This fall I had the honor of being included in the Flow Magazine’s Illustration Special. The gorgeous Flow Magazine is headquartered in the Netherlands, and is dedicated to celebrating creativity, illustration, art, experimentation and beautiful paper. Right up my alley! In their Fall 2015 special issue, the editors at Flow featured 40 illustrators they admire who they’ve discovered this year. I was so thrilled to be included in this list! Above you can see my two-page spread in Dutch, and the English version should be out in 2016. In the meantime, unless you happen to speak Dutch or want to use Google Translate, here is the transcription of my original interview with Flow in English for your reading pleasure.
Happy Thursday, Friends!
FLOW MAG: Can you tell us something about yourself & your work?
LG: I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I have lived in the Bay Area for ten years. I’ve been into doing creative things since I was very young, but when I moved to San Francisco in my mid-twenties I started making art more seriously. I went to graduate school and got my MFA in painting, which was an important experience, but afterwards I felt burned out. I took a hiatus from painting, and it wasn’t until my daughter was born in 2012 that I started drawing and painting again. Since I was working in short intervals of time while taking care of her, I made a lot of small scale drawings and watercolor paintings, usually at my kitchen table. Illustration has always been intriguing to me, but I never had the guts to pursue it until that moment in my life. I really like the idea of making art into something functional, useable or accessible to everyday life. I have worked hard in the last three years to build a new portfolio and launch my career as an artist and illustrator. I have taken great classes and connected with other artists pursuing self-directed careers who have become my mentors and friends. I feel at home and myself in this realm, free to make a wide range of art- from painterly and abstract, to representational.
FM: How would you describe your work?
LG: I work in watercolor, a medium that I love because it can be manipulated to be crisp and clean, or organic and washy. I love the eclectic combination of these two ways of working with paint, and knowing that satisfying feeling inspires me to keep working. I like to paint all kinds of different things- plant life and botanicals, pattern, architecture, landscapes, and everyday objects. I like working with clients on specific projects that require research and communication just as much as working on my own ever-growing list of ideas.
FM: Which materials did you use for your illustration?
LG: I use watercolor and gouache on watercolor paper. I use Photoshop to digitally collage my work occasionally, but more often, my work is just scanned as-is.
FM: What do you like most about your work?
LG: That I get to make it at all! It’s taken me a long time to realize this is what I want to do, and I feel extremely lucky that I have the luxury of doing it. Now that I have a daughter, I carve out time to work, and that makes me treasure it even more. I feel like I have just started to find my niche.
FM: What inspires you?
LG: I always find this question difficult to answer because so many random things inspire my work. When I feel inspired it is usually because I’ve seen or thought about patterns, shape or color combinations. When I see things around that inspire me, I notice myself looking at the shapes within shapes and visually breaking things down into smaller parts. I think this is why my paintings often incorporate patterns- I like the challenge of taking apart those puzzles and recreating them on paper.
FM: Where do you work and how does your office/work space look like?
LG: It’s pretty basic! I’m in the process of creating a permanent studio in our new house, but I’m temporarily working in a second floor bedroom for the moment. I use a salvaged door on top of two sawhorses as a desk. I’ve narrowed my work area down to what I need most- paper, paints, brushes, some books and photos, and my scanner and computer. I try to keep my computer on the sidelines though, as the internet can be my biggest distraction! What I love most about my current space is the sunny window that my desk faces- I have a view of my neighbors rooftops, the sky and a birch tree right outside.
FM: How is life as an artist in your hometown?
LG: I’ve only lived in Oakland for a few months (after ten years in San Francisco), and I love it already. There is so much happening here! It is a totally vibrant community full of different kinds of people, amazing artists and entrepreneurs. I have always found the Bay Area to be a super welcoming place for artists – it is a place where creative people have endless ways to engage with the community, act on their ideas, and build a network of other like-minded people. I’m looking forward to getting to know Oakland better now that I live here.