Maker Feature No. 003
At its core, Sozo is a brand that celebrates artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and of course, makers. We do this by supporting their work and telling their stories through our SOZO Maker Features.
Lydia Troy, painter and artist, sat down with us for an interview conducted by our team to discuss what being an American maker means to her. Read her full interview and shop her look below.
Tell us about how you got into painting and when?
I’ve been creating all of my life. I tragically lost my brother in 2017 and pushed aside a lot of my passions, including painting. Recently, a dear friend of mine bought me some canvas and a few paints and basically forced me to get back into painting again. I ended up picking it right back up like riding a bike and have been doing it nonstop since. It was the best gift I’ve ever received.
What style of painting do you do?
I’m an Abstract painter and use mostly acrylic paint and mixed materials.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a creative?
I did! It was always a passion and felt natural.
Do you have any other passions beyond painting?
Absolutely. I love interior design and have a passion for Midcentury Modern Furniture. During the pandemic, I started a small business reselling vintage furniture and clothing called Johnny Boy Vintage. I still sometimes source for items when I’m thrifting on the weekends, however, my main focus now is on painting.
If you could describe your art in three words, what would they be?
Authentic, Earthy, Expressive
How has your craft developed and grown over the years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
In the beginning stages, I shadowed an amazing artist here in Cleveland, Laura Naples. She’s extremely talented yet humble and she inspired me to stay true to myself and to not be afraid. Cleveland is so special in the way that the community really does love to support others and craftsmanship. I feel as if my art displays where I’m currently at in life right now. I am super happy with my career and myself. I’ve grown a lot mentally over the years and I am the most patient and present that I’ve ever been. However, my art will always evolve. I feel as if the end goal would be to eventually master a technique of my own and to have a gorgeous studio space! :)
Take us through your creative process - what inspires and motivates your art?
Mood is huge for me when starting out a new piece. I have to feel good in my space in order to have the right mindset to create. I mentioned before that I love interior design and I often think that furniture, music and good lighting is a great way to get into the creative flow. I will also go on hikes as well if I’m not feeling inspired and often nature does a good job at presenting beauty naturally~ that usually will spark an idea for upcoming piece.
Where do you feel most creative? Are there any environments which lower your productivity?
I am the most creative and comfortable in my home or outside.
How do you maintain a life/work balance?
Painting is therapy to me. If I’m not in the mood or need a break I allow myself to have that. I think work/life balance is extremely important and I never want to paint with the wrong mindset. Allowing your body to rest and your mind to reset helps you to hold on to your passions and by doing I feel as if I will never hold a grudge or consider painting to be a “job.”
How do you approach what you wear day-to-day?
Style has always been a huge part of who I am. I have admired vintage clothing and the different eras of fashion my entire life. Typically when picking out my day-to-day look, I always try to incorporate something that’s unique and one of a kind. It makes me feel good knowing that I’m still giving life to a piece that someone else once loved and rocked.
You have a strong social media presence that showcases your personal style and craft - do you feel like social media offers you a different way of being creative?
Yes! I used to think that you had to pick one outlet of creativity but I believe that social media can highlight all of your creative outlets. It’s too hard for me to pick one thing that I love most. I try not to focus too hard on what my page looks like. I want people to follow me that are inspired by my work and who I am as a person.
How would you define success? Both professionally and personally?
Success overall is happiness. Personally I have never defined success as to how much money or luxury goods one owns. I take pride in a deal and not overworking myself. Being successful is simply being present, happy and content with who you are and what you do. It’s also important to know your worth, never settle and don’t give up on what talent God’s places in your lap.
Lastly, with SOZO’s main mission being to restore American made craftsmanship, what does being an American maker mean to you?
I grew up in a very creative home. My dad handmade all of the furniture in our house, he was inspired by the 18th century and Colonial Williamsburg. Watching my dad use antique tools while hand carving a piece of wood that turned into dining room chairs, a highboy, or a game table was such a unique talent and made everything in our house so special. It showed me hard work, passion and to appreciate true good quality craftsmanship. As an adult, I take pride in buying handmade material goods and I hope to show good quality and hard work within every piece of art that I create.