painting after painting, I began receiving inquiries to illustrate books and invitations to collaborate with amazing brands. Today my daughter is in grade two and I have completely reshaped my profession.
What is your purpose when creating a piece of art?
Art communicates emotions, it can tell stories and paint a mood. I feel my art has a sense of nostalgia, it's folkloric and musical. When I paint my stories, I like them to communicate positive energy, to be bright and colorful, to bring joy and to spread joy.
Do you have any causes that you are active in helping support?
I love children, I believe every child on Earth deserves to be treated with love and care and never suffer. Health, food, shelter, education, love and friendship are all important components in every child's life. I know I alone can't rescue everybody, but whenever possible I do support charities that contribute to helping children in need.
When creating your artwork, do you have a process?
Yes, my day begins early in the morning after my daughter leaves for school. I brew a good cup of hot tea or coffee before I begin working on my projects. My professional process typically involves pencil sketches, painting, and scanning. There are also times when I paint just for myself, sort of like relaxation. Usually, that happens late at night when there's no disruption, I like listening to a favorite tune while I'm painting. In those times I prefer painting without any agenda or theme in mind - just straight on paper without a pencil. I compare this experience to reading a book or watching a good film, where you have no idea what is going to happen at the very end.
If you weren’t creating art, what would you be doing for a living?
It's hard to imagine my life without art in it. I think I would still be gravitating towards arts and crafts. For example, I look at my mom who worked as a journalist during the day, but at night she enjoyed embroidery and knitting. Besides art I have other hobbies - I like photography, pottery, I collect postal stamps and old coins, I like to travel and learn about cultures and languages.
What is the most interesting thing about you that most people do not know?
Maybe that I'm a workaholic. I would say this is not the most ‘interesting’ thing about me, but this is definitely the most truthful thing. I don't think most people realize how much hard work goes behind the pretty and whimsical images that I paint. Only family and very close friends know that it takes a lot of hard work and long hours. The reason why I have this much drive is because I truly love doing what I do.
What’s your favorite music?
My taste in music is so broad - I love classical music, especially the composers from the Romantic Era in classical music, I enjoy all cultural ethnic folkloric songs from around the world, I love jazz and improvisation and I have great appreciation and respect to those who can write, play and sing their own songs.
Does fashion influence your art?
Oh yes, fashion is beautiful! In my interpretation fashion is not a trend though, I see fashion as a tool for personal expression. I applaud craftsmanship, especially when it comes to little details like embroidery, stitchery, knitting, weaving, and embellishments. I admire when people are selective about the fabrics they’re wearing, giving preference to organic and natural materials. My personal wardrobe is just as colorful as my art, full of whimsy. When I commit to buying a dress it’s usually not just for one season but for many years to come - that's the reason why I'm extremely picky about what I add to my closet.
Your favorite neighborhood and restaurant to hang out?
We mostly cook at home but we love little cozy family-owned coffee shops and cafes. In Ohio, where we live, the pace of life is a lot slower, so we get to enjoy those moments at our favorite places. We made a habit of hanging out at our favorite Open Door Café in Hudson, OH. Another favorite place of ours is Chagrin Falls in Chagrin, OH. The town is very small and charming, with antique shops where we look for vintage postcards.
Check out the new Sakroots Enchanted Forest collection, now available on our site!
You can keep up with Dinara and see what she's up to by following her on Instagram, @mirdinara.