Dana Veraldi

To be immersed in Dana Veraldi’s work is to consider communion, what hands have touched materials: food or pencil or shutter button, and how those materials draw us closer to the people who matter in our lives. Though best known for her apparel line, DeerDana, which features hand-drawn images of cultural and political icons, various animals (Lions! Pangolins! Sharks! Oh my!), Veraldi’s formal training is as a graphic designer and photographer, which she studied at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), where she met two young artists who grew up to be FV founders Payton and Brian.

What guides Dana’s creativity is not just her skill set—impressively multi-faceted and deep—but the threads to the communities they can come to life in. Dana connects to multiple generations of her own family through her art-making, and to new generations in her work as a doula. Her latest project, Niji Club, brings together Dana’s love of food, color, and the magic of gathering with people we want to celebrate and get to know more. Read on to hear about a very special upcoming collab on this here at Flat Vernacular!

The linework in Dana’s Flatmates pattern, Fish Fish, bears her trademark sensitivity, as though she’s been hanging out with each fish and really getting to know it as it swims across the print. Available in her signature black and white drawing style, there’s also a colorway with dabs of primary color. The color pops are cheekily reminiscent of a child drawing on the walls, but who’s to say adults don’t like to play with color, too? Dana’s said she draws people she wants to share a meal with—her ultimate act of communion—and we can see how comforting it would be to have a meal close to these fish, who would be a pleasure to share a dining or other gathering room with.

Dana tells us about how she decided to go under the sea for her design, earliest memories of her first makings with family, and why she’s always got her eye on the rainbow.


Flat Vernacular: Tell us about your design process for this collaboration. What was it like to translate your work to wallpaper? How did you land on the fish image, and the color splashes, which draw attention to the human hand at work (which we love here at FV!)? 

Dana Veraldi: I initially envisioned our wallpaper being used in a baby’s nursery or a children’s playroom but wanted it to also be appealing for use in adult-friendly rooms! I feel like our fish pattern would be so fun in a powder room, a bar or even a kitchen. I love to draw and paint fish so we first landed on an underwater theme. The scale of various sea creatures proved difficult once we went into the pattern-making phase (shrimp vs whale) so we made the decision to stick with just fish! I do have lots of sea creature drawings though so if anyone has a very large room to wallpaper we would love to explore using the drawings to scale! My work is predominantly black and white with some pops of color - so adding some pops came naturally. The primary color choice was inspired by the work of Alexander Calder. 

FV: You work in so many mediums: drawing, photography, food, merch! How do these mediums inspire and inform one another?

DV: All of my work is rooted in creativity and sharing with others - food has become a really exciting medium for me lately. I recently moved to rural Connecticut and it’s been really inspiring to meet local farmers and work on projects with them - cooking with their vegetables, photo projects and merch! I studied photography in school (where I met Payton and Brian!) and taking photos is my most sacred and true expression. 

FV: Is there any early moment of making that comes to mind as formative?  What about it do you remember?

DV: My grandfather and dad were both interested in film and photography, so I was exposed to it from a young age. I loved making home videos with my sister when we were younger, using disposable cameras, and I learned how to develop photos in a darkroom when I was 12 at summer camp. While I love how easy it has become to capture photos and videos, I still regularly work with analog film because I find it so special!

FV: Your apparel line DEERDANA features hand-drawn images of icons such as musician Sade, athlete Kobe Bryant, and Hollywood producer Shep Gordon. What makes you want to draw someone? 

DV: I draw people I am drawn to (no pun intended!) — interesting, inspiring and influential personalities. 

Fish patterned wallpaper surrounded by photographs, kewpie dolls, and cassette tapes

FV: Is there a color that you’re being pulled to lately? How is it showing up in your life?

DV: I am really into minty green right now. My 3 year old niece often asks what my favorite color is and it changes month to month. I love to cook with and eat green things. I think we are all yearning for the green hues of spring right now which may be influencing me!

Illustrations of fish on multiple pieces of paper, drawn in black and red

FV: What makes you feel at home?

DV: Home cooked dinner, friends and family.

FV: Tell us about an unexpected moment of inspiration.

DV: I work on the side as a birth doula, supporting people through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This work grounds me and allows me to live with greater purpose.

FV: Dream flatmate?

DV: Frida Kahlo.

FV: Whose work in any field excites you right now?

DV: John Mayer's SiriusXM Channel, Stissing House (a delicious restaurant in a historic house in Pine Plains, NY), and my niece and nephew, who are my favorite people to spend time with.


Click the links below to:


 FISH FISH in colorway "Betta"

FISH FISH in colorway "Moonlighter"


Payton Turner