Debra Hood Art - An Interview with Debra Hood

April 24, 2024

We have made it our mission to find all the very best producers across Australia and provide a platform for their incredible creations.

So, when we came across Debra Hood's incredible artwork, we knew that we needed to include her in our offering. Her use of vibrant colours, and signature  'Queenslanders' that feature in her artwork, have made her hugely popular across Brisbane.

Debra very generously gave up some of her time to answer a few questions we had about her business, her inspiration, and her love of Brisbane.

We know small business is hard. Is there an inception story to your brand? What got you started or gave you the push to start your own enterprise?

I have been a painter, but it was through the Brisbane City Council Artforce "Paint a Traffic Signal Box" program, that my work was seen publicly on a wide scale and people started to recognise my style and I realised I had developed a Brand.

Winning the City Cat Wrap competition in 2016 made a huge impact on my business with my painting of Brisbane, called Along the River, was vinyl wrapped onto the Mooroolbin City Cat and floated on the Brisbane River for 4 years. I could not have asked for better advertising and kudos due to this fortuitous win.

I had the idea for the giftware business when travelling to France on a school trip with her daughter in 2007, when I wanted to take small gift items that showcased how beautiful and colour filled the city is but could only find old and tacky postcards and made in china souvenirs. since then, the Giftware business has flourished and it’s so much fun brainstorming, designing and manufacturing merchandise with my fab team.

Who or what do you draw inspiration from? 

The most influential artists on my artwork are the great Margaret Olley and James Barker (1931-2019), who was my painting teacher during the 1980’s at art school. Last month I was fortunate enough to meet James' son and Grandson to purchase three of James' paintings…my heart is full!

The legendary Ken Done, has weathered all sorts of kickback for achieving commercial success and whilst not a huge fan of his painting work, I’m in awe of his celebration of Sydney and how he’s become it’s undeniable representative using his colourful creations. We see Sydney through his eyes now!

Locally, Jan Jorgensen has been my painting hero for decades with her beautiful captures that celebrate the joy of Brisbane's flora, Queenslanders and unique light. I admire her greatly.

Other than yourself of course, who is your favourite artisan producer here in Australia? How come?

Zoe and Kate of Brisbane’s Jericho Road Clothing are amazing young women. They produce fun and funky designs by collaborating with local artists. They have endeared themselves to a cult following by being completely natural & true to themselves. Plus they are wonderful, passionate and hard working!

Brisbane seems to lead the way in dopamine dressing and Jericho Road are the forerunners of this. I also love that they embrace sizes from 8 -22. Their models are real Brisbane women - different shapes, different sizes, different ages and all gorgeous!

We know Australia is the best place on earth, but what makes it so special to you? What’s your favourite thing about Australia? 

This is such a hard question with so many answers.

Geographically, Brisbane has been so good to me personally as it’s allowed my husband and me to raise our 3 beautiful children in a safe and very generous and beloved community. I’m amazed every day by the light and glow that Brisbane shares. The Brisbane River and the iconic Queenslander are so unique and, whilst I’ve lived in other cities and I really love Tasmania, Brisbane has my heart!

On an emotional level, I love the Australian irreverent quick wit, wordplay, and self-deprecating often ironic humour. A willingness to laugh at oneself is such an important facet for keeping oneself grounded and real. Life is too short to be focused on what others think of us.

Which of your products are your favourite to gift to others or share with friends around the table?

I am a bit of a cryptic crossword and board games fan and love a good brain challenge; so our Jigsaw Puzzles and Memory Game are my favourites to give others or play with friends.

I always love hearing stories when people enjoyed doing the puzzle and what idiosyncratic methods they have when laying down the puzzle pieces. There have been some poignant stories from customers about puzzling with family members & these will always remain with me- very special.

Debra Hood's beautiful art makes the perfect gift! We stock her Umbrellas, Jigsaws, and Tea Towels 

You can find more of Debra's artwork on her dedicated website