Surface Designer Spotlight: Menna Abera

Following your dreams of becoming an artist isn’t always an easy path, especially because it often lacks the stability of other industries – it’s why I went into corporate graphic design instead of pursuing surface design after college like I wanted.

And that’s why I resonate so deeply with the story of this month’s spotlight designer, Menna Abera. Not only did she share about her journey with an open heart, but her artwork is spectacularly detailed and feminine. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her…

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Menna and I live in the Netherlands. I’m married and a mother of two girls. I’m a watercolorist producing botanical and landscape contemporary paintings and surface pattern designs. I have been a surface pattern designer since 2020. My work is inspired by beauty in nature, all around us and within us. Never have we ever needed this more!

Surface design by Menna Abera
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

Art has always been so close to my heart, since I was a girl in Ethiopia. I grew up in Addis Ababa. In Ethiopia, I was encouraged to aim for secure, 9-5 jobs. And convinced that that was the way, I invested everything I had and suppressed my childhood dream of becoming an artist. But life had a plan of its own.

Now I’m a wife and mother of two and still art is how I express myself and connect with others. I feel like art is a language and can effortlessly be spoken by all.

I picked up watercolor painting in December 2019 while I was at home looking after our daughter. In summer of 2020 I came across a video about transforming art into surface pattern design and SPD as a career. Since then I have been educating myself, making art and designs and sharing my work online.

What advice about the surface design industry has been most helpful to you in your career so far?

I think the idea of reaching out to companies with as many designs as one has lessens the pressure. I think waiting till we have the perfect design or portfolio or website really hinders us from making real progress towards reaching our goals.

Surface design by Menna Abera
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

I’m proud of myself for having the courage to share my work with others and also for embarking on a new career and starting a journey towards making my dream come true.

Surface design by Menna Abera

Surface design by Menna Abera

Surface design by Menna Abera
What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?
The journey is beautiful but not easy.

One of the biggest achievements could be controlling our fear and pressing on forward. (I know, easier said than done.) Believe in yourself, make and share art everyday. And trust that the beauty in your art will win hearts.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @mennaspire

Surface design by Menna Abera

P.S. If you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog, you can always submit your story right here!

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