Flori Pate: An Artist with Flair

I love the style of artist Flori Pate. Back when she was my neighbor in Greenville SC, I loved the artistic flair she used to decorate her house. Her clothes, shoes and jewelry also showed style, and the artwork she created for her graphic design business always amazed me. Flori’s bold designs have a happy flair. The images she creates make you want to smile. This is true of Flori herself too. Being around her makes you want to smile, so living next door to her was awesome! I’m not exaggerating when I say that one of the saddest days of my life was the day I watched Flori, her husband, baby, and two big dogs drive away when they relocated to Oregon. If I had known at the time that a year later I’d be relocating too, maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard! Flori and her family now live in Asheville, NC where she runs her graphic design business. I am really excited that she agreed to shower some of her artistic flair on Nerdy Chick’s Rule. (Flori nerdified her portrait just for us!)

Thanks for joining us Flori! I ask everyone this: If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?   I would say “follow your dreams.”  In the 80s, so much of our culture placed huge emphasis on money. Therefore, I had several adults tell me that you can’t make a career in art and pointed me in different directions. But art WAS my dream! It took me a while to realize those adults were not necessarily correct. I would have been miserable doing anything else.

I had people tell me not to write, too, Flori, so I think that’s great advice. What is your favorite way to flaunt your brain power?  I flaunt my brain power on paper. And usually with lots of color!  As a kid I was always in charge of “signage” for our summer lemonade stands, a job which I took very seriously. Marketing is everything, you know. As an adult I have the ability to bring a business or product to life by creating a brand using elements of design, illustration, and type. I love meeting with new clients who have worked so hard to start or sustain a business but have not been able to establish the look, feel or voice they desire. I listen and ask lots of questions. Then my brain starts imagining all the wonderful ways to create a brand that breaks through the clutter and avoids the sea of sameness all around us.  My biggest reward is when my clients say “I love it! You nailed it! I never would have thought of that!” That’s how I strut my brain power.

Tell us more about what you do. What skills are needed to pursue a career in graphic design?  To survive in this career, you must entertain everyone’s opinions, always accept change and possess endless curiosity. The ability to come up with many creative solutions to a singular challenge is a must. It’s always important to be able  to work within tight budget constraints and not let that stifle your creativity. You must have thick skin. This career is so subjective. I once worked on a project for Sonoma County Bagels and showed the fruit of my labor and all the client could say was, “I hate purple.” You’ve got to be able to bite your tongue and roll with the punches. My Creative Circus teacher once said, “Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone’s got one.”

Your work has a definite style and flair! I love it! Is there something that inspired you to create that look?  When I was in first grade I won the book fair poster contest. I drew Snoopy on his red dog house reading a book and wrote, “SNOOP ON OVER TO THE WEST SIDE BOOK FAIR.” I loved watching all of the Peanut’s TV specials and reading Charles Schultz’s Sunday comics. Looking at my work now, there’s no doubt that Charles Schultz’s body of work was an influence.

I never thought of that, but your work, like Schultz’s, is full of joy! Do you have a favorite project you have worked on so far? If so, what’s the story?  “Favorite” is hard for me to say! -maybe we should say “MOST RECENT.”

Good point! Tell us about your most recent project.  I was approached by a start-up local business to be the first featured artist to show in their gallery. The assignment was to create “candy” inspired art. I had hardly gotten out of our initial meeting and into my car when I grabbed scrap paper and pen and began drawing. I then stayed up drawing and playing with different concepts until the wee hours of the evening several nights in a row and I couldn’t stop. My very late night ideas ended up being my favorite.

Love those! Especially the jelly beans one! Tell us about a well-known artsy chick you admire and why you admire her.  I LOVE the English illustrator Lauren Child. She has brilliant simple lines to her work that convey imagery of exaggerated emotion and humor. She also incorporates great patterns, textures and color palates. Her style is fresh and fun. Here’s the kicker- she’s also WRITES her books. The quintessential Nerdy Chick!

I like Child’s work too. What’s something you like to do that might be considered a tiny bit nerdy, but is actually really fun? Label lingering. (I just coined that term which, is also very Nerdy!) I appreciate well designed packaging and find great pleasure in reading food labels. Having time to meander at the grocery store, perusing the aisles and reading the small print of ingredients is a favorite past time of mine.  I have a passion for whole food, and cooking. Label lingering kind of goes hand and hand with that.

