A Chat With Steffi Foo, Artist

A Chat With Steffi Foo, Artist

Words by Arabella Peterson 


Life can throw us some unexpected curveballs, as 2020 keeps reminding us. For visual artist
Steffi Foo, this came in the form of a life overhaul, moving from the fashion industry in Canada to the far shores of Australia. 


Steffi's combination of earthy tones, fluid lines and negative space has resonated not only in her newfound home, but across the globe. She finds inspiration in architecture and home interiors and in only a short period, has managed to create a full-time job (and adoring customer base) with her art. Steffi credits her early wins to the support of her family and friends and believes her ongoing success is down to a mix of inviting her clients into the artistic process, and her willingness to share her vulnerabilities. She describes her inspiration for the work she created for the DP x Steffi Foo collaboration as a “representation of a strong, beautiful and empowered woman”, which hits the nail on the head in summing up the DP muse. 

It's for all of these reasons—and many more—that we knew Steffi would be a perfect Dead Pretty collaborator. Read our chat below and then check out our Dead Pretty x Steffi Foo Tee. We think you're going to love it!


Your background is in fashion and business. How did you make the transition to becoming an artist? 

It was circumstance and having art as a creative release which led me to become an artist. Back in Canada, I worked in a very tolling role in fashion and had reached a point of burnout. What quickly followed was probably one of the boldest things I've done thus far, but I decided to quit my job and move to Australia.

The first role I worked in when moving to Australia was in Health and Wellness events management, which gave me taste and a new love for event styling, and about a year later transitioned into an event styling agency. Little did I know that a few months later, a worldwide pandemic would hit and the events industry would be one of the first industries to be impacted. So this is what I mean by circumstance. It was the middle of March, and my hours had been decreased to 4 hours a week. I had to face the reality of not being able to continue living out my dream of being in Australia, but this quickly changed for me (and by quickly I mean the next week). 

My friends and family had heard of my situation and wanted to help. They knew I wouldn't accept financial help easily, so the first thing that came to mind was purchasing artwork from me. Soon after, through word of mouth, it was friends of friends, then complete strangers who had heard of my art and were reaching out to me on my new art Instagram account @bysteffifoo to place an order. 

What about Australia inspires you?  

I love the creative and collaborative culture here in Australia. I am constantly inspired by the creatives all around me and their will to share their stories and tips to help others start their new venture. Asides from that, living by the beach is an absolute treat! 

You only started promoting your art on Instagram very recently, and have garnered a solid fanbase already! How have you accomplished 100+ orders and multiple collaborations in this time?

I believe it was through being vulnerable in sharing my story as well as focusing on the client experience, which led to achieving a great following from the start. People relate to stories, so if you take the time to tell it honestly, they will feel more connected to the service/product you are trying to put out in the world. Always start with your WHY and let that develop your idea and motivation behind it.  

You create personalised artworks by allowing customers to choose their colour palette, face and design elements. What inspired you to create your art in this way?   

At the start of this venture, I was getting orders for pieces I had already done, but soon after, I was getting order inquiries and had no more art on hand. This is when I saw the opportunity for clients to tell me what they were after and allow them to be a part of the artistic process. In return, people received pieces of art that they felt connected to and also customised to their space.  


Your work is beautifully minimal, combining earthy, natural, muted tones and fluid shapes, what draws you to this style? 

I find inspiration in architecture and interiors. I have always had a fascination with Art Deco as well as Greek Mediterranean architecture, and this is where I draw out most of my inspiration for style and composition. My pieces of art are what I would envision inside these homes.  

How has COVID affected your career and the creative industry in Sydney? Have there been any highs and lows, and how do you envision the art scene moving forward? 

As mentioned in the earlier question, my career was greatly impacted at the start of COVID but looking back it is exactly what I needed to open up a venture I had never even considered as an option for me. Also, as of two weeks ago, I decided to resign from my event styling role and take on the art full time!

I believe that this was definitely a time where people had to think creatively to pivot their businesses to the new times, and it has been inspiring watching so many flourish in ways they never would've imagined. 


Who are some artists you love that we should know about?

I am inspired by the works of Bonnie Gray, whose artwork is inspired by her daily simple life pleasures like morning walks and market runs, smoothies and fresh flowers. Her colour palette is also so dreamy and straight-up YUM!

Thierry Porter is another fave of mine based in the UK. His work is minimal elegance meets the human body form as he specialised in line drawings of the nude human figure.

What was your inspiration behind the work you made for the DP collab? 

My design for DP is a representation of a strong, beautiful and empowered woman. This is for the woman inside of each of us, the women in our lives and the women who don't have their own voice and need our voices to speak for them. 

What's in store for the rest of 2020? 

Lots of fun things! The launch of a new website, new items added to my product line and hopefully more creative collaborations! STAY TUNED