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Meet Bianca Gunderson of Lotus Theory Designs in Peoria

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bianca Gunderson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been the creative type as long as I can remember. As a young child, I remember saving up my allowance so I could go to Woolworths and buy art materials (showing my age a bit). I couldn’t wait to create what I thought were the most amazing masterpieces with a couple of Crayola’s and blank sheets of white paper.

Fast forward into adulthood, it seemed natural that I would tap back into the desire to color the world fancy, only this time using furniture as my canvas.

It all started a few years ago when the furniture painting trend started to get some momentum. I have always loved custom painted furniture. When this form of art started to become more mainstreamed, I responded to the call to “give it a shot”. I took an old plant stand I had and painted it. Little did I know, that plant stand would be the gateway to a full blown furniture painting addiction! I went from plant stand to nightstand, nightstand to coffee table. Until ultimately, I was taking on bigger and bolder statement pieces!

The evolution of my creative journey in the furniture painting world has been astounding. Years of research, trial and error, and practice has brought me to a place that I can say with confidence – I have arrived. My early pieces were good, but my current work is quality artistry. I am proud of this journey and am excited at the prospect of looking back in another year to take stock on another level of my progression.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A smooth road? No. But most things worth having come with the price of a little sweat and tears.

Though not smooth, I would say the road has been rewarding. Overcoming obstacles along the way has increased my self-esteem and encouraged me to keeping plugging away so that I may be better than I was even a day ago.

I am big on research and proper application. I have found that though some paints may market their line as “no prep needed”, prep is ALWAYS needed. There are no short cuts, as I have found along the way. Many of my early pieces weren’t the smooth, consistent, durable works of art they are today. It’s amazing how filling holes, sanding, and repairs can really make the difference between a good piece of work and a stellar finished product! It took me a long time to really get a system down that is fool-proof, but I have and always feel accomplished now more than ever when I complete a project.

The artistry comes naturally to me, but like many artists, the business side is where I have really struggled. I could paint all day, but learning how to market, present a professional exhibit, managing websites and social media pages, etcetera has been the area in which I have really needed to apply myself to create value for what I do. Like so many, learning these processes is like learning a second language. I would say I have put as much time into the challenge of getting my work in front of a larger network of people as I have learning the craft itself. It is paying off, as now I sell on a national level and ship throughout the continental US. Just recently I sold a piece to a client in Brooklyn, NY! Challenge accepted and overcome!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lotus Theory Designs – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I relish in bringing BOLD, FUNKY, FRESH, and LIBERATED works of art into an otherwise monochromatic world. My furniture is all about expressing the evolution of my personal journey through the wonders of re-design.

When I was searching for a name that identifies both my business and my life, I kept getting inspired by the lotus flower: A beautiful flower blooming from the dirty swamps, undeterred by the elements of which it was rooted. It is the very theory of the Lotus Flower that epitomizes my life, as well as my creations.

I specialize in creating eclectic works of art on furniture, rather than a more mild approach to the craft. Vintage furniture and antiques are my jam. I love taking an old piece with a story and giving it a new chapter in its life.

I am known for my fearless uses of color and elegant, yet sometimes quirky designs. The pieces I create usually lean towards the ornate styles, however some of my finest works have been created from the most basic of canvases. I recently said that my goal is to make myself as uncomfortable as possible in my art so that I know I am taking steps in a forward motion, rather than standing still.

What I am most proud of is what also sets me apart from others. I am a furniture artist, not a furniture painter. Over time, I have developed a style exclusive to Lotus Theory. Many people instantly recognize a piece of mine from the pool without looking any deeper into who the creator is. Developing my brand in this way, in effect, makes me feel knighted, as if I have earned a badge of recognition and acceptance. My followers often tell me that they look forward to “what Lotus will do next”. This anticipation is rewarding and drives me to always strive to present the world with something different and uniquely outside-of-the-box.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
One future plan that I will always have is to become a better artist. For me, learning is never over and I look forward to continuing my education.

I do have some plans in my back pocket that will be developed over time. Some of the things I am working toward in the future involves a more interactive website, real estate, and furthering my brand development.

My current focus, however, is to create a future where furniture artists aren’t stifled by the restrictions of what’s perceived as “the right way” of doing things according to a mass theory. With the help of another artist and dear friend (Stacey of Renewed Spirit Home), together we have developed a community on Facebook where artists can break the chains that make them feel as if they have to paint/present their work in a way that conforms to one idea. Our goal is to inspire them to creative freedom! After all, we are artists, not robots.

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Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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