Inspired People – Dana Barbieri

Inspired people interviews

Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.

Today’s inspired person is Dana Barbieri. I first met Dana online via her Art Biz Mama series of interviews that opened my eyes to the possibilities of being both a mother and an artist at the same time. Finding inspiration from the bottom of my newborn daughter’s nappy bin wasn’t the easiest thing at the time, so to see another mother trying and succeeding was very inspirational. Dana was one of the people who introduced me to the creative blogosphere and all the possiblities it presents and I am honoured to have her here as one of my first interviewees as I delve into the sources of inspiration.


Thank you so much Nutty for asking me to do this. I am truly honored to a part of this.


Dana Barbieri ArtThe Artist

Who are you?

Dana Barbieri. I am a wife and a mom to two little ones (5 & 3) and an artist. I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC earning my BFA in Textile/Surface Design. I worked for many years as a surface designer. Then in 2005 I left after the birth of my son. I have been home with my kids full time since then.

What factors in your life have led you to create?

I have always created. For me it was just something that was always there.

Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?

Definitely something that has always been. As a kid I loved coloring and doing crafts. In middle school I got more and more into art. Then by high school I began taking lots of art classes … jewelry, sculpture, painting and drawing. The world of art really began to open up to me and my love for it grew and grew.

Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?

I am from New York. About 1.5 hours from NYC. I still live in NY just a little further from the city.

In the area that I live there is lots of natural beauty. We have mountains, woods, streams, and plants.  So nature really inspires me. Also, having spent many years of living/working in NYC has provided me with a huge amount of inspiration.

Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living?

No. I was always creating. If I wasn’t getting paid to be creative I was still doing it. It is something I have to do. I am sure all artists feel the same way.

Have you ever stopped creating?

I did have to put my creativity on hold a bit after the births of my children. During the early months of sleep deprivation and being all consumed with the biggest creation in my life I didn’t have much energy/desire to create.  After that period I found the need to create still there. Of course then it became more challenging. I would take lots of photos of my son and make scrapbooks.


The ArtDana Barbieri Art - Butterfly

What do you create?

I like to do a lot of things… crochet (recently), draw, paint, collage, play with paper.

Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?

This year I am going to focus on my drawing, painting and mixed media/collage work.

Flowers seem to show up for me in my art. Since my first love is surface design, patterns often show up for me as well.

What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?

I just get the need to create. I get really inspired by seeing all of the beautiful art via the internet.

I think inspiration can be found anywhere. We just have to be paying attention. It isn’t always easy. I think getting out a lot can spark ideas. As a mom to two little ones I don’t get out alone very often so sometimes I see things while walking or bike riding with my kids.

How often do you create?

I really try and create daily.

Do you procrastinate?

I don’t think so.  I just get distracted because my time is so fragmented with caring for my kids that sometimes it is hard to start.

Dana Barbieri Art - wreathHow do you balance between the things that have to be done versus the things you want to do?

This is such a big issue for me. One I am working on all the time.  When I am creating I feel like I should be playing or cleaning or some other chore.

I have realized though that as far as the chores go they will always be there and it is good to get comfortable with the dust bunnies. I guess I have to say I am a ‘in the middle’, not a neat freak but also not messy. There is a book I recently received as a gift titled ‘A perfectly kept home is a sign of a misspent life’. I love this! It really is so true that at the end of our life no one is going to remember us for how clean our house was or wasn’t. And really I don’t want to be remembered that way anyway 🙂

As far as the children, I have been able to do things side by side with my kids as they have gotten a bit older. My son recently sat with me while I was drawing and did his own version. They love to paint, draw and collage. It is so heart warming to see them doing there own art.  Also, it really is important to me for them to see me doing things I love. To be living a passion filled life. Plus, creating makes me happy so happy mom=happy family.

Where do you create?

I have all of my supplies in the family room which also has my children’s toys and the computer. I do find I spread out around the house. There are times I even do things on the kitchen counter 🙂  I love working at the dining room table and I love to curl up and crochet on the couch. My husband is such a saint. He never complains about any of it.

What do you enjoy doing the most?

The painting, drawing and collage. I plan to delve more into it this year.


Do you have any advice for other artists?

  • Work on many pieces at once
  • Keep your work out as you are working on it so you can see it as you come and go
  • Be willing to make BAD art. In other words, keep trying different things. That is how you get to the good stuff.
  • Share your story. Your processes, what inspires you, your favourite materials, etc.

Do you have any questions for other artists? Dana Barbieri Art - Butterfly Dream

I love hearing about other artists and their stories. What inspires them, their loves, favourite tools, etc.  So I would love to know more + their working environments, schedules, etc. I find that so interesting.

Where can you and your art be found?

You can find my art and me on


and my blog

Thanks so much Nutty!


8 responses to “Inspired People – Dana Barbieri”

  1. Great interview, Nutty! I enjoyed meeting Dana.

    I am so impressed by Moms with young children who are able to keep on creating. Such a good example for the children too. I think Dana made a great point when she said that we’re always creating. When her kids were just born, she continued to create by taking photographs and making scrapbooks. There are cycles to our creating but it’s always there in some capacity.

    1. ::grin:: My creative project today has been a five second drawing of a tiger so my nearly three year old can colour it in and stick things all over it.

      Though my biggest challenge today seems to be trying to find time to do anything. The housework is trying to eat me. Aaaaargh!

      (losing it)

  2. I Love Dana! Her work & blog inspires. Those butterflies have my heart. Thank you for sharing this interview!

  3. Love that interview Nutty. I am really impressed by Dana’s dedication an d really ,really agree with her comment about being willing to make BAD art, after years of having to get it right first time it is SO hard to relax and know tht no-one is going to judge.

    1. That is something I’m wrestling with too. I have perfectionist syndrome and I have to make a conscious effort to just let go and not care what it all ends up looking like. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. I also think I have trouble trusting in my own abilities to make it all work.

      And thanks for the email. I’ll let you know when its ready asap.

      (not getting very far today)

  4. I think your suggestions are EXCELLENT! Just yesterday I put my pieces in progress out where I can see them rather than having them stacked upon themselves over in a corner and it is amazing how I will walk by and see my “next steps…”

  5. Thank you Nutty for having me. It was a pleasure. 🙂

    1. You are most certainly welcome. It was great having you 😀

      (especially challenged today by the whole motherhood vs. art thing)