Textile Designer Rusty Arena on Creativity

Dear Friends,

I’m so thrilled about this month’s theme — AWAKEN YOUR CREATIVITY — and today we are excited to share with you our first featured creative guru, textile designer, painter and artist Rusty Arena.

I first met Rusty many, many years ago. I found out about him through a mutual friend. I was heavily focused on textile prints back then and many of my earliest designs were printed handbags. Rusty and I collaborated on several custom print designs. We developed a dragon fly print, a Hawaiian inspired hula dancer print and a retro tropical scenic print inspired by the south of France. It was a total blast working with him and to this day, those bags make me smile.

When we started talking about this month’s theme, Rusty immediately came to mind. He embodies the idea of living a truly authentic, creative life. He has a keen sense for texture, color and organic shapes. His gentle spirit and artful soul light up a room. I know you’ll be inspired by his take on creativity.


RA4ET: Can you describe your daily creative process? Are you disciplined about it and follow daily routines or are you instinctual about it and just let it happen?

RA: It depends on what am working on. There is discipline involved with the textile and wallpaper production and there has to be a certain degree of cohesion that requires record-keeping, color formulas, and working collectively with my team. The beginning stages of a drawing or a painting, however, are more instinctual.

ET: How do you recover from a creative block? Any suggestions or things you do to find inspiration?

RA: I dig really deep inside, try to recall moments of inspiration and then usually find myself looking to nature for the source.

ET: What are your feelings about your career being connected to your creativity? Do you struggle with this? Or is it natural for you?

RA: It can can be difficult at times because running a business is an on-going process, an ever-changing landscape. The creative side is always at work and I’m lucky to have a great team that allows me to still do the things I love in my spare time.

ET: Do you have other outlets of creativity that you engage in that fill your soul other than textile print design? If so, what? And how does that enhance your textile design process if at all?

RA: I have always painted. As of late I am working on a very interesting form of images that are composed of a language of dots and dashes. These will be featured at the Jung Center in October and are a surprising departure from my usual work.

Lee Wilde, Graphic Designer and Assistant in Production, and Rusty Arena in the studio.
Lee Wilde, Graphic Designer and Assistant in Production, and Rusty Arena in the studio.

ET: How would you describe yourself with regard to your creative life? Are you a serious, often times burdened artist type or do you approach your work with lightness? Or is it a combination?

RA: It is most definitely a combination, I have been fortunate to have spent my life creating and have found humor to be immensely necessary to lighten up when I get a bit too heavy.

ET: Any final thoughts, theories or tips regarding creativity? 

RA: Creativity is abundant in all forms of careers. It can be found in math, cooking, problem solving, even in management. The creativity needed to make art is an on going thought process. Often in the evening I find myself working out the details of my musings of the day.

Connect with Arena Design:
Facebook: Arena Design
Instagram: @arena_design

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it. And don’t forget to follow and subscribe to Join the Collective! ♥Elaine

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