Sarah, an artist and print designer and her Urban Outfitters photographer husband, Colin, spend most of their days working with a myriad of artistic mediums. Whether Sarah is painting and drawing at her textile design studio ANONA, or Colin is photographing a UO lookbook, making beautiful imagery is their abiding passion. We caught up with the Philadelphia-based duo at Sarah's beautifully curated studio, where textile prints for companies including Urban Outfitters are created.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do...
I'm one half of ANONA studio. We are a Philadelphia-based textile design studio that specializes in hand-drawn, hand-painted designs with an artistic sensibility.
How did you make ANONA a reality?
A lot of research and planning! My business partner, Renée Shortell and I spent close to two years conceptualizing and revising what we wanted this business to be and how we were going to make it happen. Part of our success as a brand is due to the way we complement each other, both in our aesthetic and business approach. We are both highly motivated and disciplined.
Have you collaborated with Urban Outfitters before?
ANONA has worked with both the apparel and home design teams. You can see some of our designs on home products now!
What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?
Most of the time I am busy painting and drawing, or looking for new inspiration.
What do you love most about working in a creative field?
The need for change and searching for new possibilities. Collaborating with other talented people.
What made you want to pursue textile design?
I love color, pattern and repetition and I also really enjoy problem solving and making things.
How did you and Colin meet?
We were in the same 4th grade class! Although, we didn't really become good friends until middle school.
What makes you two better together?
Since we have known each other for so long, I guess he has informed a lot of who I am. I would probably be lost without him! He is my best friend, and he has my initial tattooed above his knee!
Have you collaborated on projects?
We collaborate all the time, even if it's just verbally tossing around ideas. It's great that we both work in the same industry because we are often looking at similar inspiration and can edit or discuss work with fresh eyes.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I always find myself stuck between two extremes: Simple Minimalism and over-the-top extravagance. I guess it depends on the day, or my mood. Ellsworth Kelly, Tim Walker, Viviane Sassen, Sam Falls, Dries Van Noten, Jonny Johansson. To see more, you can check out my edited visual diary.
What are you obsessed with lately?
Infrared hot flow yoga.
What's coming up for you that you're excited about?
I think this is going to be an exciting year! Colin and I have a few personal projects we are working on. We're going to fix up our house and do some traveling... maybe get a puppy?!
Hi Colin! What makes you and Sarah better together?
I would not be where I am right now without her constant support and motivation. I'm also very directionally challenged, so I'm sure I'd be lost somewhere in Delaware or something.
What's your favorite quality of hers?
Her jokes, for sure. Her drive. Everything.
What do you guys like to do when you're just hanging out?
We bought a loft in August, so most of our downtime is spent working on that. We also love a good park / people watching situation.
Do you have a favorite memory of the two of you?
We took a drawing class together on Saturdays during senior year of high school. Those car rides were always my favorite.
Where's the craziest place you've ever had a shoot?
Hawaii was pretty crazy. We shot in the valley where they filmed "Jurassic Park", which was a pretty important milestone in my life. I played the theme song really loudly in the van. Let's just say it was emotional for everyone.
What's your favorite thing about working for Urban Outfitters?
The atmosphere is super creative, and the process for creating our images is really organic. Everyone brings ideas to the table and is very involved. It generally starts with "Wouldn't it be cool if..." and then nine times out of ten, we do it.
What photographers have shaped your own work?
I love all the old guys...Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts. Currently, Alasdair McLellan and Jamie Hawkesworth. Juergen Teller. And my dad and my brothers who are extremely talented photographers themselves.
What are you obsessed with lately?
I bought a Pentax 67 about a year ago and it changed everything. And I got an Aeropress for making coffee, and that also changed everything.
What are you looking forward to shooting in the future?
We have a few shoots coming up that I am super excited for, but I can't say anything yet!