Thumbnail: Meet Jaime Derringer

Where are you from and where do you reside?

I’m originally from New Jersey, but I live and work in San Diego, CA.

As a self-taught artist, how did you develop your personal style and technique?

I don’t feel like I’ve developed a personal style or technique yet, but I definitely feel that I’m closer to it now more than ever. I find that self-teaching forces you to jump in headfirst and try anything and everything you can. As a recovering perfectionist, I needed to progress from one thing to another quickly so as to escape the need to perfect something before moving on. It’s been a challenge!

Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been creative ever since I can remember. As a little girl, I was always experimenting with something new. One week, it was calligraphy, making beads or molding clay the next. I never pursued it as a possible career path and then when I became an adult and started working, I kind of let it fall to the wayside. I spent a lot of my youth writing stories and poems, and I’ve been trying to get back to poetry again, too. I hope to somehow merge my poetry and art.

You are the founder and executive director of Design Milk and Dog Milk. How did you start these ventures and what inspired the name?

Design Milk started back in 2006 when I needed a creative outlet, but also some furniture for my house. I began using it as a place to collect the lovely things I was finding online to decorate my home, but then it organically grew into a place where I shared everything and anything related to modern art and design. I was surprised and delighted when I discovered there were more people out there who liked the same things I did. In 2010, I launched Dog Milk as a fun place for design and dog lovers to find out about new products. The “Milk” in the name started out as a fun joke but it was memorable and stuck. Now, we like to equate it with a daily dose of “Vitamin D” — ”D” standing for “Design.”

Are there artists you have worked with or featured on Design Milk that have influenced your work? How so?

Definitely. After almost 8 years of featuring contemporary art, it’s bound to rub off! I think Design Milk has had a profound impact on both my sense of style and my personal artwork. Not just the art we feature, but the innovative materials and methods used by designers in the creation of their furniture, products, and other designs has been very impactful. Even the furniture designs themselves have been influential. Sometimes the lines of a mirror or the symmetry of a chair will inspire me. Seeing how artists and designers push the envelope as to what’s possible has always been something that I’ve related too.

Also, watching the growth of designers and artists over many years of featuring their work has also been inspirational — I’ve watched businesses take off, careers grow, directions change, and artists evolve. It’s motivating!

My gut is often how I make decisions in terms of business, and I typically go along with it for art, too.

Jaime Derringer

Where do you go to look for inspiration for your works (compositions, forms, colors, etc.)?

I don’t plan any of my work, so as far as compositions and form goes, I just go with the flow. I like to choose some colors ahead of time, and I have a color chart that I reference quite a bit to make sure I’m choosing complementary colors. My gut is often how I make decisions in terms of business, and I typically go along with it for art, too.

Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?

Maybe that I like to wear UGGs. Sometimes you just gotta go with function over form. Don’t tell anyone!