We here at RoomMates are thrilled to be collaborating with Cat Coquillette and her design brand CatCoq to create 5 gorgeous peel and stick wallpaper patterns. Featuring hand-painted designs by Cat, this collection is inspired by her travels around the globe.
We caught up with Cat while she was in Tbilisi, Georgia this summer to talk about how she works, her design process, and the new collection.
RoomMates: Let's start with some rapid-fire questions. Coffee or tea?
Cat Coquillette: Definitely coffee. I cannot start my morning without a cappuccino and two shots of espresso - which probably makes me a little bit high-maintenance.
RM: Night owl or morning bird?
CC: I identify as a night owl. I feel most creative in the evenings, so that’s when I get all my paint sets out and really get to work.
RM: Beach or mountains?
CC: Well, I grew up in Kansas, so I didn’t have much experience with either. But now as an adult, I’m living in Chiang Mai, Thailand for about half of the year, and Chiang Mai is right in the thick of the mountains of Northern Thailand. It’s definitely my happy place where I feel most creatively inspired. The hiking trails are phenomenal, and the view from my apartment is mountains at sunset. What more could you want?
RM: Have you always been a creative person?
CC: You know, I think I have always felt pretty creative. I had a very supportive upbringing. My parents encouraged me to pursue what I loved which was art, so I was always painting or drawing or coloring things in – luckily not on the walls. But yeah, it’s something that I’ve always pursued.
RM: If you could describe your style in three words, what would they be?
CC: Oh, three words. That’s tough. Ultimately, I think it would be vibrant, minimal, and wanderlust.
RM: How has your style evolved to what it is now?
CC: I think my style definitely has evolved over the years, although my medium of choice has always been watercolor. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a fashion illustrator, so I did a lot of very vibrant illustrations of ball gowns and bikinis. I’ve kind of grown out of that a little bit and now I’m more into painting the things I see around me in nature.
RM: Is there a central theme at the heart of your artwork?
CC: I think the central theme in all of my work is that I look at these complicated motifs and I look for opportunities to simplify them into more of a minimal aesthetic. So, for example, I’ll look at an entire Philodendron plant, and instead of trying to painstakingly paint every little detail, I’ll just look for ways to condense and minimize it so it feels a little more modern.
RM: How does your travel affect your artwork?
CC: I think travel is the number one factor that influences my portfolio today. I paint the things that I see around me while I’m traveling the world. By the way, I don’t have a normal home, or any sort of permanent residence. I live as a digital nomad, which means that I hop from country to country every few weeks or few months just living in the moment and getting inspired by the things I see around me. I travel with all of my art supplies and my laptop with me, so I’m able to really bring my career onto the road.
RM: What was the inspiration for these five patterns?
CC: The inspiration for these five designs really came from all over the world. A lot of the tropical plants and palms that I’ve painted are inspired by literally living in the tropics. I do a lot of hiking, and I always travel with my camera. I take picture of the foliage I see as I’m going and then when I’m back in my apartment, I paint it.
My herringbone pattern was kind of inspired by a Scandinavian motif. I spent my 30th birthday up in the Arctic Circle in far northern Norway – this group of islands called Svalbard. Because my birthday is in the middle of the summer, the summer sun never sets, so I rolled into my thirties drinking a beer, looking up, and seeing the sun shining bright above me. It was a pretty cool experience.
The jaguarscame from visiting an animal rehabilitation center in Belize. They’ve done truly great things.
RM: What makes you excited about having your artwork translated into peel and stick wallpaper?
CC: I am really excited to see my artwork in this collection. There’s something really special and unique about finding my artwork out in the wild, whether it’s on someone’s phone case or t-shirt or on peel and stick wallpaper in someone’s home. I’m really excited to see how this collection rolls out.
RM: What do you hope these patterns do for people’s spaces?
CC: I hope this artwork connects with people in the same way that some of my other products and collections have. Hopefully it’s an aesthetic that people just gravitate towards because they feel that it’s a reflection of their own personal style.
RM: What’s next for Cat Coq?
CC: A lot of exciting things! I do a new painting or digital illustration about once a night, so my portfolio has been pretty rapidly accelerating. It’s been really great to see that roll out. I’ve also just finished wrapping up my new online course, which I’ve been filming here in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s a class that’s aimed at creative entrepreneurs who want to learn to create patterns and surface designs. It’ll be my 9th class that I’ve taught on Skillshare so far. So yeah, exiting things in the pipeline for the future.
Shop the whole collection!
Follow Cat on Instagram to see where she's exploring and what she's creating.