Behind the Brush with Phoebe Cornog

Welcome to Behind the Brush, where we offer a peek behind the curtain through the voice of talented artists within our community. This week, we’re chatting with Phoebe Cornog, a Philly native and San Diegan transplant who uses a wide variety of mediums and methods to produce unique art and visual representations for local and global brands.

Philadelphia and San Diego both embody passionate and unique cultures, how has your art been influenced by these two cities you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in?

Philadelphia has an incredible mural scene, so I like to say that I was subconsciously influenced by that. Although, when I was growing up I had no idea that I wanted to paint murals for a living. I moved to San Diego because I was drawn to the outdoor/beach lifestyle and that certainly comes through in my work. I use a lot of bold typography and vibrant colors.

You’re not just a successful artist, but also a savvy business person, having founded and built Pandr. Design Co. What advice would you give to any local artists looking to better expand their reach and personal brand(s)?

Thank you! It doesn’t matter where you’re located because you can take advantage of social media. It’s free advertising that allows you to connect with businesses/brands/fellow artists all over the world. A lot of artists shy away from it because it feels like “work”, but I think they need to reframe it as an opportunity and take advantage of it!  Muros probably wouldn’t be interviewing me for this Blog if it weren’t for social media 🙂

How did you first make the leap from graphic design and lettering to massive, large scale murals? Were there any quick lessons you learned through trial and error?

Like a lot of designers, I was sick of sitting on the computer all day and wanted to work with my hands. I went to art school so I had formal training in drawing and painting. I had a goal of painting one mural and that came to fruition by begging my boss at the time to let me do one in our office. Then I did an electrical box in the neighboring town. Then I did one for a client and the rest started lining up. There were a lot of quick (and hard) lessons. The top ones that come to mind are not pressing too hard with a pencil when you’re tracing out your design, designing smart based on the wall size and texture, and never starting work without a signed contract and deposit.

Being a creative artist is a full time job in itself. How do you find the time and balance to manage your art-related projects with growing your business and brand?

The art side usually takes a back seat. Majority of the work feels like sales, marketing, and admin stuff. That’s why I try to take advantage of any “slow” periods and create art “just for fun”. Instead of being depressed that business isn’t great, I’ll try to see it as an opportunity to create more personal work to show off in my portfolio.

How important has social media been when it comes to growing your business? Is there a specific platform you find more success on than others?

It’s 100% why my business is what it is today. I don’t think I’m the best artist or business woman out there, but I’m really good at putting myself out there. Social media has easily allowed me to do that. Instagram used to be the best tool but now I’m seeing more and more growth on TikTok.

At Muros, we often speak on the importance of community and culture. What groups do you find yourself a part of or representing? How do you use your skill set to help promote and represent these communities?

I’ve dabbled in different groups over my career. I used to be heavily involved in the lettering community and ran a lettering podcast. I also ran a nonprofit/mural festival for female muralists. Now I’m focusing on business education for artists and also running a small mastermind group for female creatives. As you may know, there is a significant wage gap between men and women so I’m focused on trying to close that by lifting up other women. The more information I can share about negotiating, sales tactics, pricing, etc,.. the better off we all are. My social media accounts and website offer a lot of resources and tips.

Building emotional connections with your consumers and audience is a trendy topic in the expansive world of marketing and branding. How do you think murals and art activations help brands achieve this overarching goal?

When a brand hires a muralist to paint a mural rather than posting up a typical ad, it speaks volumes. It shows that the brand is creative and put thought into what it wants its target demographic to consume. We’re constantly being bombarded by ads so an art installation shows that more effort was put into the marketing strategy. It sets the brand apart.

Are there any out of home trends you’ve noticed in the past few years that weren’t around when you first began your artist journey? What, if anything, do you think will continue to increase as brands look to get more creative in this space?

My mural debut was at the very beginning of Instagram walls. They were not a thing. Now that they’re everywhere, I see them being pushed to be more interactive. I feel that interactive elements will only continue, whether it be a physical swing to sit on or a QR code to scan. Selfishly, my hope is that companies will see different surfaces as canvases. I would love to see more floor murals and sculptural elements in average spaces.

Are there any new mediums or types of art you’re hoping to explore more of in 2023?

I would LOVE to do more wallpapers and some sort of sculpture. I have designed vinyl graphics in the past but I’d like to push the envelope.

Tell the people where they can follow you and keep up with your journey!

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m all over Instagram and Tiktok. You can follow me @phoebecornog and @pandrdesignco. Thanks so much!

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