You’ll need more than a handful of words to describe Phrosné Ras’ aesthetic, but to summarize in three, we’ll go with beautiful, feminine, and detailed. Finely detailed. Her absolute focus on creating intricate details and—as she states on Instagram—of “making everything around me beautiful”—is core to her success as a leading Minted artist. But that’s not to suggest that her creative process is all roses and rainbows.
“Hand Drawn Picture Frame” foil-pressed holiday card by Phrosné Ras
As she explains in this email interview, precision is part of the work ethic that drives everything she does, including freelance work and her Minted stationery, art, and home decor. “The last 2.5 years, I worked no less than 14 hours, six to seven days a week. Some days, more,” says the artist from Cape Town, South Africa. “I’m making more time for myself now, but I will always be someone who works tirelessly if need be.”
You have a beautiful name. Is there a story behind it?
I always tell people it’s made up, because it’s such a mouthful and mostly too extravagant! There is an original version, Euphrosyne. In Greek mythology, Euphrosyne was one of the “Three Graces”—goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity. She was the Goddess of Joy or Mirth, a daughter of Zeus and Eurynome, and the incarnation of grace and beauty. A beautiful, undeserving meaning to my name.
Did you study art formally in school?
No, my formal training is in psychology.
How do you describe your distinctive style of art and design?
I do not think I have a distinctive style, because I honestly do what I feel like at the moment. And I feel very lucky to be able to say this. I think it is a blessing to do whatever pops into your head. It is as simple as I think of something out of the blue and then I do it. I usually just jump right in and do most things digitally. Or I’ll do it until it works—if a pencil doesn’t work, I use a pen. If that doesn’t work, I use something else, etc. I generally do not get it right the first few (read: many) rounds. It depends how much time I have and how confident I feel with what I want to do. I honestly just do whatever I can to make something work! I’m totally driven by beauty—I surround myself with it. My style is predominantly romantic, so anything that I find beautiful makes me feel great and emotional—I fall in love with beautiful things over and over again.
My surroundings are very important because I’m visually inspired by everything around me. I guess that’s why my favorite work is wedding-related, because it is so beautiful. I do whatever I can think of to make something work. I have taught myself many (weird) ways to create something digitally—that might look to you like traditional ways. At the moment I just love surface design (pattern for fabric) and I always love to draw in my weird way on the computer, with my mouse. I don’t use fancy equipment or even a stylus, my Intuos remains untouched. I think there is one thing about most of my designs that people who know it will pick up, and that is my incessant use of (the tiniest) detail—and even I find this amazing, as I do not have a lot of patience. Sometimes I don’t even think some of this delicate detail is noticeable to anyone else!
What’s a typical “day in the life” for you?
I have no routine, but there is one constant: I work extremely hard. I appreciate that success, especially with Minted, is a reward for tirelessly getting back up after every fall. I was relentless up to now. I gave myself no other options. I also kept U.S. hours for the most part—that was difficult, living here.
What was the best thing about 2015 for you, and what are you looking forward to in 2016?
I ended 2015 with an incredible feeling of closure, which of course carries tremendous personal meaning. As for 2016, I’m not sure. But it’s going to be amazing.
PHROSNÉ’S MINTED EXPERIENCE
How did you first hear about Minted?
I joined in 2012, and it was just pure Internet browsing luck!
What have you learned from being part of the Minted community?
I don’t think everyone realizes this, but the big thing is that it gets harder. It gets harder with every single challenge. The pressure is more, and the doubt is more. I am not as good as my last win (as the saying goes). I am only as good as my latest entry. You cannot become complacent. It doesn’t work like that. And you also cannot assume. You must work—hard.
You have more than 240 winning Minted designs to your name. What’s your favorite Minted design that you’ve designed and why?
I feel like I have to say my second place win for Holiday 2015, for obvious reasons… but honestly, I always love the whole process of taking part and entering every design. Wedding will always be my favorite.
Of all the Minted Design Challenges you’ve won, which one are you most proud of?
