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BTS: Rebekah Steen and Coconut Coast

June 07, 2021

BTS: Rebekah Steen and Coconut Coast

If you’ve been a long time Coco Moon customer, then you know that some of our most popular prints: Hibiscus Kiss, Nalu, and Surf Report - were all designed in collaboration with talented artist Rebekah Steen, who is the creative genius behind the Goldfish Kiss blog. We’re super excited to share our newest print and collab with her — Coconut Coast.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rebekah, then you should know that she is a jack of all trades. She is an artist, writer, blogger, mommy, and to top it off, she is one of the sweetest people we know. We love collaborating with Rebekah because it is always so much fun and we always end up with the most beautiful prints. Her vibrant art is a reflection of her personality — carefree, fun, and full of life. All things we love to see on prints that are worn or used by the ones we love most in this world — our keiki. 

To celebrate the release of this new print, we decided to do a little Q+A with Rebekah. Keep reading to learn more about her, her art, and why we’re always so thrilled to collaborate with her. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your artwork! 

I'm just a fresh-air, outdoors, water-loving 40 year old gal, who has been married to my hunk of a husband, Grant, for 13 years, and am blessed to be the Mama of my little red-headed dude, Levi. My pup, Kili is almost 8 and is my best four-legged friend. I love massive burritos and poke, have moved a ton, would choose a beach picnic over a fancy restaurant any day, love buying people's barely worn shoes and jeans on eBay, and I own waaaay too many bikinis...I could go on and on. 

When it comes to art, ironically all of my training and education was in oil painting, but with all of life's changes and seasons (and lack of any sort of studio space), I got into watercolor (easy materials and cleanup and doesn't take up much room). It's been a natural fit, a medium I am always learning from and I've fallen in love with it. I think my love for the water and how imperfect and unpredictable watercolors can be, and how you have to embrace mistakes or turn them into something, make me love it even more. I could go on and on about it too. But, I think my art pretty much is me dreaming on paper - about the places, people, colors, flowers, and tropical vibes I crave 24/7.

What’s your creative process when starting a new piece? 

I kind of alternate between scenics, portraits, and big florals these days, and it kind of depends on what I'm in the mood for at the moment. Then I sketch out the idea and usually stare at the blank piece of paper for about a week, totally psyching myself out, or worried if I'll mess up the idea that's in my head. But then once I get that first brushstroke on there, it's like the flood gates open and I just love the process. 

We love that your art is bright, vibrant, and full of life. Does this help you stay connected to the islands? 

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. It's kind of my coping mechanism (I miss island life constantly). I've tried to do a monochromatic piece or stick to a certain color scheme but somehow the whole spectrum usually ends up there in some shade or hue. Unless it's a blue/only ocean piece. I love blue. 

What was your inspiration for the piece that inspired our collab? 

It was of a painting I did a while ago, actually, and it's of a picture I took of the coconut trees along the highway in Kapa'a on Kauai. It was right after the sunset and the trees were pretty much silhouettes with a rainbow of pastel hues behind it. And....boom we have a great starting point for the collab/inspiration for the textile. Fun fact: The pastel background is the actual background of the painting.

As someone who loves to travel frequently, what was it like navigating those waters in 2020? 

I think like everyone it made us all buckle down and find out how to love home and find adventures nearby. My dog loved it because that meant lots of fun outings with her. It's the longest I'd been away from Hawaii, which was hard, but I loved seeing my friends in Hawaii enjoying the clear water, empty beaches, trails, and uncrowded lineups. 

What would you say your blog — Goldfish Kiss — is known for? 

Oh man, being hard to describe. Ha! It's kind of just got a feeling about it, and has had to change so much over the years, because my life's changed so much. I think it's vibrant and colorful, but then the blog is also where I do and share most of my writing and deep thoughts, so it's pretty darn vulnerable there too. But for the most part, it's a sunshine-imbed feel-good site, that's kind of all over the place but you can tell it's created with love by a creative gal.

If you had to describe your signature style, how would you? 

Layered, messy, colorful, tropical, and loose, with a side of escapism. 

Do you have a favorite muse you like to base your art off of?

Nature, natural beauty, the color wheel, those are my muses. Vintage beach/travel photos tend to give my mind butterflies lately too. 

You’ve designed quite a few of our prints! Which one is your favorite? 

Ohh I am so bad at favorites. I love the Nalu though. We had tried a bunch of different versions and looks for it, finally nailed it...and gosh, that blue and those simple brush stroke waves, it just is a simple yet great combo. 

What’s next for Rebekah Steen? Any new designs, art, or products we should be looking out for?  

Fun stuff in the works for sure. So, I've been selling and licensing my art in Japan for the past year or so and am hoping to start selling some of those products here, then I literally just got my first shipment of Goldfish Kiss Scarves that I'm super pumped about, too. Then, I keep on saying I'm going to do a cool coffee table book someday...someday. I'm always dreaming up new textiles in my mind, and need to sketch out my next painting so I can stare at the blank paper for a week, too. I'm thinking this next one will be some sort of portrait. We shall see...

Isn’t she the coolest? Check out her Goldfish Kiss blog and follow Rebekah on Instagram (@goldfishkiss) to keep up with her most recent blog posts, art, and more!

And be sure to shop our Coconut Coast print below! You can almost hear the palm leaves in the wind when you look at this print...