Because of this interest, I really enjoyed creating a logo for our community garden and also a series of veggie inspired note cards with recipes on the backs.

I’m thinking I’m not a label lingerer, but it’s true that labels have more oomph than they used to.  

You can see the radishes Flori mentions in this sample of her work. To see more of her designs, visit her website http://www.floripatedesigns.com


Thanks for answering these questions, Flori!  I look forward to seeing what you’ll create next!

To learn more about Flori, and to see the kind of projects she takes on (everything from personalized invitations and cards to billboards) visit www.floripatedesigns.com.


Shanna Stanton: Artist and Norm Flouter

I met Shanna Stanton five years ago when I moved to Beaufort SC. I immediately liked her.  Far more stylish than this nerdy chick could ever dream of being, Shanna didn’t seem like a fellow nerdy chick at first. Yet she was. And is! What makes her fit into this category is the way she looks at life. She does what she thinks is right, accepts each person she meets as in individual with something to offer, and doesn’t worry what anyone else thinks. Thus she has a more varied group of friends than anyone I know. She also works hard to make sure her children are both academically and artistically challenged while in school. This is a goal we share, and so we worked on several creative and academic projects together while she was here. Now an artist working from San Diego California, Shanna shares some of her own Nerdy Chick philosophies. Thanks Shanna!

What social norms are you fond of flouting? 

I have never been one to play the role of what is expected by others.  I always felt social norms are controlled by society trying to make everyone have the same social identity to some extent.  I love my individuality and living outside my box 😉 So I would have to say all of them…because I live every day for me not what everyone else thinks I should be. I love being called “artsy” because I know that it is not the social norm;)

If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Have confidence in yourself and the insightful gifts that you have been given.  It is fabulous just to be who you are and not worry about how anyone views you.

Tell us about a well-known chick you admire and why you admire her. This can be a fictitious chick!

I love Classic Literature; so I would have to say Jane Eyre.  Her story is one of a nerdy chick that knows her self-worth.  In the end, she finds the most important gift of life is not of fortune, but true love.  Her ability to look past tragedy and find true love is why I admire her so.  She obtained her own happiness by being true to who she was and not what society dictated for her to be.

You love art and fashion, how are these interests enhanced by being a nerdy chick?

Being a nerdy chick gave me the ability to create different pathways to being an artist.  It assisted me in creating networks and avenues for different opportunities in South Carolina and California.  As far as fashion… I just love what I love and honestly could care less if someone did not like my “artsy” flare.  Confidence is the key to success in life.  You have to believe in yourself and when you are a nerdy chick  I think it gives you an edge to a more creative, confident path.  You know how much I love having a “little” flare and can appreciate flare in others.  All my friends have that “flare”; some hide it well and others just flaunt it through artistic expression!  hmmm…I am thinking of Kara McAllister;)

How does your brainpower help you when you approach a canvas with a paintbrush?

When you are an artist there are so many components to creating of your artwork.  It is not just about placing random colors, but yet a more complex thought process of composition and movement.  You have to be able to convey a feeling as if you were writing a novel or a poem.  It should impact the viewer by letting them question your reason for painting the piece.   I have to formulate my artwork from the knowledge that I have learned over the past twenty years and incorporate my artistic vision on a canvas.  When I paint, I am allowed to step outside my box and give a perspective that only I see.

For me brain power is not about whether I know more information than another, it is the fact that I can take the ordinary around me and makes it extraordinary. Brainpower has given me confidence in artistic freedom.  It allows me to pick up my paint brush and realize that with a single stroke of paint I am creating a story for the whole world to interrupt the way in which they want to.

Do you have a favorite hobby? Details please!

Fashion…fashion…fashion!   I love being able to express myself through my own unique look.  Whether it is designing wire jewelry in my studio, picking out wedge heels with that perfect pair of jeans, or creating that perfect look with a makeup palette to go out for the night; I love being able to have that option of color and style !  It is so fabulous being able to express yourself as a creative one of a kind individual!

To find out more about Shanna and her art, visit her at www.SLSORIGINALS.com

Well, that’s two out of three of nerdy chicks interviewed so far who like fashion. And I happen to know that editor Aimee Friedman loves shoes!  But no pressure fellow nerdy chicks, a lot of us (including myself) like other things better. The thing to remember is it’s all about choice!  If you have time, look at the quotes from Golda Meir. That top one reminds me of Shanna.