Meet the Founder: Bridgette Thornton of Paint&Petals
For Bridgette Thornton, painting is not only a passion, it gives her a sense of empowerment. We love how her determination to follow this passion enabled her to leave the corporate world and launch her company, Paint&Petals.
01 Why did you start Paint&Petals?
I first realized that I was passionate about art when I was 13 years old and attended a spectacular Roy Lichtenstein art exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. To this day, I vividly remember being captivated by Lichtenstein’s ability to synthesize scale, color, and whimsical elements. He created art that was not only technically impressive, but also designed to elicit a visceral response. From that moment forward, I knew I wanted to create pieces that had the same effect as Lichtenstein’s art had on me.
I attended California College of the Arts where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, studying Fine Art, Visual Studies, and Graphic Design. While attending art school, I realized that I was most interested in the overlap of fine art with design. After graduation, I started dedicating all of my free time to painting. It was both a therapeutic and joyful experience.
Paint&Petals officially became a brand in the summer of 2015 when I participated in a local Venice Beach makers market called Artists and Fleas. I had a small white tent and sold both original floral paintings – Paint – and fresh flowers, hence the brand name Paint&Petals came to be. I was then discovered by Anthropologie in Spring of 2018 and once again saw how the intersection of fine art and design can bring joy into the home.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
When I moved to Los Angeles after art school, I worked for BCBGMaxAzria in advertising. The commute and hours were long, and I had very little time and space for creative expression. However, my love for making art and sharing it with others was stronger than the urge to have a balanced lifestyle.I took advantage of every free moment to create paintings that would eventually be the first featured on home products.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
My greatest advice is to visualize, have faith, and let your passion lead you. I started envisioning my artwork in stores that I love, specifically Anthropologie, in about 8th grade, when I first started fitting into their clothing. Discovering all of their innovative and playful items was a magical experience for me.
Whenever I would want to purchase something, my mom would say, “You could make that instead!” I took her advice to heart – I spent all of my free time painting and creating crafts. I continually remind myself that my passion for painting is a lifelong practice, much like yoga and meditation. In fact, painting has become an integral part of my wellness routine.
Whenever challenges arise, whether in my personal life or in my creative ventures, I overcome those obstacles by focusing on my craft and reframing the perceived challenges as opportunities for growth.
04 What’s on the horizon for Paint&Petals?
Paint&Petals has a growing team, which includes my aunt and business partner Holly Racich, and brother Karl Thornton. We look forward to creating many more joyful and colorful collections for art lovers to proudly display in their homes. I will be painting more than ever and continuing the journey of being an artist.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I recently moved to Lake Tahoe and I’ve been inspired by the distinct, contrasting seasons and the ever-changing natural landscape. I love the different and contrasting tones of the mountains and how they play off of the bright blue water of the lake.
Much of my job is solitary and stationary, so I enjoy going for hikes with friends and attending yoga classes up the street when I am not working. In Tahoe, I am only a three-hour drive away from the Bay Area where I grew up, so I often drive back for long weekends to visit friends in San Francisco. We love to attend concerts, check out art museums, and hang out at cafes in the Marina.