I often have to remind myself that younger generations have never known a world without internet. I think it will be many more years before we are able to fully appreciate just how profoundly the digital revolution of the last 30 years has affected just about every aspect of our lives – for better or for worse. As I am mostly a glass-half-full kind of person, I prefer to focus on the former. The booming blogosphere has given us access to a whole new set of creative visionaries, whose refreshing ideas and stylish lives has provided me – and millions of others – with a bottomless source of inspiration.
Designer, artist, and New York Times best-selling author, and founder of The Jungalow™, Justina Blakeney is one such person. Justina is known for her colorful, patternful and plant-iful aesthetic. With an online audience of over 2,000,000 (!), Justina has created a design movement which encourages people to experiment, let loose and decorate wild! That has just become a little easier as she launched her very first textile collection at Calico, based on her original artwork and woven in heavy cotton and rayon/poly blends. All are Crypton Home fabrics whose performance technology is engineered into every fiber, so spills bead up, stains clean easily, and odors don’t cling. What's not to love?
Justina lives in Los Angeles with her husband Jason, young daughter Ida, kitty Luda, and 52 (really!) indoor plants. She was a real sport in agreeing to answer all my nosy off-beat interview questions:
Do you have a nickname?
Growing up everyone called me Tina and even "T" but when I came back from Italy after living there for seven years I decided to go by my real name: Justina. I was 28. Nowadays people I'm close with often shorten that to "J" but to my family and old-school homies, I'm always gonna be "T."
What did you childhood room look like?
I had disco-ball drapes, hand-painted murals all over the place and posters of Prince, Audrey Hepburn and Lenny Kravitz on my walls.
What did you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be different things at different stages: a singer, a teacher, an actress, a diplomat, a journalist, a costume designer, a trapeze artist.
What were you like in high school?
In high school I was pretty much as I am now: very busy with all kinds of projects, ideas, and creative pursuits. I was an over-achiever. I was artsy, a bit geeky and totally boy-crazy.
What is your spirit animal?
What was the last gift you gave someone?
I just gave Caitlin, our in-house graphic designer a pair of Lucite lamps I was ready to part with.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I am a milky hue a jade green. I am refreshing and a little bit different--but you can put me anywhere and I'll somehow fit in.
Do you have pets?
We have a bad cat named Ludacat.
Who is your hero?
What's your guilty pleasure?
Game of Thrones.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
My dress got caught in an escalator and I came dangerously close to being completely nude at a trade show. Yeah. That was hilarious. ;)
What was the last picture you took with your phone?
A picture of the kitchen remodel that is underway at our new studio.
Best compliment you have ever received?
When my daughter told me that I was the best mama in the world!
I can never have too many...
Favorite rule to break?
Any rule that has to do with what colors 'go with' other colors.
What do you do to get into your creative zone?
What's your go-to outfit?
Rachel Pally jumpsuit, comfy sandals and some kind of big, chunky jewelry.
What are you working on now/next?
Taking over the world, one plant at a time ;)
What inspires you?
Nature. People who are real and amazing. My daughter.
What's the theme song of your life?
Stevie wonder You are the sunshine of my life
Best advice you've ever gotten?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.