Candice Luter is a testament to us all for turning our hobbies into businesses and to mothers that it is possible to do your art and be a mother. As a fellow creative and mother, I am deeply inspired by Candice.

Candice is a versatile artist, exploring various medium. Her art has not only been recognized but also commercially successful, with her works being featured and sold at stores like Target, Bloomingdales, Lulu and Georgia, and more. Operating her business, Candice Luter Art + Interiors, from the midwest, Candice’s work is proof to her talent and dedication. I encourage you to explore more of her creations and consider adding them to your collection.

Thank you, Candice, for sharing your world with us! Enjoy a look for yourself below. 

Tell us about yourself:

I began creating artwork from my home studio as just a hobby while juggling being a full-time working single mom.

Overwhelmed by the orders and unsure how to scale, I quickly began training and hiring women to help replicate and ship my work to fulfill order requests. This all reached a tipping point during the COVID-19 pandemic. After being laid off from my full-time job, I moved our team into a studio and jumped in full-time with Candice Luter Art + Interiors. In 2021, I was the global grand prize winner of Etsy’s Design Awards. I had the opportunity to design a home decor collection for Target as part of Black History Month. Having worked with major retailers such as West Elm, Bloomingdales, All Modern, Perigold, Lulu and Georgia, and Wayfair, Candice Luter Art + Interiors maintains and continues to grow our Midwest studio specializing in freelance design, hospitality installations, and small batch manufacturing of custom furniture and home décor.

What kind of physical/mental space are you in when you create? 

When I have the downtime to create, I plan that intentional workspace from either my studio when the team has left for the day or in my own living room when the mood strikes. When I’m at the studio with all materials at my disposal, it’s a reckless abandon work session with music on blast to fit my mood, which usually falls somewhere between Lana Del Ray and Like Saturn. When I’m at home, it’s more of the same, but with fewer materials on hand, it provides a focused perspective on how a decor piece can fit within a space. My house directly reflects my product line, with most of its artwork being the first prototypes. Being around those pieces while designing allows for influence to keep the brand consistent but also encourages more of the styling side as to how a new piece can complement (not compete) with other decor, whether my own or purchased elsewhere. 

I usually go into design mode with a few ideas for executing the end result I’m trying to achieve and working backward. Then, from the backward, in the end, the medium takes over, and I submit to the design itself, allowing it to move me in the direction it wants. Sometimes, I end up exactly where I want to be, and other times, I’m in a completely different direction, but the result is the same… it’s organic and becomes a physical expression of a part of me. I always learn something about myself as well as the materials itself; a beautiful union to let go and give way to newfound freedoms

Is there a defining moment in your life that speaks to who you are as an artist today?

I had the fantastic opportunity to do freelance design work for Target a few years ago. While I felt very confident and prepared each week I would meet with their team, I still felt like I was holding back. It wasn’t until a pivotal moment that I will never forget that it changed me forever. One of the directors stopped the meeting and said, “Candice, I can tell you are playing it safe. Don’t. Even if you think it’s something we wouldn’t consider producing. I still want you to go there.” It was the first time someone saw something inside of me that was hiding; I just wanted to play it safe and be accepted. That day, I was given permission to be who I was created to be and design how I saw the world. I cried after that meeting because I was so happy with the freedom I felt, and from that moment on, I’ve taken on the mindset that there is a time to be trendy a

What kind of materials do you use in your work?  

I work with a lot of mirrored glass, cotton rope, ink, and cement-like textures. I try to push the envelope as to what I want the medium and materials to do for me rather than lean into what is expected of them from a broader perspective. So when I find success combining two or three of them, I embark on a new adventure worth tapping into and stretching the limits of what I can do and the pieces themselves. 

Tell us about your link collection?  

Who doesn’t love a connected wood chain, but it’s even better when there’s a soft subtle texture involved and it’s oversized! I challenged my team to think outside the box when it came to the piles of leftover fiber we had from our rope clippings that were just getting thrown away. One of our stylists came to me weeks later and asked to show me a technique she had developed with some of the scraps. I was in love! I began thinking of ways to incorporate this technique into my designs, and Link was one of the products that resulted! I love this textured application because of its intricacies and because it has a great green story. It also gives the buyer the freedom to display this piece however they envision. We have had various designers display them in different ways, from the ceiling to draping them from the wall to the floor. It’s important to me to create flexible products that give another person the freedom to take them to the next level for their own designs.  

