Documenting Travel through Art with Mandy Arroyo

Documenting Travel through Art with Mandy Arroyo

Posted by Denik Team on

If you love the colors in the sands of the desert or the feeling of the fresh air in the mountains.. you'll love Mandy Arroyo.

Denik x Mandy Arroyo is largely characterized by joyful color palettes and designs inspired by Mandy’s hiking and backpacking trips throughout the Western U.S, from the Cascade Mountains to the Sonoran Desert.

Read more about Mandy, check out her Instagram, or shop her collection here!

1. What has driven you to be an artist?

I was a creative kid growing up who loved all things DIY, and was always encouraged by myfamily to try out every new medium I took interest in. I went on to study graphic design in college, and developed a regular painting practice when I kept a watercolor journal while studying design in Copenhagen. Since then, I’ve been driven to make art primarily as a way to document my travels. I feel more connected to where I am and able to remember what I see and how I feel when I take the time to interpret it through art.

2. What is your favorite medium to work with?

My favorite medium is watercolor - it is not usually the medium I use for final works, but I love to use it in my sketchbook, especially when I’m painting on the go. I feel the most free when I’m painting in watercolor - free to explore, be messy, and make mistakes.

3. Do you have a favorite piece? A piece that brought you the most joy to create?

My favorite piece is a large scale acrylic painting that I made shortly after moving to Phoenix from Seattle in 2020. I’d never experienced the diverse desert landscape before, and was amazed at how lush and full of life it felt. I created a few sketches of a view from the summit of a hike, and knew I wanted to create something really large and expressive. When I started the final painting on a large wood panel, I got into a flow state where I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing, and let my hands move around adding paint to the panel. I love the sense of movement and bright, contrasting colors that fill the landscape - I think it really captures the sense of awe I felt at how full of life the desert was.

4. How do you get through a creative block?

Changing projects or changing scenery! When I’m not feeling inspired to draw, I’ll look for another type of creative outlet, like sewing or cooking. It is helpful to have steps to follow and just get lost in the meditative process of making something with my hands - and I’ll often come up with new ideas in the process. Getting outside as often as possible also keeps me creatively inspired. I live just a few minutes aways from a huge nature preserve, and I love taking walks there with my dog Luna in the early morning or at sunset. I’ll always notice something new - a change in light or shadow, plants blossoming and birds getting excited with the change of seasons - and I leave feeling more energized and ready to create

5. What is your biggest dream/goal as an artist?

My dream is to build a sustainable, full-time creative business that supports myself & my family, gives back to organizations I care about, and creates community with other creative people. I would love to one day create a maker space for local creatives to share resources and show their work, or organize creative retreats for people to come together and get inspired out in nature.

6. Is there any particular advice that has fueled your creative journey?

Advice from lettering artist Lauren Hom to dive into passion projects has been a big fuel for my creative journey. While I’ve been working full time as a graphic designer since finishing college, my passion projects in my free time have led me to explore and develop a portfolio of art and illustration work in my own style. The designs for my notebook collection with Denik were created as part of a passion project during 2020 to 2021 - I wanted to create a pattern collection inspired by my backpacking adventures in the Pacific Northwest. I’m so excited to see this passion project come to life in this way!

7. Anything else you want us to know?

A bit more about the designs in our notebook collection: One of my favorite places in the world is Summerland, a meadow located along part of the Wonderland trail at Mt. Rainier National Park. This place is full of all the beauty, magic, and wonder that makes the Pacific Northwest so special. For me, it was also one of the first big hikes I went on with my brother and dad, which got me really excited about exploring the outdoors as a teenager. This patten collection is an ode to alpine meadows in the Pacific Northwest. It is soft, joyful, nostalgic and full of life. I chose a few of my favorite designs from the collection, titled “Wonderland”, to include on these notebook covers- the rest of the collection can be explored on my portfolio website, here

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