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Shawna X: Making to Make, Not to Make It

Shawna X: Making to Make, Not to Make It

Shawna X lives life in the gray zone. Some might be stuck between emotions and ideas but this artist finds her inspiration and greatest ideas in between dichotomies as she creates beautiful pieces for her brand Bad Boy Nice Girl.

What is the story behind your brand?

I have to say the theme of my work has been very therapeutic – unabashed, impulsive yet thoughtful, vain yet philosophical, dirty and pure – I love the dichotomy that comes with this crazy life we all have to go through – thus Bad Boy Nice Girl. Nothing is black and white, but a ton of grayscales.

What did you work with before you started your company? Is it something you do full time? If not, what else do you do?

I have been a designer ever since I can remember, so I still work as a designer, mainly branding and digital work for agencies, and I still love print design but my work I do not work with it as much – it’s a good way to balance my ‘crazy’, all over the place illustrative side to my calm, minimal, structured side.


Why did you start your shop? Was there any special moment that made you decide to go for it?
I started making cards and prints for no other reason but to share my work, and I’ve started to understand and appreciate the value of “I can make that.” I have held onto the idea that making for the sake of making, not making it – and that sentiment has pushed me all these lengths and beyond. I have always created for the sake of creating, and I think I learned that in my last year of college. Basically I was about to graduate with an ad/journalism degree and move to SF for an agency job when my professor gave me a ‘free pass’ to join the BFA in digital arts though I did not have any requisites. I have to say that extra year in school really pushed me to think analytically and present my voice visually. I am truly thankful for that.

What’s the passion the drives the company forward and where do you get your inspiration?

I think the passion comes from knowing yourself, what your voice is, and how to connect with everyone else. For me, my passion is the ability to express any thought, from shallow to deep, from dirty to pure, without any hold backs, and when I meet or see works like this, that also becomes my inspiration.

Do you remember any other significant dates/stories for your business?

When people would email me and tell me how much the receiver loved what I made, or the inside jokes that they related to – I loved that connection with someone I haven’t even met IRL. I used to design a lot of fun wallpaper for phones and desktops. I designed the carpet for the Portland (where I’m from) airport – and in the year they’ve been renovating the airport, the carpet design has blown up and I have been seen that pattern on everything – from socks to jackets to shoes – but I’d like to think at least I provided the free version for your phone and desktop. Now I am starting to switch into a more personal role, in which I am creating work mostly from my intuition, and not so much for the masses. I have been slowly curating myself to the most genuine form of me, especially moving to NY almost a year ago with no plans – being lost and feeling completely bewildered had really helped me get to this point.


Do you ever regret going your own way?

Never! I want to keep on making – I want to expand beyond illustration and just live a life where I am constantly curious. My own thing really helps hone this ideal.

How does one of your products go from idea to physical product?
The idea and physical product is easy, since I feel like I am very in tune with what I like, so I make it, and with experience I know how to produce. The hard thing is to expand beyond this comfort level – but this is exactly what my life process is about – about pushing my limits, getting comfortable, then pushing on again.

Which product is the most fun to create?

I think all of these products are fun in its own way, whether if the ‘fun’ is in the ideation or the creation – they all have its own challenges and it has been interesting to see the response.

Which product in your store is your favorite at the moment, and why?
I still love the neon signs since they are so different than the other prints I’ve been making – I am challenged to make more of a similar, more physical product.


What’s the best thing about being your own boss?

The best is that I have flexibility, and the worst is that I have flexibility.

Do you sometimes work remote? I.e. work from home, from a summer place, a different country?
I make work remote all the time. It’s important to get a change of space/scenery – but it’s also important to remember NOT to work and to enjoy the moment outside of producing.

You seem to travel around, whats your favorite place you been to so far?

While I love the novelty of exotic, unpaved countries as any other person, I have to say my favorite place is in the Southwestern US – the majestic eastern sierras and White Sands in New Mexico – being so small in such grandiose, harsh, and contrasty environments speaks volumes to my visual and emotional cores.