Darrah Dean Gooden is the artist behind the Etsy print shop Tiny Fawn, where she creates and sells tissue paper collage prints that are reminiscent of our favorite children’s books, sparking the imaginations of kids and adults alike. We liked them so much, Darrah’s work is featured in our holiday catalog! See more of Darrah’s work and read our chat about puff paint, favorite illustrators, and more…
What’s your history as an artist?
I have been playing with art supplies for as long as I can remember. When I was a small girl, my mom taught art lessons in our home basement during the summers. She also owned a hand painted t-shirt business in the 80’s when puff paint was in its prime, so it was only natural that I was encouraged to pursue creativity. I remember painting my own t-shirts and sculpting earrings and brooches out of cardboard and clay.
The wall color in my bedroom was ever changing and my middle school book covers were tagged with hundreds of miniature pen and ink illustrations. Years passed and I went on to earn a BFA degree with a painting emphasis.
After graduating, I began working with individual clients and designers to create custom large scale oil, acrylic and collage pieces with subject matter ranging from portraiture to landscape. I continue to do custom pieces today, but the majority of my attention is now focused on the work I create for Tiny Fawn.
What originally inspired the collage print series?
I have been working in collage for quite a while, but it wasn’t until I became a mother that I found myself inspired to create the animal prints. I began reading the same children’s books to my son that I had once loved as a small girl, and I started to revisit those memories that had originally compelled me to create. My first memorable watercolor painting at the age of six was of a fawn. I was so proud of that painting. One nostalgic evening, I decided to paint a large scale acrylic fawn on canvas, which in turn motivated me to design a minimal version that would hang in my toddler son’s room. Thus “Edie Fawn” was born out of cut tissue paper, and a host of cut paper creatures soon followed suit.
What has been inspiring you, recently?
My neighborhood! I live in the Lower Greenville area of Dallas and it has recently been undergoing a lot of transformation. Local artists and entrepreneurs are beginning to breathe new life into a former ghost town that was occupied by lonely storefronts and empty bars. Instead of nice shiny new buildings, I am inspired by their resolve to restore what was already there, often using repurposed junkyard materials with approachable personality.
Who are some other artists you admire?
There are so many artists that I admire. Some that immediately stand out as markers in my own journey are Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Rauschenberg, Charley Harper and children’s book illustrators, Jolly Roger Bradfield and Eric Carle. I have also been a long time admirer of Etsy artist Claire Nereim of Plant Planet, amongst many others.
Do you have a personal motto?
It has become a bit of a joke, but I often find myself saying, “I’ll burn that bridge when I get there”, while my husband is quick to follow up with, “after you cross to the other side.” I suppose burning the bridge wouldn’t be super helpful in most situations, but my intent is only to imply that I will figure out what to do when the time comes. I am generally not much of a planner.
I can specifically relate this to art making. I usually begin with a blurry vision of how I foresee a finished piece, but the process to get there is mostly unpredictable. I love the feeling of pushing through stuck, messy moments and finding solutions that work, allowing the whole piece to magically come to life.
Read about all of our catalog-featured Etsy artists here!
Images: Darrah Gooden