6 Things with Daniela Araya Artist and Designer

Daniela is an artist and designer living in New York. She is the Community & Content Director at Spoak, an online interior design studio for enthusiasts and professionals. On any given weekend you can find her walking with her Basset Hound around Brooklyn or renovating her cabin in the Catskills.

1. What started it all for you?

I knew from a young age that I wanted to end up in the design space, but I wasn’t exactly sure where I would fit in. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for interior design and beautiful things. I am a Libra, after all! I graduated from college with a degree in Magazine Journalism and moved to New York to work in publishing about 8 years ago—that’s when I landed my first job at Hearst, working for ELLE Decor, House Beautiful, and Verdana, the wing of interior design magazines there. I eventually left Hearst to go try out the whole “working at a really big company” thing at CNN, and then left that job to try the “working at a teeny tiny startup” thing at Gimlet, a small podcast company that got acquired by Spotify. Long story short, as I progressed in my professional career, I discovered I was growing further away from my true passion in interior design and found myself really wanting something more out of life. Why couldn’t I work in interior design when that’s the one thing I really wanted to be doing? I was feeling overwhelmed, because by that point, I really wasn’t prepared to invest the money that pivoting to interior design school required. And that’s when I discovered Spoak, the company I work for today! Spoak confirmed for me that having an untraditional path into design was actually possible. I joined as a member, became absolutely obsessed with the product and the community, and somehow convinced Hilah, Spoak’s CEO and Founder, to hire me. I am eternally grateful everyday.

2. What drives your creative spark?

Honestly, human connection! You know, those intimate 1:1 conversations you have with someone that you end up telling all your friends about, like “oh my god I just had the most amazing conversation with ____ about ____ and I am feeling so inspired!” I feel like I have those kinds of conversations all the time with designers within the Spoak community. Also, knowing that the work we’re doing has such an impact on our members really gives me the motivation to keep going. The design industry can be so gatekeeper-y and it can be really challenging to find a safe space when you’re just starting out as a designer. Connecting with other people who are trying to push themselves to grow in this space is the creative spark that motivates me.

3. Most treasured home decor item?

My murals! When my fiancé and I first moved into our apartment, we were stunned by how high our ceilings were and how much wall space we had. We knew we couldn’t possibly fill it all with framed artwork (#goals), so we decided we were going to try painting something fun together. We painted one warm, desert-themed mural in our living room and the rest is history! I have since painted 5 other murals in our apartment. It's basically a colorful explosion and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The whimsical feel and bright colors in each design bring me so much joy.

4. What’s the best advice you've ever received?

“Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing so fake it until you make it.” Imposter syndrome, be gone!

5. It's 5 o'clock at home. What would you be pouring?

Probably Amaro by Forthave. It’s made locally in Brooklyn and it’s absolutely delicious. A friend of mine introduced me to it at dinner one night and I’ve been hooked ever since.

6. What are your favorite 6 accounts that you follow for inspiration?



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"Connecting with other people who are trying to push themselves to grow in this space is the creative spark that motivates me." - Daniela Araya