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Meet March's Featured Designer: Feanne

Designer Spotlight: Feanne

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a surface designer. I'm Feanne, an artist from the Philippines. I specialize in ornate, stylized, hand-drawn patterns featuring botanical, animal, and celestial themes. My art typically features Philippine flora and fauna. I have been working as an artist since 2006, and producing my own line of wearable art pieces, such as silk scarves and reversible kimonos, since 2015. My past clients include Adobe, Fast Retailing, and Sunlight Air.

I can think of a couple of factors that led me into a surface design career: One was that I would constantly have people asking me to make bigger artworks. My drawings, being so detailed, have always been so small. I began experimenting with textile designs to see my work on a larger scale. Another was experiencing infringement early in my art career. My art was stolen by someone who used it to enter— and win— t-shirt design competitions. It gave me ideas about my art’s potential for commercial applications.

Your work has a dramatic style. What influences that in your art? Thank you! I love Art Nouveau, chinoiserie, Japanese art, scientific illustrations, and esoteric art. I enjoy a lot of anime, manga, and video games. I think these all show up in my work somehow.

What mediums do you use to create your art? Have you tried any new mediums recently? I used to work primarily with pen and ink on paper, but I've completely shifted to drawing with an iPad and Apple Pencil since a few years ago. I haven't looked back. It's really convenient to be able to draw directly in vector.

Can you tell us about your licensing experiences ( good and bad)? I feel that I’ve been lucky with my clients for licensing and commissioned art— projects generally go smoothly. Most of my work-related stress comes from managing the manufacturing for my own brand and from infringement, which has happened with my art multiple times. One case, a couple of years ago, was particularly challenging. Links below tell the story of how I managed to successfully resolve a commercial infringement case that happened abroad in the UK. I was thankfully able to get help from some great lawyers and plenty of support from people on social media, including Diet Prada at one point.

What has been your favorite company to work with or who is your dream company to work with? It's hard to pick a favorite, I honestly think my clients have been really great to work with. In the past couple of years, I have gotten to work with Adobe-- they were a dream client of mine-- and have had some cool projects, like designing a set of bone china plates for local brand Casa Juan, and designing flight attendants' uniforms for local airline Sunlight Air. One of my big dreams is to design a scarf for Hermes.

Being in the Philippines, do you find it easier to license artwork with companies in the Philippines or are you able to work with companies elsewhere? I would say my clients are about half local and half abroad. It was a bit more challenging about a decade ago when payment options from abroad were limited.

How do you market and sell your own line of clothing/accessories? Mostly through Instagram now— clients just message me to order. Pre-pandemic I also used to sell through local boutiques and pop-up fairs. Right now I only have one stockist — Dia — an online boutique for luxury artisanal Southeast Asian brands.

Would you like to share any advice you have for new designers? You can learn a lot from the experiences of others, but no one knows your unique path better than you. As long as you're not harming anyone, don't be afraid to go against popular advice, if that's what's right for you.

What's next for you in your artistic endeavors? I'm wrapping up a couple of fun projects-- a three-headed dragon scarf design for a young adult fantasy book series, and tropical-themed wallpaper for a restaurant. Links: Instagram - Portfolio - Stockist (Dia) for kimonos, scarves, etc -


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