If you’ve shopped at any big-name home decor stores in the past few years, chances are you have a piece of Danielle Murray art in your home. As an illustrator and fine artist whose traditional oil paintings are licensed for product use, Danielle’s patterned work graces everything from wallpaper and quilting fabrics to paper goods and home décor products these days. Her richly colored works of art that often feature loveable pups, dreamy ships and vintage curiosities are inspired by her own love of the sea and her Yorkshire terrier named Frankie. Get inspired with us as NJMOM talks with Danielle about that exciting moment when she stumbles upon her artwork in the “wild,” her favorite subject to paint, and her family’s favorite places to eat in their hometown of Bordentown City, New Jersey.
Painter, Illustrator & NJMOMpreneur:
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Danielle: I am an illustrator and surface designer creating artwork for products, as well as paintings for gallery shows. Danielle Murray artwork can be found in stores, big and small, on everything from stationery and housewares to wall art and fabric. I work traditionally in oil paint and I am also proficient digitally. There are certain customers and industries that rely on a classic, hand-painted look for their products, and having a timeless style and traditional technique as an artist definitely puts my work in demand. I also work fairly quickly, and that is always a bonus for my clients!
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Danielle: I’ve enjoyed art since I was a child, so making the decision to go to art school came naturally. Being an illustrator and surface designer is all about the balance of personal style, technique, and problem-solving. Yes, the end result needs to be a pretty picture, but in order for the piece to be successful on a product, it also needs to meet a long list of requirements. I really enjoy that challenge, as well as researching trends in the marketplace and filtering them through the lens of my little world to make them my own. As far as Danielle Murray paintings for galleries and personal work, I have always been inspired by past times and past places, as well as the sea. I’ll take any chance I can get to paint ships and the ocean!
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
You have to wear many hats when you run your own business, but when one of those hats is getting to paint dogs all day, that’s pretty awesome.
Also, seeing my artwork out in the “wild” never gets old. I don’t always know which stores might end up carrying products with my artwork, so stumbling upon my paintings on different products is always exciting.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Danielle: I attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and received my BFA in illustration. Back then (nearly 12 years ago!), the illustration work we were prepped for was primarily in the editorial and book markets. It was not until a few years later, when I got a job working as a product designer for Christmas Tree Shops, that I learned about surface design and creating artwork for products. Since then, I have gone out on my own and have had the wonderful opportunity of seeing my artwork in retail stores and on all kinds of products.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Danielle: In high school, I was on a co-ed cheerleading squad; we were nationally ranked and even on ESPN a couple of times! I also drove a yellow 1977 AMC Gremlin.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you in 2018?
Danielle: Personally, we just welcomed our tiny addition to the family a few months ago, so I’m looking forward to all of the milestones throughout his first year and watching him discover this world. My husband and I also bought a 150-year-old house this past year that we have been working on nonstop. It is a never-ending project that we have a long to-do list for!
Professionally, I will be exhibiting for the third time in New York this spring at one of the industry’s largest trade shows. I also started working with a large home and giftware company this past year and will have a bunch of products with Danielle Murray artwork released in 2018. Stay tuned!
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Danielle: The best piece of advice I’ve received is to always make time for yourself, and never to lose that. My mom is an amazing mother, but she also has a full life outside of her children and makes room for her interests, relationships, and herself. I think it’s really important to not lose that when you have children. I want my son to see his parents be passionate about things they love. Yes, we’ll always love him deeply, but it’s just as important for him to see us love other things in our lives, as well.
Danielle: Well I’m fairly new to this – just four months! But I would say that the best part about being a mom in just this short time has been watching him learn new things, even if it’s just sucking on his toe! It has been so fun and rewarding, and I am looking forward to seeing more of his little personality come out.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Danielle: Flea markets and going to the beach are our favorites! I especially love the beach towns during the off-season – there is something so charming about these little towns in the winter. My husband and I recently lived in Ocean Grove and a few years before that in Asbury Park. I love the winter months in those towns the most. There’s something special about their stillness without the summer bustle and crowd (but don’t get me wrong, the beach is obviously great in the summer, too). My favorite flea markets in New Jersey are Columbus Market in Columbus and the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market in Lambertville.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Danielle: I currently live in the historic town of Bordertown City, located along the Delaware River. It is a hidden gem with wonderful old Victorian buildings and a cute downtown filled with some really great restaurants and shops, a train station, and a bike trail to Philly. I love being able to walk everywhere and love that my son will get to walk to school and have this little town to explore as he gets older.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Danielle: There’s certainly no shortage of good food in Bordentown City, and we’ve developed some favorites after trying almost everything! Some local spots that I love are Under the Moon (an Argentinian-inspired cafe), Oliver A Bistro for eclectic American food, Properly Fueled for healthy eats, HOB Tavern for a classic “dive” experience, and of course, Marcello’s for our Italian fix!
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Danielle: I think it’s important to not get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Sure, it’s healthy to be motivated by others, but it’s also easy to feel discouraged when you are just starting out and comparing yourself to someone who has been working for years to get where they are now. Everybody starts somewhere and I think it’s important to keep that perspective.