We had the good fortune of connecting with Stefanie Landes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stefanie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
That is a good question. It may sound cliche, but for as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be an artist. Art and creating is something that makes me happy and something that I am passionate about. It is my form of meditation. I can devote all of my time to it or none at all, and it is always there for me when I come back like an old friend. A few years ago, I was going through some childhood memories and came across a poster I made when I was eight years old. It was an assignment that was meant to be “all about me”. Underneath the “3 wishes” category was my number one wish: to be an Artist. I didn’t know how, I just knew it was what I spent all of my time doing and knew I wanted nothing else. When I was in art school, I majored in Graphic Design. While there, I took advantage of the various other classes offered and bounced around the different departments. After I graduated, I started to see how others advanced their work, and how they fuel their passion and present it to the world. I realized that, at a base level, creativity brings joy. And I started to see that my art can bring others as much joy as it does for me to create. That was the spark that propelled me forward. Why did I start Tiny Horse Studio? It was a natural progression of growth for me to spread my work. I strive to live truthfully, and I want my work to show that. I aim to use my pieces to spread joy the way that I know how: with colors, happiness and authenticity.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create because I exist – I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It is what I do to celebrate in the good times, and what comforts me and drowns my sorrows in the bad times. Art has no judgement and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. I am still learning to navigate the “professional” space. I learn from others who have come before me, and try to model my business on the successes. I know it will not be easy, but that is okay. I do not want to do anything else. I have learned to make what brings me joy. Also, I have learned it is not a detriment to work in different mediums. For the longest time, I thought that I needed to stick to one thing to really make a name for myself. I have since thrown that notion to the curb, and just created with what interests me in the moment and what makes me happy. By doing that, I have noticed common themes that pop up. I love color. I value authenticity and transparency. I use my emotions and the circumstances I am going through and translate that in my art. Depressed? I create and use that to keep afloat. Excited? Nervous? I channel that energy into my art. What do I want people to know about me? I want my love for the process to come through, and to show that all are welcome. I hope that people can recognize pieces of themselves in my art, and I would love nothing more than for my creations to bring them joy.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a fun question. Personally, I am an individual that enjoys the quiet things in life, so it would look different to some people’s ideas. I would take them on a lot of visits to nature. Perhaps we would go see the Grand Canyon and camp in the area. We would visit Sedona and Flagstaff for sure. I enjoy spending time in nature and would want to show them the beauty that Arizona offers. I also enjoy baking and cooking in my spare time, so the visit would be full of good eats. We would spend the time creating new recipes and taking trips to the supermarket. We would then relax and unwind while eating what we created, drinking tea and catching up. If we felt like getting out of the house, I would take them to the Phoenix Art Museum and then the Heard Museum. If we needed art supplies I would take them to Arizona Art Supply – they are a great local spot with a lot of great options. For coffee and a spot of pastries, I would take them to Dark Hall Coffee. For food, I would take them to Reathrey Sekong: a local restaurant offering delicious Cambodian food made with love. I would also take them to various thrift stores in the area, because nothing beats the joy of finding a hidden gem.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many! To start, I am lucky to have such supportive parents. I remember whiling away the days in the basement at my little red and white Fisher Price table doodling on the old printer paper – the type that came as one long sheet and the edges had to be torn along the perforations. So, thanks mom and dad. And to my grandmothers – each was creative in their own ways. My maternal grandmother showed me what crafting was. I would tag along to her craft shows. She took me to AC Moore with her, she showed me how to knit, crochet, paint, and embroider (and so many more things) My grandfather built her a shed in their front yard and she set up a roadside business selling her wares. My paternal grandmother was always creating home goods and baking. We would paint together and then we would make a delicious cherry or blueberry pie. I treasure the times I have spent with them and whole-heartedly believe I would not be where I am today without them. Thank you Grammy and Mommom. I’d like to thank my partner as well. Over the years, he has been my sounding board and my rock, my cheerleader, my person I show immediately when I finish a project, and the person that helps to ground me when my head is too far in the clouds. I thank you. Tyler School of Art also played such an important role in shaping me into who I am today. The instructors, the friends, the opportunities…thank you. I also am lucky to draw inspiration from two wonderful cities, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Completely different of course, but each pulse with their own vibrations and beauty. Lastly, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank my friends over the years. Some in seasons, some for reasons, and some that stayed. To friends in Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, to my brother in Utah, and friends near and far. I’d also like to thank people in my past where things didn’t work out. Those experiences have taught me what I don’t want, and they are what got me here. There are so many more, and I only hope that I can show them how much they mean to me. Thank you.
Other: personal IG: https://www.instagram.com/stlanders