Brenda Murphy is an artist, designer and founder of Luna B Studio.  Drawing and painting have been an obsession of hers for as long as she can remember. Growing up in the Irish countryside has also provided a constant source of inspiration for her.  After completing her Art & Design Foundation course at Belfast Art College she went on to complete a BA in Theatre Design, specialising in scenic art. Having spent 10 years living in the buzz of London working first in Interior Design, then as an Art & Design teacher, she has recently come back to her roots in the North Coast of Ireland. Luna B's prints are now being stocked in Broader Picture in Portstewart, BTS in Coleraine and Studio Souk in Belfast.

We caught up with Brenda to find out more about her business and what has influenced her work!

How has your background in Theatre Design influenced your work?

My degree in Theatre & Performance Design was such a wonderful and enriching experience. The idea of taking a story or narrative and creating a visual aesthetic to go along with it is equally challenging and exciting. It involves creating moments in time, considering not just visuals but also texture, lighting, mood and feeling. It’s only as I look back with hindsight I can see the correlation between this experience and the pieces I create now. As an artist I feel I am attempting to capture a moment in time, a quiet reflectiveness. Most of my art is very detailed and is laborious to create, taking many hours, but I genuinely love the process and the feeling of getting lost in creating something. I hope that this translates for the viewer and can give them a similar feeling. Something which can be a challenge now is finding reflective, mindful moments in our busy lives. Nature is my main inspiration as she is the ultimate teacher in design, decay and cycles of change. Stopping to contemplate a wild flower or a fallen feather can really help us to slow down and appreciate the fleeting beauty around us. This I suppose is the aim of my work, observing the familiar and creating a moment to celebrate the artistry of it.

Another element of course is that any kind of design discipline is based around problem-solving, this has been particularly beneficial in starting my business as you have to be flexible and able to adapt creatively to little problems as they arise. I have been teaching myself a lot of Photoshop and even managed to create my own website (believe me this was a challenge as I’m not naturally tech-minded!). My design background also helped when it came to creating my logo and branding, it can be hard to settle on one defined ‘look’ but I actually found this side of it really fun, it pulls everything together and gives your business an identity.

What are some of your tips for designers setting up shop outside of Belfast? How do you stay connected?

I’m still working on this one! I’ve only been back in the North Coast for a few months but so far I would say that social media is a great tool. Instagram in particular is good for creative people and a good way to discover what’s happening in your area as well as keeping connected to things in the city. It’s great to be close enough to Belfast that I can easily travel back and forth when I need to. I am also making sure to maintain my connections in London (where I lived for 10 years).

Secondly I would say don’t be afraid to reach out to people, introduce yourself and let them know what you are doing. Also on this note don’t take rejection personally, your work/product/ideas won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok! The most important thing is to be true to yourself and your work.

What would be the ultimate dream for your business?

I have a list of ideas for Luna B Studio that I keep adding to on a daily basis! Within the next year I would like to work with Northern Irish manufacturers and branch into homeware design; wallpaper and accessories. I also hope to do some bespoke interior murals and larger artworks as I have done a lot of scenic painting in the past and I love working on a bigger scale. I just want to keep challenging myself creatively and building relationships with more stockists and customers. In addition to Luna B Studio I teach art to children and young people with special educational needs, which is so enjoyable and rewarding. An ultimate dream would be to one day have a big amazing studio space where I can run art workshops alongside continuing with my own practice. Art is a powerful thing.