Sophie Dentiste, the artist and owner of The Back Home Market, is the focus of this inspiring interview. God does INDEED work in wondrous ways. We feel God directs us to certain people for His purposes. One such person is an amazing soul named Sophie. She is an artist, a believer, a giving, generous woman so present in life, so inspirational, that we felt compelled to share her and her story with you. Her talent, so obviously God-given, is apparent in all her creations. God has given her the ability to express the beauty within her soul onto canvas. When we first saw her art in person we cried. She is more than an artist. Her art is inspirational and healing. When you read her story we know you’ll agree.
Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions come from the heart and are 100% our own.
The Design Twins: We feel so blessed to have you with us. To begin, will you share with us a little history?
Sophie: Of course. I studied graphic design at UGA. But my love of creating hands-on led me to a career as a lucrative wall muralist in 1996, gracing homes throughout Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and the First Coast. You can see some of those murals on my site. In 2000, with three young boys, I retired to home school my oldest son, Joshua, who had a rare genetic difference called idic-15 and developmental delays. He required a lot of therapy and a brain development program. It was cherished time at home that I would never trade for anything.
In 2002 our family lost sweet Joshua to heart disease. He was eight. We called him our “Sunshine Boy”. In 2004, I began to receive invitations to speak and share a message of grace in challenging circumstances (and even grief). Our gratitude for the eight years that we were given to parent such an amazingly loving boy was so overwhelming, and we wanted to share it with others who were hurting.
I began to photograph and paint large canvases of florals and butterflies, gracing galleries and charitable events throughout Northeast FL, always accompanied by a message of HOPE in all circumstances. Joshua’s life and story impacted many others. I was a speaker and teacher for workshops, events and conferences from 2004-2010. I also was available as a consultant, and by 2010, my experience with corporate businesses in their content and marketing led me to two corporate executive positions.
Twins: How did your current business, The Back Home Market, start?
Sophie: In November 2015, after assisting with the merger and closure of my employer, they asked me to create a 20-ft mural as a fund-raiser for BASCA, Inc. They make a huge impact in the community with mentally-handicapped adults and their families. We could only imagine our life with Joshua as an adult, and wanted to give back to such a worthy cause. The project caused me to get real about the things that I love doing most, and where my heart truly was – Back Home with my own boys in this season of their teen years. Hence, my choice for my company name: The Back Home Market.
I have always loved to take my boys on field trips to learn about the country life. As kids we enjoyed growing up in North Carolina, with family members and friends who had farms and fields. I went through my collection of photography and started painting in a new, fun impressionistic style, very different from my years of realism. A good friend and designer in NC was very active in the Furniture market. She loved the new series and helped me sign with the largest Art dealer within the market, ATI.
Twins: What motivates your passion, work ethic?
Sophie: We have always had some type of entrepreneurial home-based business and spent many years in direct marketing, learning about business ownership. Balancing that with our jobs throughout the years has helped us enjoy the benefits of both worlds, but after a 70+ hr work week in my last corporate position, I was ready to come home for this season and feel very blessed that I get to immediately start doing something I love every day.
Twins: Where do you find inspiration and how does spirituality play a part in your business?
Sophie: When you walk through traumatic grief and loss, it can make you more sensitive or cognizant to the things, people and moments around you. It has been 14 years since losing our son, but we think of him and how blessed we were in the simple things all the time. He was non-verbal and very delayed, but lit up a room with his smile, and honed in on the most minute details of life, a flower, or an insect, or the shells on the beach. He was just simple joy to all that remember him.
My painting always tried to reflect that with the most magnified details. Now that I am older, memories have given me a more muted, forgiving reflection of our past, and all we experienced, good and bad. It’s like seeing life through a soft filter, literally for me now, as my eyes are not as good. I literally paint without my glasses. Using a palette knife is such a joy, to see where the paint actually goes. It can get so unpredictable and abstract, but then I back up, and somehow the picture comes together. Reminds me of God, and how he works in our lives without us really knowing the bigger picture. Someday we will.
Twins: What sets you apart from other businesses?
Sophie: Hmm. I am always humbled seeing the talents and unique ideas that come out of other artists and designers. I think we all inspire each other, and there is plenty of room for all of it. Most all artists in the décor industry are attempting to convey a message of peace or beauty. People are so busy and stressed these days. I hope my art can inspire them with a place of solace in their home. As far as my style, I think that my subject choices and brighter perspective of them can offer a unique reflection into this simpler world.
Twins: How do you balance work and family?
Sophie: For me they mesh together way too much.:-) I work from home, so there is always the challenge of leaving the laundry undone to start a new commission. But then I have the great benefits of coffee in the morning with my husband, being involved with my son’s school events when needed, and being home when he gets home. 16 year old boys still need you, just in different ways.:-) Right now we are in the middle of a complete renovation on our home, taking it to more of a farmhouse style, so that sometimes becomes my art for the day!
Twins: We feel your heart so much. What does heart-led mean to you?
Sophie: To me personally it is following the promptings of the Holy Spirit in my life. It can be difficult to discern sometimes with the noise around us. It does not always mean “follow your artistic talent” or the worldly message of “keep only what serves you”. For me, it means being willing to lay down my life and serve my Lord in whatever I am called to do, however uncomfortable.
There were times when we were younger and having financial difficulties and I knew I had to get a job. For about two years I worked in a job I really could not bear, and would be physically ill on Sunday evenings thinking about going back Monday morning. And yet I knew that my husband needed me there for that season. Now we look back on it and realize how much of a catalyst that position and experience was for other later blessings, future jobs, and ultimately, the creation of The Back Home Market.
We always stand on Romans 8:28 knowing God has a plan and will make it for His good, in the long run if we are obedient. My connections for promoting the Farmhouse series and getting it licensed were also directly related to my last corporate position. God always has a plan.
Twins: What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
Sophie: We love to travel, and have taken many field trips in the name of a “business photo shoot”. All of my art has multiple references and we love to use our Nikon D-300 and go. Now that we have the Go-Pro, we will have even more fun and reasons to wander. Also, I love the freedom to not go anywhere. All my men need me home right now. I love having coffee in the morning with my husband as we plan out our day and future.
Twins: Share some dreams and goals.
Sophie: Funny you mention dreams. I have had these ideas of angel paintings in my mind since my mural days. I’ve collected reference for years and just recently woke up and had to start painting them. I painted 4 of them the first day. I still have about 10 more images to do, and they are giving me great joy. Our goal is to share the Love of God with others, especially those that are hurting and walking through challenges. My art, the Back Home Market, is my ministry, and I want it to be a light in people’s homes. I create my art to be a positive, peaceful reminder that they are not alone. A reminder that there is beauty and gratitude even in the simplest of things.
In health and Hope,
A Final Word from The Design Twins:
Sophie is truly an amazing soul, a beautiful, real woman of God. She is making her way through the trials and joys of life, honestly, humbly, graciously. We are incredibly honored to feature Sophie, the woman and the artist, here on our blog. We hope you fall in love with her as we have. Treat yourself to owning one of her gorgeous creations.
To shop The Back Home Market use our exclusive discount code designtwins to receive 10% off on all orders! Click HERE for a direct link to her website to browse and shop all her stunning artwork. In addition, her newest creations include her “Tabletop Block – Angle Series”. They are a perfect way to own a bit of Sophie’s powerful spiritual message in your home! This 6 x 6 x 1.5″ pine block is stained to enhance the wood grain, with a decoupaged image from the exclusive Angel series. They are lightly sanded for a rustic look, sealed and signed by Sophie. What an incredible, spiritual way to add meaning to your decor, perfect for yourself or as a one-of-a-kind gift.