Apartment Updates: New Art Pieces + An Interview with Artist Phrosné Ras

Wherein we are making decor progress, albeit very slowly.

artwork by jaime derringer

jaime derringer, untitled 2 -- minted

artwork by phrosne ras

It’s been a minute since we moved into our San Francisco apartment and I gave you an update on the decorating progress. Welp, that’s because we haven’t done all that much. While it does drive me crazy having things so unfinished, the benefit is we at least have a much better sense of how the space feels and how we live in it, which helps us figure out how best to decorate it. It’s a slow process; however, recently it became clear we should probably make a move on a couple items, such as dining chairs. The picnicking at the coffee table has been fun, but…yeah, it might be time.

The other thing we desperately need to work on is getting a new media cabinet for our TV, which is still perched on an old coffee table. I’m at the point now where it really is driving me nuts having the TV so low and all the components messily piled underneath. I happened to meet a carpenter recently who is crazy talented, and we’re hoping to have something custom made for the space, since we’ve had a hell of a time finding something with the right size and design. I always feel like nothing else can be finished (smaller furniture items, all the accessories) until the big things are in place, you know? Stay tuned: I’ll share more about our progress on selecting dining chairs next week (it’s happening!), and keep you posted on our first ever custom piece of furniture.

BUT! I wanted to give you an update on one thing we did finish, which was selecting some large scale pieces of art for one big wall in the dining space and another in our living room. Remember how I was looking at Minted to find a couple pre-framed pieces? Well, it worked out beautifully.  

untitled 2 by jaime derringer

To start: Do you know how amazing it is to take a 44″ x 44″ piece of art out of a shipping box and hang it on the wall? Unreal! But that’s exactly what happened when our pieces arrived. Minted’s framed artwork comes ready to go, so all you need to do is select a wall, align the screws/nails, drill ’em in, and hang. It couldn’t have been easier, especially for such big pieces that would’ve cost a fortune to custom frame, even with an affordable frame shop.

artwork- untitled 2 by jaime derringer, minted

As to the pieces we selected: for the dining room, we settled on the above gorgeous, modern abstract work by artist Jaime Derringer. Her work is right up my alley — minimal, geometric, high contrast, lots of repetition, and just really cool. Jaime lives in San Diego and is also the founder of the blog Design Milk. I’ve actually bookmarked a few of her pieces over the years and was drawn to her Untitled 2 on Minted before I even realized she was the artist! I’ve seen this piece displayed with a portrait orientation, but Joe and I liked it as a landscape. I especially like the little pop of coral-y peach in it! Once we get the chairs, I’ll probably mess around with the credenza accessories more (as you can tell, I haven’t fussed with it much since we moved in, except adding some pretty crystal glasses from Joe’s family that he brought home after his recent Ohio trip).

gracious golden gate bridge by phrosne ras

current living room - a slow work in progress!

In the living room, we also landed on this simple ink drawing of the Golden Gate Bridge. I love how casual the piece is, but in large scale, feels like a statement. And of course, for us, a nod to the city we are so happy to call our home. As you can see from the picture above, we still have a lot of work to do on the room as a whole, in addition to the media cabinet sitch. I’m working on finding a console table to really underscore the bridge drawing (thinking about this one or something similar), and I kinda want a big plant in that far right corner. In a perfect world, I’d also put a sofa console behind the Chesterfield with another lamp and some books. I’m working on Joe with that one!

Okay, now that all my jumbled design ideas are out ‘on paper’…

A fun little bonus: I was actually able to get in touch with the artist of “Gracious Golden Gate Bridge,” Cape Town-based Phrosné Ras, who has created a number of designs both for Minted’s Art Marketplace and for their cards as well. I always love hearing from the artist directly about their inspiration, process, and how they got their start, so today, I wanted to share a short interview I did with her!


Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into illustration and drawing? How did you get involved with creating art for Minted?

I love beautiful things. It makes my soul happy. My formal training is in Psychology –I finished my degree and moved to Cape Town, where I met my ex-husband. He is an incredible graphic designer and artist in Advertising. I started as a freelance graphic designer at the time — now 14 years ago. Later on I was looking for a way to only do wedding stationery, because it is just SO. BEAUTIFUL. I could not find a market for what I wanted to do so dearly, and later found Minted. July 2015 will be 3 years. It was a very long process till here! I still struggle to call myself a designer. The art division of Minted started recently; initially I only created stationery.

