Barbra Ignatiev, creator of Brave Beauti
Barbra Ignatiev lives in Oakland, CA, creating watercolor prints and patterns for her brand, Barbarian. She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Ignatiev worked as a designer at many in-house design studios in the gift, craft and fashion industries over the past 15 years before setting off to build her own brand. Through the use of bold, colorful brushstrokes, she aims to portray living a life of freedom. encompasses living a life of freedom, expressed through her bold, colorful brushstrokes. Her art can be seen on home decor and fashion items across the globe.
Q & A with Barbra Ignatiev
What was your inspiration for Brave Beauty?
The print is inspired by ikat designs - a traditional dyeing technique that feels active and bold, and yet structured. We chose to incorporate an American Indian war horse, with symbolic markings - “circle eye” for the ability to see danger, “fire arrow” for strength, “pat hand” for mission accomplished. All these elements make for a strong yet whimsical print.
What inspires your art in general?
I love playing with color, I love nature and I love sharing my art with other people.
Was being an artist your dream? Were you artistic as a child?
I enjoyed drawing characters as a kid - mostly princesses, unicorns, castles and the occasional cartoon character. My parents always encouraged me to keep creating and often my dad would stand behind me to watch - to my sassy artistic dismay. I also enjoyed writing fantastical stories and drawing pictures to go with them. I thought I could also become a ballerina. I always knew I wanted to do something creative and fun but never really knew what that could be until adulthood.
How and when did you begin as a professional artist?
A year after graduating college,an opportunity came up to work with a tabletop paper manufacturer as a designer of special occasion paper plates and napkins. It was work I loved and it was the first time I learned about a surface design career path.
When creating your artwork, do you have a process?
Always, to stay loose and playful. I will start with a loose pencil sketch, then add watercolor, then go back in with pencil. Many of my pieces only take minutes to finish. I find if I spend too much time on a piece, the freshness dissipates.
What is your purpose when creating a piece of art?
I aim to express a feeling of freedom and boldness. When people look at my art, I want people to feel propelled to take on life with a vengeance, a sense of humor, and a better sense of who they are.
Do you have any causes that you are active in helping support?
Dancing, singing, working with animals or in the beauty/fashion industry as a stylist. Or all of the above.
What is the most interesting thing about you that most people do not know about you?
I sang in a cover band for a few years - 80’s and 90’s pop/rock mostly. Some times I miss performing and still enjoy karaoke now and again. I sing at home all the time!