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Artist Spotlight: Willa Heart


Welcome to the wildly creative world of one of my current favorites: Willa Heart.  The brainchild of Aly Harris is bursting with pink, chinoiserie, and is a Palm Beach confection come to life. 

This artist has cemented a very tangible brand that is conveyed in her colors, subject matter, and wit.  I know you will be as captivated as I am: the world of Willa Heart is like a siren song for sure. 

Here is a question and answer with Aly. I know you will enjoy her, the work she creates, and the empire she is swiftly growing as I do. 

1.)    Tell us a little about yourself: 

I was born and raised in Boston and moved down to South Carolina 3 years ago. I was diagnosed as Dyslexic when I was very young. My dyslexia makes me a super visual and creative. I have to think about everything differently so it makes me see everything differently. Growing up it was really hard because I couldn’t read and couldn’t spell but now, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

2.)    How long have you been in business and how did you get started? 

 Last winter I met Megan Carn at a painting class she was teaching. We hit it off and she commissioned me to paint some pink dogs. I loved them so much that I painted more for myself. I posted a photo of them on my tiny little Instagram (we are talking 73 followers!) and somehow Teggy French found the photo and contacted me. I sent her the original and made a little website and boom, Willa Heart was a thing. That was in March of 2017 so it has been 6 months.

Teggy French 

3.)    What are your inspirations? 

I am really into fashion illustration right now. All of the old Schiaparelli advertisements are perfect to me. The colors, the shapes, the movement & the simplicity are so inspiring.

 

4.)    What is your favorite color? 

 Pink. To me, it is perfect. It is such a moody color and I love that. Fuchsia is loud and excited while light pink is calming and soft. I could happily live in a world of all pink.

5.)    Tell us about your favorite artists? 

 I love Christian Berard, Marcel Vertes & early Warhol. They did a lot of the Schiaparelli Adverts I love so much. They were all such incredible illustrators. I also love Henry Darger, his story is insane. He was a reclusive janitor and spent all his time painting. They found all his work when he passed away. He is very Google worthy!

 

Henry Darger's Work from The American Folk Museum

 

6.)    What areas do you want to expand your business into? 

This is a tough question because I want to try everything! Since I just started the business, I am taking it slow and seeing what works for me. Long term, I want Willa Heart to expand and grow naturally into a fortune 500. 

 

7.)    How did you come up with the name Willa Heart? 

Willa is my mom’s middle name and even though she has always hated it, I love it. I think it is such a pretty name. When I was coming up with names for my business, I wrote down a bunch of words I liked and paired them up. Willa Heart just clicked.

 

9.)    What is your favorite local restaurant? 

Mill Pond Steakhouse! It’s this amazing restaurant out in the woods right by where we live. It is delish and so pretty. We always request a table by the window because if you go at dusk, you will see alligators! Last time we even saw a fox. I highly recommend the cobbler.  

 

Mill Pond Steakhouse

10.) What is your favorite book? 

I love to listen to books on tape. They aren’t really on tape, I use an app called audible. I love David Sedaris. His books make me laugh out loud. I also love Harry Potter and I will happily listen to any autobiography.

David Sedaris

11.) Where is your next Trip? 

We have a bunch of weekend trips planned over then next few months, Palm Beach to visit my family, Naples to visit my husband’s family, Charleston to eat food and shop & Ashville to see my husband’s favorite band. We need to plan a real vacation but can’t decide where we want to go. I am open to suggustions!