Dana Rudie describes herself as a handbag designer, an artist, and a D.I.Y.er. She designs Eco-friendly and cruelty-free handbags, manages the art studios at The Little Tokyo Art Complex in Los Angeles, and somehow still finds the time to create art of her own.

1. How did you get into designing handbags?

I was going nuts while getting my Master’s degree in Human Sexuality, and I had a sewing machine and table saw in my bedroom, so I started making handbags. I don’t carry handbags myself, but I like the form that they have and the function that they serve. I sold the ones that I made.

2. What piece of work are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of The ABACUS Bag because it’s nerdy, and because it was really difficult to complete my vision when it came to manufacturing it. It was especially hard to make the material look like leather when it isn’t. I’m proud of the fact that I was able to put it together.

abacus bag


3. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Depends on the project. But I generally find it hard to complete things if I don’t have a deadline. If you give me a deadline to meet, I’ll get it done by then.

"Painted Self Portrait" by Dana Rudie

“Painted Self Portrait” by Dana Rudie

4. What motivates you to keep doing art?

I don’t feel like a person if I’m not doing my artwork.

5. What do you do for fun?

I build shit. One of the things I’ve built just for the heck of it is an adult fort on the roof of my art studio.

Side View of Dana's Fort

Side View of Dana’s Fort

6. Tell me about an unusual experience that you’ve had

One time, while I was high on shrooms at Venice Beach, I saw a big crowd in one area. A guy in the crowd asked me to come over and do anything I wanted with some other guy while I was being filmed. I signed the consent forms and ended up holding the other guy’s hand and walking down the boardwalk with him. I didn’t ask what it was for until after. Anyway, if they didn’t edit me out, I’m in a Paul Simon music video somewhere, and I’m high on shrooms in it.

7. If you had the chance to go on a date with a celebrity, who would you choose?

I had a huge crush on Nina Simone back in the day, so I would have to say her… if she were still alive.

Dana Rudie

Dana Rudie

To check out some of Dana’s art, you can visit The Little Tokyo Art Complex during the Downtown Art Walk which is held every second Thursday of the month.