Meet the Artist – Donna Sharam
Donna Sharam’s world is full on colour! But she wouldn’t have it any other way. The Byron Bay based artist is a self-described ‘colourist’, and from fashion and teaching to creating her paintings she’s always incorporated a rainbow of colour and character to her work.
We’ve been collaborating with Donna for a number of years now, and her designs sit proudly on a range of mugs, egg cups, and newly released heart-shaped plates, coasters and lovely cotton tea towels. Her two collections, Smile Style and Love Hearts truly reflect this Australian artist’s passion for joy and making people smile.
We sat down with Donna to hear more about her journey, process and where her bright and unique perspective comes from.
How did you get into art?
After finishing high school, I began studying Fashion Design at Sydney College of the Arts. Following this I worked as a fashion designer on my own label and freelance designed for other established labels before taking time off to start a family with my husband. A move to the Byron Bay hinterland in 2005 reignited my passion for creativity and I found my love of painting.
When did your passion become a full-time job?
Initially I worked as a part-time art teacher and painted whenever I could, but fairly quickly my art started to sell and after continuously reducing my teaching hours, in 2007 I was able to make painting my full-time profession.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I describe myself as a colourist – meaning someone who loves to incorporate colour into everything I do, especially my artworks. If I had to choose two words to describe my art, I would say they are a perfect combination of unique and crazy.
How did you develop this unique style?
It just happened; it’s how I see the world! I love my life – and that seems to manifest itself through my art. I have always been drawn to being different and expressing my uniqueness in a way that is true to my heart. If you look at my early fashion designs and my art, you know they were created by the same creative force.
Why did you choose to collaborate with Maxwell & Williams?
I chose to collaborate with Maxwell & Williams because being not only an artist but also a businesswoman, I realised early in the process that to be successful in the art business you had to think outside the box. Licencing my images was an obvious step to continue the growth of my brand, so I decided to present to Maxwell & Williams as they were an iconic Australian brand and I admired the previous work that they had done with Australian artists. I was incredibly lucky to be selected and have loved every moment of the journey so far.
Describe the process of collaborating with Maxwell & Williams. What did this involve?
Now that I have established a successful relationship with Maxwell & Williams, the process of creating a new project or range starts with a meeting to discuss what we are looking to produce together.
I then create concepts for product based on our discussions and present this back to the team at Maxwell & Williams for their feedback, before the chosen artworks are selected, and then these are turned into finished art. All of the products in my collection are produced from hand painted art.
What has been the best part of collaborating with Maxwell & Williams?
The best part of collaborating with Maxwell & Williams is the feeling you get as an artist when you see your art on products selling in Moscow, London, Milan and other global destinations. It takes my breath away to see that and receive messages from customers from all over the world loving your art in their everyday lives.
Where you did you draw inspiration for your current collection with Maxwell & Williams from?
I’m lucky that my natural style of painting resonates well with consumers. All of the art that I create is drawn from the inside and my love of life. As the nature of creating product is slightly different to creating pure artworks, I also spend time researching worldwide trends in homewares and design.
What is your favourite piece from the collaboration? Why?
My favourite piece from the current Love Hearts collaboration is the 'Oddles of Love' mug, coaster & heart shaped plate, because it features my cavoodle puppy Ollie.