California Artist Serena Dugan Paints Harmonious Living Through Patterns and Prints

An outdoor sitting area with green pillows.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

Text by Cindy Cooper

Creating harmony through repetition, shape, and placement, along with layering and composition, is the foundation of Serena Dugan’s artistic designs. She views herself as both an artist and a textile designer, represented in the intriguing patterns she creates. Serena completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (with a painting emphasis) at Metropolitan State College of Denver and at Instituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy, which fueled her desire to open a studio focused on decorative and commissioned artwork. With a motivation to learn more, she studied printmaking and textile design at various art and textile design institutes in California. During this stage of her life, Serena designed what would be her first block-printed fabrics.

Portrait of artist Serena Dugan.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

In 2003, Serena and business-savvy entrepreneur Lily Kanter shared a vision for a product line, brand, and business which evolved into Serena & Lily, a company where Serena spent 14 years as the chief creative officer learning the inner workings of business and production of goods. She was able to fine-tune her skills until leaving the company in 2016 to go back to her roots of design and painting.

A textile studio space.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

Developing Serena Dugan Studio, which officially launched in March 2020, she created her own line of textiles, wallpapers, and paintings. Serena’s outdoor textiles line hit the market in April 2021, and her new wallpapers will be available in early 2022.

Patterned pillows in a rattan chair.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

“Interior design is the framework that allows me to present my vision,” Serena says. “I have always had an interest in different art forms, but a lot of my inspiration has been from being a traveler.” In her travels, Serena has observed that, outside the U.S., people use adornment to beautify their lives. “My wanderlust has served as the basis for all my designs thus far,” she says.

An outdoor sitting area next to a fireplace.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

In retrospect, Serena feels her early primitive designs are her distinguishing work, which were the source of nursery room designs that originally helped launch the Serena & Lily brand. Those beginning designs transitioned into the brand’s signature styles for beautiful rooms throughout the home. Once established, it quickly became a line of lifestyle and retail products guided by the vision of what looks and feels good in our spaces and how we want to live.

Coral block print wallpaper.
Photography by Laurie Frankel

As she continues her artful pursuits, Serena marvels at how simple her design concept is. “This is the same kernel that I’ve been exploring since I was in art school,” she says. “It can and has been carried into my next venture seamlessly.” And we cannot wait to see where the journey takes her creative talents and artful expression.

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