Hi Sophie! Can you tell us your story leading up to becoming the incredible artist we know today?
Hi! I am Sophie Graefenhain and I am an Integrated Design and Branding Specialist with experience in Brand Strategy, Development & Design, Placemaking, Environmental Design, Copywriting, Web & App Design, Page Layout & Presentation Design, Illustration, and Promotional Collateral.
In addition to my fresh approach to the digital world, I am a fine artist with a diverse skill set including oil painting, tattoo design, drawing, and sketch illustration. I enjoy investigating all mediums through portraiture, wildlife, and organic studies.
Growing up in the Chicagoland area, my parents put an emphasis on creativity, getting outside, and using our imaginations to get through long winters and hot summers. Art was a constant in our home…My mom is an amazing artist and business owner of Graefenhain Designs, and my dad is a talented marketing guru, bread baker, and knower of all things health and fitness. Observing my parents in their prospective fields led to my love of all art forms.
From a young age, I turned anything into something. Whether it was cooking, baking, painting, sewing, etc…I was always making something out of whatever I could find. This trickled into my high school years – concentrating on certain subjects was impossible so I would draw intricate designs and scenes on my arms related to each class. It was my way of taking notes (which eventually led to my tattooing hobby).
Once I navigated my way out of high school and through college, where I graduated with a Fine Arts degree, I didn’t have a clue what to do, so I moved to Kentucky where I began working as a barista. My love of light roast beans, latte art, and learning the world of coffee followed me when I moved back to Chicago and began teaching my espresso skills. This job led me to Boulder, where I taught latte art classes and roasted beans.
During my time in the coffee world, I began teaching myself different computer software on the side. Once I built up a humble design portfolio, I felt confident enough to make the leap. I started a job as an apparel designer for the outdoor clothing industry here in Colorado! As time passed, I continued to learn and grow in the design world and now work as a graphic designer for architecture and planning firm in Denver. With many years of hard work, I finally landed in a creative realm I never knew I would love so much.
All the while, I kept my fine art business going. Painting kept me afloat through every life change, and I owe a bit of my ability to find balance in chaos to oil painting. Portraiture, wildlife, landscape, still life, and impressionistic abstract are a few of my favorite subjects.
In addition to my passion for painting, I find peace in baking, cooking, designing, and any medium I can get my hands on. I feel as though my childhood love of ‘making’ has come full circle to where I am in life today.
Are you from Colorado? Which neighborhood did you eventually choose to call home? And why?
I am from the Chicagoland area originally, but for the past 7 years or so I have called Colorado home! I currently live in Arvada, but have tested out almost every neighborhood in the Denver area.My fiance and I love our quiet life in Arvada, and are able to live peacefully near a park with all the city amenities just a few minutes away.With both nature and the city nearby, we have the best of both worlds.
How does the Human Form, Nature, and environment inspire your work?
The relationships between human form, nature, and the environment we exist in are constant points of interest for me. With organic elements existing within each point mentioned, the connections are undeniable.Exploring how humans are intertwined within the world we live in will always be fascinating to me. As an interdisciplinary artist, I hope to help bridge the gap between fine art and the unique world of design.
What are some of your favorite pieces / design items you’ve created that you want to highlight?
I have loved paying my respects to the wildlife in Colorado via oil painting; my favorite pieces can be found here . I have also been very excited about extending my creative services into the Branding Design world.Finding design solutions and bringing brands to life has been so rewarding! A few examples of my design can be found here .
How would you describe the Personality or “Vibe” of Denver?
I would say Denver’s vibe is a mixture of old-school western culture, modern and bustling city life, and of course the brewery and food scene is always growing! Denver is a great place to be for a creative person who enjoys being outside, being a part of community growth, and a sense of fearlessness to make an impact!
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