An Interview with Detroit Artist Cecelia Covington
Cecelia Covington is a Detroit artist that celebrates color on paper, silk and even home fabrics for those who love bright, happy colors. She’s known for her Calypso Circle design, her silk scarves and her home collection that just keeps growing and growing. A graduate from Cass Tech and Parson’s School of Design, Covington has a way of brightening up any room.
I enjoyed getting to know Cecelia and can’t get enough of her colorful vision. Her designs and her creative inventions are sure to catch your attention. Read on and be inspired!
Interview with Cecelia Covington
DFN: Thank you for having me, what is this collection here? (pointing to the brightly colored paper products laid out for our interview.)
Cecelia: These are my Calypso Circles….My Calypso Collection. I created the designs and here they are on wrapping paper, tissue paper and fabric. The design is also here on my silk scarves.
DFN: Gorgeous! When did you start creating your beautiful silk scarves?
Cecelia: February of last year. It was a gray winter day and I was talking to a friend in California and he said, “What are you doing with your art?” And I told him, “I haven’t done anything new lately.” And, after I spoke with him, I sat down and I started praying and then I started painting. I am very spiritual. I then spoke with another friend and I told her about my new artwork. I shared with her my idea of putting my art on silk scarves for women and on pocket squares for men. She loved the idea and shared a few companies with me to work with. Unfortunately, each company had large number minimums that I couldn’t work with. But then I found this great company in Denmark that does one-offs and that’s really how the collection started.
DFN: How do you put your art on silk? Do you draw it on canvas or paper first then transfer it to silk?
Cecelia: Yes, I hand paint the art. And then it goes through a technical process with the manufacturer that allows it to be camera ready. I do what I do and then the manufacturer does what they do to apply the artwork to silk. I don’t do any hand paintings on silk or fabric, that’s not my gig.
Shannon: How often do you create new designs?
Cecelia: I don’t design in collections because as an artist, it’s just important for me to do the work and create something that I’m inspired by when I’m inspired.
DFN: Where do you get your inspiration when creating?
Cecelia: Fashion. Everything starts with fashion. I try to go to New York when I can because that is still my cradle of inspiration.
DFN: What part of “fashion” are you inspired by?
Cecelia: Color and pattern. Also silhouettes. I think silhouettes are so important in fashion. I like designs that are very contemporary. I look for simplicity in construction but I am very inspired by color and pattern of course. I will spend all day looking at European magazines and I love to spend time at my favorite cafe in New York called the Magazine Cafe, in the Garment District. It’s very inspiring.
DFN: Has there been or is there anyone in your life that inspired you to be the artist you are today?
Covington: I have to go back to the education that I received at Cass Tech, which was phenomenal. Which, prepared me for my studies for Parson’s in New York. But, Cass was the foundation, Parsons was the icing on the cake. They have phenomenal instruction there.
DFN: Is there a current designer or celebrity that inspires you?
Covington: Currently, I am very inspired by an interior designer named, Tricia Guild. My interest is strong in interiors and I like to see color used. She is a British designer and she always uses strong color in her work. I like Sheila Bridges for style. She just has a way of doing things minimally and always has a rich and elegant decor. She has a strong sense of style.
DFN: What is your favorite color to wear and, what color do you wish you wore more of?
Covington: My favorite color to wear is black but only as a canvas. I always like to add color to it in the way of a scarf or beads. In the Summer, I do tend to wear more colors. I like to wear magenta or hot pink, colors that work with my skin tone. I’m a brown girl, so I know I wear color well. For example, did you see Priyanka Chopra at the Golden Globes? She was stunning! She showed sexy, color, self-assurance. That color she wore was stunning on her.
Shannon: Are you ever inspired by Pantone’s color of the year or runway trends?
Cecelia: Absolutely! Everything starts with fashion. It’s a “trickle-down”.
DFN: Tell us something about yourself no one knows.
Covington: Since the 60’s, I was always putting the emoji smiley face in my work! If I had a digital background, I’d be a billionaire by now.
DFN: What was your childhood dream?
Covington: My childhood dream was to ALWAYS be an artist. I discovered that at an early age. I didn’t know anything about a career until I got to junior high but I always wanted to be an artist. I loved to paint. I loved to color. I loved to finger paint. You know, all those kinds of things that are crafty.
DFN: In speaking about your home collection, does the rug you’ve created for Hagopian match your pillow collection?
Cecelia: The two pillow designs that get the most attention are the Calypso Circles and the stripe design. Although, Edwin Hagopian thought the diamonds were just beautiful and he did buy a Calypso Circle scarf from me. And yes, the rugs take 3 months. They are created in India and the rugs are made out of wool.
DFN: How does one order your collection or products?
Cecelia: My Calypso Collection and designs can be viewed on Instagram @cecelia.covington and customers can reach me to place an order through Instagram via direct messaging. Or, they can email me at email@example.com.
DFN: Thank you so for spending time with me this afternoon, Cecelia!
Cecelia: Thank you!