Ep 22 Featured Image Podcast

Art, Life, and Design – Bonnie Christine – Ep 22  

March 23, 2022


There is one attribute all thriving creatives I meet have in common. It has everything to do with their “come from”, a term I learned from my work with human development coach Scott Picard. It highlights where one’s art and inspiration are derived. In artists who have established tremendous momentum, I see they are all creating for themselves first which leads to their art being highly personal, and as a result, known, collected and celebrated in the culture. 

My guest today is Bonnie Christine. A highly successful surface designer and artist. She is a perfect example of someone who has totally nailed her “come from” early in her development. Bonnie’s art, life, and business are all elegantly tied together with the most beautiful thread of creativity. 

I believe this conversation will be helpful for anyone interested in making a more vibrant, creativity-centered life. So join me now, as Bonnie and I dive not only into the world of surface design but life design.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Exploring Bonnie’s art journey [2:27]
  • Where Bonnie draws her inspiration from [6:37]
  • The role of story in Bonnie’s designs [10:54]
  • Juggling commercial viability and artistic creativity and the logistics of the fabric design industry [15:19]
  • “Can art be too beautiful?” and playing with tone in your work  [23:31]
  • Cultivating sensitivity and breakthrough in your art practice [30:41]
  • How Bonnie’s art-making has helped her in business [36:52]

All we can do is try

One of the first things I noticed about Bonnie is that she has such an artful way of living. Perhaps it goes back to her childhood. From a very young age, Bonnie was immersed in creativity. She always knew that no matter where her path in life led her, it would lead her to create. After attending business school, she returned home and started working at her mother’s fabric store. Surrounded by all the colors and patterns of the gorgeous materials around her, Bonnie was overcome by the realization that someone was making an entire career out of designing this stuff…so why not her? It was the perfect blend of creativity and entrepreneurship that checked all of her boxes for the future.

There was just one problem: Bonnie had no idea how to get started. She didn’t have any formal training or connections to point her in the right direction. And at the time, art school would have been a logistical impossibility for her and her new husband. So the only thing she could do was TRY. A creative fire was kindled inside of her so she decided to learn how to be a fabric designer on her own. Bonnie committed to doing at least one thing every day to inch her towards the goal of becoming a successful artist. She became obsessed with achieving her dream and never skipped a day. Two years of hard work, long nights, and a lot of lessons later, Bonnie was able to get her designs licensed with the number one company of her choice.

There are no shortcuts

It took Bonnie a long time to figure out all of the different ways she could create art. She brings her art to life by starting on paper. Pencil, gouache paint, and watercolors are her chosen tools during the simplistic beginning stages of creating a design. This is the stage where Bonnie feels so many artists want to rush! It took her a long time to figure out all of the different ways she could create art, but many want to find the quickest path possible to developing a signature style for their work. However, our art is refined by consistently doing the work. There are no shortcuts. It just takes exploring all of the different approaches to creating art and finding what works best for your voice.

A work of heart

So much of art is about connection…to ourselves and to the people who enjoy the work. There is nothing quite like sharing your perspective and having others deeply resonate with it. This is how Bonnie approaches her art-making. She creates what she desires to see come alive in the world. Rather than trying to make intentionally marketable designs, Bonnie creates from the heart in hopes that someone else will see it and love it too. The result is beautiful artwork that people can’t seem to get enough of, myself included.

Bonnie’s biggest inspiration for her art comes from story. She loves weaving a narrative into her work that remains consistent throughout an entire collection. A fantastic example of this is her collection “The Wild Forgotten”. When the children’s dictionary her son used for school decided to remove nature words like dandelion and blueberry to make room for tech words like broadband and gigabyte, Bonnie’s heart was wrenched in disbelief. She was deeply saddened that all of these really beautiful nature words would be absent from the vocabulary of so many children. So she designed a series of sixteen prints that represent each word removed. She also includes a story for each one to reignite the use of these words in our homes. What a beautiful representation of how intimately art is woven into the fabric of her life. For more information on Bonnie and her art, listen to this episode or visit the links below!

Reclaimed words from “The Wild Forgotten”:

  • Acorn⁣
  • Adder⁣
  • Almond⁣
  • Apricot⁣
  • Ash⁣
  • Beaver⁣⁣
  • Blackberry⁣
  • Bloom⁣
  • Bluebell⁣
  • Bramble⁣
  • Brook⁣
  • Buttercup⁣
  • Canary⁣
  • Catkin⁣⁣
  • Chestnut⁣
  • Clover

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bonnie Christine

Connect with Nicholas Wilton


Subscribe to Art2Life on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

new image for vlog sidebar