Q: I noticed you’ve designed a huge number of pieces for Minted — any favorites in your collection? What are your favorite types of pieces to design?

Wedding. Without a doubt. I get totally lost in what I do. When I work, sometimes, I don’t even leave my home [studio]! I am incredibly blessed to be able to say I honestly and absolutely love what I do. Without a doubt. And I am not scared to work very hard. I think I’ve taught myself something new, even just something tiny, with every challenge I’ve done so far.

Q: As an artist, how is your process different when you’re creating paper goods for Minted versus pieces for the art marketplace?

I do not really have a proper answer for you here! I think it’s the same for both — and that is that I do not plan these things. 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. 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 have one design up for sale that I worked on for almost 3 months. This is the only one I can remember ever doing over a long period of time. It is a wedding design. Firstly, I loosely sketched it on the back of a used piece of paper and I stuck this on a cupboard in my office that I see whenever I walk in or walk out. I walked passed it, stood in front of it, made notes on the design, re-drew, etc. I wanted to stare at it every day to get it right. I was happy with the end result and it is a personal top seller.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the San Francisco print. Why did you choose to draw the Golden Gate Bridge specifically? I was intrigued by your mention that you’d always dreamed of coming here. What about SF inspires you?

You know, you go through things in your life that make certain things crossing your path at any specific time detrimental, or at other times, inevitably life changing. I’ve gone through incredible change in the last 3 years that I would not exchange for anything in the world, and to me, Minted is a symbol of that, in a very large aspect. In turn, San Francisco, [where Minted is headquartered], becomes a symbol as well.

So, to get back to your question — I chose [the] Golden Gate Bridge, because as a foreigner, that is the one symbol I could use with my limited knowledge of the city. It actually has tremendous personal significance.

Q: You have a wonderfully diverse approach in your mediums — ink drawings, illustration, handlettering, typography, pattern making…do you have a favorite medium? Why is that your favorite?

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, so, I’d have to say my computer is my tool I can’t go without, because that is what I use every time I design. 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).

Q: What are your favorite places you’ve traveled?

Firstly, my most beautiful city and its surrounds, Cape Town. We have an abundance of beauty here, it is rather incredible. With the energetic city to start with, the Winelands and all its precious little towns to the one side and then the untouched beauty of the West Coast to the other, you have a new place to explore each time. I have to mention The Mountain in its own sentence.

I have not travelled as much as I would like, especially in this stage of my life, but I’ll get there. It is also such a circumstantial thing, because it all depends [on] who you spend your time with (and what you get up to!). My favorite places I’ve experienced with my favorite people include London, New York, Philadelphia, Munich, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Ingolstadt, Amsterdam, Rome, Venice, Bologna…I can’t remember Italy very well, I was very young, I would like to go back.

Traveling has taught me that you first have to actually travel to realize what kind of traveller you are. And it makes for better prepping for your next trip. I don’t like to follow a rigid plan when I travel, and love when going with the flow turns out entertaining. But that’s unfortunately not something you can plan. Or, fortunately.


Thanks so much to Phrosne for taking the time to chat with me! Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about this artist. Stay tuned for more apartment updates…I’m trying to make it more of a priority now!

PS – unrelated to my artwork but a great discovery nonetheless…you guys, Minted sells fabric now!!! Oh, the projects…


Images taken by Victoria McGinley    •    Special thanks to Minted for partnering on this post


  1. 7.14.15

    Girl, you have good taste.

  2. 7.14.15
    Tia said:

    Love that print of the Golden Gate Bridge!

    xx Tia | http://www.bigcitytyro.com

  3. 7.16.15

    Thank you for including my work in this beautiful room!

  4. 7.17.15
    Cathy said:

    Thanks for the great post. I really like your brass candlesticks! Can you tell me where you purchased them? :)

    • 7.17.15

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks so much! For the candlesticks, they’re vintage, and I got them from the now defunct site Hunters Alley. Check out Chairish though — if you search ‘brass candlesticks,’ they have a lot of vintage options too.

  5. 7.18.15
    Annie said:

    Where did you find those gorgeous mirrored buffets? Prettiest I’ve seen. Beautiful space!

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