The harly jae muse is our new written offering which brings to you the life and stories of the intentional women who wear our clothes. We want to share with you who they are, what their influences are and what their deepest hopes & dreams are made of.
Our first muse is visual artist Codie O’Connor of Austin, Texas. We instantly fell in love with her talent for color; her rounded placement of desert tones, equally bright & warm. She perfectly delivers the richness of color we desire when looking to add to our (typically neutral) home palette.
We have watched her career as an artist take off, changing the landscape of open-spaces, stores and homes across the world with her uplifting & laid-back murals, canvases and other painted goods. She is a true ray of sunshine that has created her own path, and this shines through her art. You may recognize her work from the mural she painted at our very own stockist, The Wanderly in Toronto, or perhaps from her recent collaboration with Madewell.
1. First, tell us a little bit about you. What has been your journey into becoming the artist that you are today?
My name is Codie and I am the painter behind CK Goods. The journey has felt like one big whirlwind of creative messes, lots of hard work, and fun. Part of the journey has been this feeling of constant shock and excitement when someone feels a connection to one of my paintings. Ultimately, I’ve never been happier to be here doing what I’m doing!
2. You spent a lot of time as a child following your mom around her own artist studio, what was that like? (And also - that sounds like a dreamy childhood!)
It was pretty magical. As a kid, the encouragement from both of my parents to create whatever I could dream up was hugely important to my development. My mom’s studio lent itself to so many options, from jewelry making supplies, paint, pastels, clay, wax, cameras- the options for experimentation felt limitless. But the environment I grew up in, even outside of her studio, felt a bit that way. Both of my parents are creative. My dad always had guitars around and plays the piano- my mom was always painting or styling things around the house. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that this lifestyle had really ingrained in me a sense of freedom in perspective and expression that I don’t think really stuck around for some people my age. I am forever grateful for that.
4. What is your most important artist’s tool and why?
Inspiration. Physical tools can be meaningless if you don’t have the inspiration or the idea to create first. Keeping myself mentally stimulated and filled to the brim with inspiration is hand down the most important tool for me to continue what I’m doing.
5. Do you ever feel the need to de-stress from your studio? If so, where do you head to?
I don’t ever really feel like I need to de-stress from my studio. In fact it’s really the other way around. My studio feels like a sanctuary to me with endless options on how to spend my time in a way that makes me feel happiest. To be honest, if I’m away from my studio or in a space where I feel uninspired or not able to physically create I can get a little bit stressed.
6. What do you wear while painting, and why is it your outfit of choice?
I have very vivid memories of my mom and my aunt who is also an artist, painting in overalls. For me, it feels a bit nostalgic to also paint in overalls so those are usually my go to. But I also have a few pairs of jeans that are just totally covered in paint that I wear from time to time and typically I’ll just throw on a tee. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve started to wear my t-shirts inside out to avoid having every article of clothing I own have visible paint on them.
7. Do you think that your source of inspiration for your art will change in the upcoming months or years?
My sources of inspiration tend to stay pretty true to the roots: nature, travel, music (typically from the 60’s to 70s), but the way that I interpret them is what seems to change over time. I can look back over what I’ve made in the past and sort of remember how I was feeling at that time. I want to constantly be growing and challenging myself but I try to just go with the flow and not put pressure on that growth. If I start to feel bored with what I’m doing then it’s definitely time to evolve.
I’m actually in a bit of a transition at the moment. In fact, the collection of paintings I’m currently working on feels like a very natural evolution from what I was making in this last year. It definitely feels new and like a breath of fresh air and I’m pretty excited about it.
Other than the effortless retro look to them, which is what caught my eye at first, it’s actually the smaller details like the silk-like pocket linings that I love the most. It seems like such a minor detail, but if you wear high rise denim pretty regularly like I do, pocket liners tend to get bunched up and look a bit unflattering, the silk lining in the Pierrot pants completely avoid that issue, making it more comfortable and flattering at the same time- it’s a small but game changing and thoughtful touch!
〰️ Codie is wearing our Pierrot pants in denim, size small. You can shop them here. Her collections sell out very fast! The best way to snag a piece of her art is to follow her on Instagram to be alerted of her new releases.
We hope you enjoyed the first piece of the hj muse series!
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