Hi Gabriella great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi, thanks for having me. I am currently completing my Illustration Degree at Swansea College of Art.
In the last three years, humour and satire, in response to the world around me, have become key components of my work. For me, illustration is all about storytelling, and sharing information and experiences. Although my love of illustration has stemmed from narrative and character-based projects, I am keen to develop my skills further in other areas, such as typography, so that I can work more holistically.
So, what got you interested in the arts?
Books. I was constantly reading books growing up; Jacqueline Wilson was my favourite, and, looking back, I can see how imitating Nick Sharratt’s work in school has led to my pursuit of an illustration career. I definitely don’t think the impact would have been as profound, if my family and teachers hadn’t supported and encouraged my creativity- I think this was the most important aspect.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
Usually I begin by imagining a visual scenario that I think is funny. For example, Cinderella walking around the Prince’s Ball covered in pumpkin gunk because the carriage hadn’t been scooped out properly. This initial idea could often work well as a single illustration; however, I like to explore how I could apply this narrative voice to the entire story or scenario. If I am reimagining a traditional story, such as Cinderella, I try to create accompanying rhyming text. The use of rhyme helps to create a consistent flow and helps me to keep the text concise. When producing my illustrations, I try to maintain the same livelihood as my sketches; if the lines are too precise I find that the personality of my characters gets lost.
As a young Welsh artists graduating during a very difficult period what investment and support do you think is required to enable your career to develop and prosper?
I believe having the chance to showcase our work, in the same way as years before have, is very important. It is an unusual situation, and I support that our exhibitions could not go ahead as planned. However, as we have put the same time, energy, and funds into our degrees, it would be a shame to miss out on this crucial aspect of the course, which we have been working towards for at least the last year. I hope that there will be support for all students to be able to host exhibitions and shows as soon as it is safe to do so.
A range of arts organisation and individuals are now working online or finding new ways to reach out to audiences. Have you seen any particularly good examples of this way of working?
I have loved seeing people creating and sharing free colouring pages. My old school art department have also been hosting weekly art challenges for students, staff, and family to take part in. This definitely enforces the sense of community that we need right now, and I am eager to have a go at some myself.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
Following on from the work that I produced for my dissertation, I think it would be great for Wales to explore art as therapy further. Now more than ever, it is clear that producing art can be beneficial for our mental health. There currently aren’t many course options in Wales for those that wish to pursue art therapy as a career pathway, and I think that more options would encourage applications.
There is also a gap in the market for Wales-based illustration agencies. I’m sure that the growing Welsh publishing and film industries would love a place to easily select home-grown talent.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
The arts industry in Wales is continuing to grow. Wales has already become well established within the Film and TV industry, and this recognition is beginning to expand into other areas. It’s amazing to see people travel to Wales to pursue their creative careers! With the accessibility of the internet, creatives are no longer required to uproot their lives to larger cities, like Bristol or London. Despite this, developing more opportunities for creatives within Wales will definitely help to maintain the arts in Wales.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
I recently illustrated a poem as part of an Instagram competition. After the writer liked, commented on, and shared the post (having forced myself to tag her), it has become one of my most successful posts. In this lockdown era, smaller actions have greater results, and this shows just how easy it is to support creatives, even in isolation!
You can find out more about Gabriellas work at her website here
Thanks for your time Gabriella
Thank you for the opportunity!