Featured Artist (almost) Friday: Andrea Canalito

As Erin and I have both mentioned before, one of the raddest things about running Design Crisis is meeting new peeps.  Despite almost a year in web publication, we still get all weak in the knees when someone sends us an email love letter, especially when that someone is an artist who's work we already know and love.  Recently, Andrea Canalito a mixed-medium artist from Houston, TX contacted us and we were giddy with joy.

Twinkle Twinkle Baby, Mixed Media Installation, 2008

You already know how much I love animal furniture, so when I first came across the Deer Cupcakes (with GOLD!!! cups) I nearly fainted.  I was so excited when Andrea contacted us so I could find out more about her work and what inspires her.  

K: In your original email to Design Crisis, you said you were "hungry for aesthetics," what designers and artists are currently filling your appetite?

AC: I look at a lot of design websites such as design crisis, notcot.orgdesignboom.com, andy altmann and why not associates, and artists like wendy walgate, philip toledano, laurie hogin, elizabeth mcgrath, just to name a very few. 
Below are some shots from a few of the favorites she mentioned:
clockwise from Top Left: Wendy Walgate, philip toledano (psst, you may remember Philip from this post), Laurie Hogin, Elizabeth Mcgrath,
You can certainly see that, like me, Andrea has an affinity for the animal art, I'm liking her more and more!
K: How much do you find that other artists and designers influence your work?  What other inspirations do you have?
AC: Really, I see things everywhere that interest me, mostly including simple and bold contemporary art and design. I'm not a fan of hum-drum and beige. Nor am I a fan of things that do not carry an element of the "strange". It's funny because when I meet other designers, I feel like I am so inquisitive about their method and process and it always feels like I am more interested in what they do than they are. I find myself wanting to know how everything works in every arena of aesthetics from digital to traditional. I am also very attracted to city lights such as neon lights, signs, and music video aesthetics from artists like kanye west, lady gaga, and gwen stefani. And, of course, music itself.
K: Without revealing any of your creative secrets, can you tell us a little bit about what goes into making a deer cupcake?
AC: Haha, there are no secrets. They started out as a an idea in my head, and a drawing. I don't know where they came from, and I couldn't understand it at the time, but I decided not to try and smother it with sense. Turns out that's what works for me, so I decided to take a big chance and spend 3 months constructing Twinkle Twinkle Baby, with the deer cupcakes. They are made from various types of foam, modeling material, and paint, so they are surprisingly light. 
I asked Andrea if her cupcakes were for sale, and THANK GOD, they are, you may contact her through her website for pricing information
I love when you can see an artists work and understand their progression, the above two images of Andreas certainly foreshadow the oncoming of her deer cupcake field.
I also catch myself drooling nonstop at these trays on her site:
But WAIT!  I still have more questions:
K: What is the creative scene like in Houston?
AC: It is vast. I always feel overwhelmed trying to find art in a large city because there is so much of it in so many different places, some large spaces, some nooks and crannies. I wish there was one definitive website that would tell you EVERYTHING design/art oriented in the city.  I feel like there is a lot of opportunity for young creatives in Houston, which is good, especially for emerging professionals. There is also a thick traditional art community here, which I have yet to explore, but I'm sure is noteworthy.
K What's next for you?
AC: I am working on a series of "princess" or rather "not a princess" drawings in collaboration with another artist. They have to do with the idea that as girls, we never reached the princess we always thought we could be. What if there is no magic come to save you? The castle we take is the empire we make with our business cards, our risks and our skills. 
I would also like to work on a concept about my dreams of flying/floating. Both as a form of this physical and mental freedom and ambition. The dreams are so rare, but so great and just make me feel like anything is possible. 
At this point, I'm quite smitten with Ms. Canalito, the aesthetics she is drawn to, as well as the ones she creates herself, mirror my own preferences.  She also seems very busy, creatively. I love when someone has lots of irons in the fire, and Andrea's irons are very very pretty.