Since the beginning of March we have found ourselves at home more than ever. There use to be a saying in my office, "we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our own families." That has drastically changed with the spread of COVID 19.
Now that America is home more than before, there has been a surge in home improvement projects, new home and school workspaces and offices, and home sales. Since the beginning of March, my fiance sold his house, moved into mine, then we bought a new house together, moved out of my home, to a new neighboring community, and we are now unpacking and decorating our new farm home. This has made me look outside the visual female artists I normally highlight and look towards a world of design as a whole.
In this installment of Women in Art, I asked Becca Gaines of B Gaines Interior Design about her life and career as an Interior Designer.
Do you think of yourself as an artist, a businesswoman, or both?
Really both! But I probably consider myself an artist first, because the pursuit of my design career led me to my own business.
Why do you do what you do?
I really love residential design because it’s so relational. I enjoy being a part of people’s lives and getting to know them on a personal level.
How has your work changed over time?
It’s probably always evolving, and still influenced by some of my earliest mentors. I do feel like my designs and process have been refined over time to think outside the box and to trust my gut.
What art do you most identify with?
My design style is pretty eclectic and I guess my taste in art is also! I appreciate so many types of art and artists, but the art form that I find most exciting is architecture. I am fascinated by old cities.
What local artists do you admire most?
Memphis is home to so many great artists. There are a handful of women who I have had the pleasure to get to know… Allison Rodgers, Katie Toombs, Hillary Butler, Beth Winterburn, Catherine Erb, and Emily Ozier. I admire these amazing women for their processes and their ability to balance family and creative time. I love that I can see their beautiful spirits in their artwork. There are so many other local-Memphis and southern artists represented at David Lusk Gallery, who I love to follow and find deeply inspirational…including Tim Crowder, Hamlett Dobbins, the late Michael Crespo, Beth Edwards, Veda Reed, Kit Reuther, Jack Spencer, Carroll Todd, and David Lusk himself, whom I feel like has dynamically mastered the art of gallery curation and education.
How did you get started in your industry?
When I graduated from design school, I had the unbelievable opportunity to work under Rozanne Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee. While working with Rozanne, I completed the required hours and referrals to test for my NCIDQ certificate and state design license. After a few years in Nashville, my husband and I returned to Memphis, where I worked under Rhea Crenshaw until branching out on my own. These two women had a huge hand in preparing me to be in the design field on my own by teaching me from their own experience.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
Memphis has an incredible design community. I’m thankful to know some of my “competitors” well, and I’m honored to be in such great company among them. I believe there is power in community over competition, and that we all have different strengths. I think one of my strengths is my desire to truly know my clients and to create something of true generational quality that speaks to who they are and what they are passionate about.
Do you have a mentor and if so who is it?
I have a great support system at the end of the day in my husband, family, and a group of dear friends. In addition to this support, I truly value the advice and guidance of those in my industry more experienced than myself. Designers Rozanne Jackson and Rhea Crenshaw have forever influenced who I am as a designer, and now I cherish their encouragement and advice even more. I’m not sure if all of these colleagues realize I consider them to be my mentors, but I’m truly grateful that they have generously shared their wisdom with me in these areas and invest in the growth of my company - my father’s business and life advice and belief in my talents; Allison Rodgers’ perspective on balancing family, creative time and business; David Lusk’s passionate knowledge of art and Memphis culture; David Anderson’s deeply thoughtful perfectionism; Jeff Bramlett’s ability to graciously lead clients through the design and build process; Derek Eller’s transparency and kindness in any situation; and David Clark’s drive for excellence and constant refinement, ethical practices and organized efficient processes.
Why interior design?
I really enjoy creating something on paper and the process of bringing it to life.
What is your main source of inspiration?
I find inspiration in a lot of places, from textures in nature and brilliant architecture, to travel, fashion, and film.
How do you get inspired when you are not in a creative mood?
I think I’m always in a creative mood, but sometimes in need of inspiration for a particular project. Traveling, going out to dinner, and exploring the things that my clients are passionate about help me find a creative reset.
Advice for other females trying to make a career in the arts and design industry?
I think most women struggle with comparing themselves to others and worry about what other people think about them. I would encourage creative women to be themselves and to let that drive their brand. Find yourself and the customer you love working with.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“You can do it.” - my dad
Is your home designed as well as your clients?
Definitely not! I hope to find the time to renovate my current home or build one day.
What is your biggest challenge you face on a regular basis?
I have a hard time saying no because every project sounds fun in its own way. I’ve learned that it’s important to say no sometimes to protect quality time with my family and preserve quality creative time for my existing projects.
How would you describe your style to someone who has not seen your work before?
My personal design style is eclectic, and one of my projects may look very different from the next. Each project is designed for the family and personalities who live there. I strive to listen to my clients and design for their needs and around their passions.
How has your business changed since COVID-19?
COVID-19 gave me a lot of needed desk time…and while we were still busy working, it was a very needed pause from my hectic routine. We have sharpened some of our remote communication and presentation tools that we already had in our back pocket, and we will continue to use them at times for efficiency moving forward.
To see more of Becca's designs you can visit her website at www.bgainesinterordesign.com
And follow her on Instagram at @bgainesinteriors