We love to see you dipping into the fashion world. Tell us all about it!

It’s always been important to me to look for inspiration in other design industries that are different from mine to keep things fresh. Fashion has always been one of them, and in my spare time, you’ll easily find me in front of a mannequin deconstructing, assembling, and pinning whatever materials are available. It has opened up my creativity in furniture and decor design in ways I never imagined. Instead of looking at one of our basic mirrors as just a mirror, I have reframed my thinking beyond what a flat surface can do. In my recent launch, “Shroud,” you’ll find layered fabrics cloaking glass as a functional art installation. I have been having so much fun that I recently shot an updated portfolio reinterpretation of my work as fashion accessories. Staging wall art on walls is just boring! To say I’m having a blast is an understatement!  

How did your grandmother inspire your fiber sculptures? 

My grandmother was an incredible artist, something I didn’t appreciate when I was younger and growing up. She had an incredible knack for seeing beauty in the most mundane things. I can now appreciate her unique perspective. While she was naturally gifted in all areas of art, she seemed to gravitate towards weaving and did it simply for the joy that it brought to others when she gave it away. A part of me knows if she was still on this earth how happy she would be to see the life I’ve put together for myself in design. I also know she would come up with some crazy, out-of-the-box perspective that I had never considered, and it would have really challenged me in the way I see my work.

How does color impact your work?

I am a neutral girl at heart. Color can be overwhelming for me because of the energy it can demand, so even in my home (as well as my wardrobe), you will see color usually toned down on the muddy side.

My artwork is very similar, so our neutral palette works well for many designers because it’s so easy to incorporate into a space. However, I get to live through all my color-loving design friends when they want to take one of our pieces on as a custom. Since all of my products are made-to-order here in our Midwest studio, adding color or a unique twist to any of our standards is easy. It’s always fun to see orders coming through with such vibrant colors and see them placed in homes and commercial spaces around the country.

What is exciting you right now in the art world?

Creatives taking a chance on themselves! When I was younger, being an entrepreneur wasn’t a word tossed around like it is today. It’s scary and requires such vulnerability to put yourself out there in any capacity. Thanks to social media, we have so many artists emerging, and it’s exciting to see their unique perspectives on their craft and design. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I stumble across a viewpoint I’ve never considered, which inspires me to continue pushing myself!

Is there anything upcoming you’d like to share?  

Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on a collection, “If These Walls Could Talk.” A personal journey of exploration through my own experiences designed as intentional reminders for us all to live out our own personal growth in various areas.

Think wallpaper, artwork, and textiles around topics I’m learning myself, such as “setting boundary lines,” and “when one door shuts, another opens,” and more.

After the first of the year, I really wanted to design a collection with a message and a bigger purpose. I wanted people to “see” and “be seen” in different prints and patterns, making room for honest and raw dialogue and discovering where we’ve been, which isn’t always where we are going. I just can’t think of a better and more constant reminder than intentionally incorporating those messages into the decor we surround ourselves with daily. I want the walls of our spaces to speak life and hope into our own lives and those around us.

fast five:

favorite art book: I don’t have a favorite art book BUT I took an amazing online class Perfectly Imperfect – Discovering Your Visual Language.” by Lorna Crane

favorite piece of art you own: A painting that my daughter did when she was about 3 years old. She was so proud of all her abstract movements and I’ll cherish it forever

what is something small that means the world to you: Intentional time with friends.  It’s easy to get caught up in what’s around us. Making the quality disconnected time with people who provide an authentic space to be yourself is a beautiful (and can be rare) thing.

who is an emerging artist worthy of everyone’s attention: Robert L Simon. An amazing furniture designer that everyone needs to keep their eyes on.

what makes you feel like a million bucks: A triple shot vanilla latte!  Just the smell of coffee alone makes me feel like the day is going to turn out A-OK!

thank you, candice!

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