Even more than my first-place wins was my second-place win in the big Holiday Competition of 2015. I was gobsmacked—I could not believe it and was phoning my family from 2:30 a.m. (announcements always hit me in the middle of the night) until someone finally picked up at 6:30 a.m.-ish. I say this win, because I really did not think I would ever do well in Holiday. I stared at my computer for about an hour, and I was obviously crying. It carried tremendous personal meaning and accomplishment.
“Amazing Frame” by Phrosné Ras, the second-place–winning design in Minted’s 2015 Most Wonderful Time Holiday Photo Card Challenge. This is Minted’s biggest stationery challenge of the year, and as one of the top three winners, she won a VIP trip to San Francisco.
You’ve been an active Minted community member since 2012. What’s your most memorable community experience?
It is not one experience. It is that I have personal relationships with a handful of fellow designers who are my best friends, and we are always there for each other. The Minted experience is always hard, and you always need that support. On a different note, I went to the States in December and January 2015, for a long-awaited holiday and visited the amazing Minted headquarters. There was a moment where I was in conversation with one of the wonderful Minted Employees, and as I looked up, I could see the top of the traffic lights and street name boards. From my angle, high up, I looked straight at the green Front Street sign. It was an incredible feeling—I could not believe that I got myself to San Francisco, sitting in this incredibly beautiful creative space, getting ready to be interviewed by Mariam. Front Street was an address I just saw on email banners for almost four years. And as I was sitting there, I realized it became a sign of determination, strength, and never giving up. I will never forget that moment.
“Ollie Elephant” Children’s Birthday Party Invitation by Phrosné Ras
Who inspires you? I do not have things or people that inspire me. I have instances of just feeling like I want to do something. You know, you could have asked me how I created my silly little cartoon-like bird, and my answer would be the same. The idea just happens and then I try to do it. I do not have a very romantic approach to design/illustration. I sit and dream and write “Merry” 400 times. And then I use the third Merry I wrote, haha!
Favorite recent discovery: That I am sublimely content.
Favorite place in the world: I’m more of a moment girl—moments determine my favorite memories.
Favorite movies: As it is in Heaven, August Rush, The Vow, Warrior. Oh, there are many. Barney’s Version, strangely. I can’t possibly remember them all now. Wicker Park. P.S. I Love You.
Number of stamps on your passport: Not that many. I also love local road trips.
Favorite blog or website: I don’t have blogs I check! I know this answer is probably “wrong,” but I don’t even follow people or brands on Pinterest as a rule, although I am on Pinterest. I love spending time perusing Instagram, though. Generally for writers’ musings, but mostly, interior. I love beautiful interior. I do not ever intentionally look for inspiration when I start with a challenge, because I do not ever want to be influenced. I don’t even look at challenge entries while the challenge is still open, ever. Sites I don’t follow but know are amazing whenever I catch a glimpse are Domino and Designlovefest.
QUICK! TELL US…
This is not going to be easy! It’s not that I don’t know what I like, but I see beauty everywhere.
Describe your last month in a word.
Photoshop or Illustrator? Illustrator without a doubt. I feel very limited in PhotoShop and rarely use it—mostly (albeit rarely) for color manipulation, but that’s about it because I mostly work in vector.
Movies or TV? Movies and series, but I mostly listen to music above all.
Modern or Vintage? Modern. With some Classic thrown into the mix.
Morning or Night? There’s beauty everywhere; nighttime has romantic stillness, and sunshine boasts exuberance.
Summer or Winter? Both! I can’t choose between a sunset on the beach and a glass of shiraz by a fireplace.
City or Country? Both. All depends on the vibe.
Trees or flowers? Flowers. No trees. No, flowers. I want the biggest tree for long lazy Sunday lunches, and the table must be covered in fresh flowers. Ha!
Mountains or ocean? Ocean. But I do love the secrets of the mountains.
To me, all these options usually come down to who you are sharing these moments with. So it’s always relative.
Photography by Lindy Truter Photography
Published February 23, 2016 • Become part of the Minted Artist Community. Submit to a Challenge here.6 COMMENTS