Creativity Series - Bella Gomez

Ella
9th August 2018

'Personal development'  © Bella Gomez

As part of our Creativity Series, we interviewed illustrator and designer Bella Gomez.  

Can you tell us a bit about your practice and give us your background?

I am a freelance Illustrator and Surface Pattern Designer. Having forged an expressive, bold and colourful style, I create prints and illustrations for fashion, advertising, interiors, stationery, books and murals.

My work in design started with my own accessories label, manufacturing in Jakarta and wholesale internationally. This led to designing accessories and gifting for Monsoon and then onto creating prints for a luxury womenswear brand. My experience gave me an invaluable understanding and insight into the design, manufacturing and marketing process.

"5 Wild Numbers" - an innovative, tactile children’s board book illustrated, featuring wild animals, repeat patterns and unique sliding discs © Bella Gomez

Do you feel you have a clear creative process? Or is this something more fluid?

I have a fairly uninhibited process. I get very excited by colour and the emotional response I have to it. So I can often start there. I follow one of two processes. I sketch ideas quite intuitively and playfully on paper. I find sheets of paper freer than a sketchbook. I can pick them up and move them around, stick them on the wall, combining illustrations together. Or alternatively, I will research and create a mood board, which will inspire and direct and my drawings.

I like to sit with an idea or project, allowing it to evolve and bounce around. While working on one design, an accidental composition or colour combination may spark a direction for the idea I’m mulling over. After the explorative process, a structure kicks in. Which is often painting, then scanning, editing, evaluating and the fun bit of finalising an artwork and creating colour options.

Where do you draw inspiration from? More broadly and day to day, is this different?

Inspiration can come from many sources. I have always loved nature and the ability to use it to explore colour and form.

Ideas can come quite randomly; a saved postcard from an exhibition, hand-painted tiles, a striking colour combination on packaging or an old wall. My pattern and colour heroes are Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Bridget Riley, Liberty and Josef Frank. I'm constantly drawn by the impact print and pattern can have, be it in a space or on a product; it can inspire, have a narrative or be somewhere to let your mind wander.

A commission to design a lush botanical mural for Hotel Figueroa, Downtown, LA. The spacious vibrant floral was hand painting onto the 12 storey poolside facade © Bella Gomez

How do you avoid falling into automatic mode? What routines do you find helpful in keeping your creative side stimulated?

My work attracts diverse projects, encouraging my mind and eye to work in different ways.  A particular brief or product may trigger a new method or technique. It is important to remain flexible and fully explore the design process while respecting a client’s ambition or the restrictions a particular product may bring.

I was recently commissioned to design a 12-storey mural for the façade of Hotel Figueroa in LA. This was an amazing opportunity to be very expressive and to wholeheartedly embrace scale. It made me look at my work from a different perspective.

For me, walking the Sussex Downs, jumping in the sea and immersing myself in my family are essential to revitalising myself and my work.

Hotel Figueroa mural detail (Downtown, LA) © Bella Gomez

Why is creativity important in your role, what environment does it best thrive in? Do you need a quiet space or loud music? Do you need to be alone to be productive? 

Creativity is fundamental to my work but I need to allow it the time and space to develop.

Which usually means clearing out my emails, making a do list and stepping away from social media. My creative juices don’t usually kick in until after 11 am. I like a clean tidy space so that I can then spread out, make a mess and enjoy the process.

I love the buzz of working in a team, collaborating and bouncing off ideas. I can work equally well on my own, although it is sometimes hard to be objective. I often work in quiet enjoy the peace to think and focus. If I'm working in the evening it's definitely music and herbal tea.

 

Painted artwork for an office entrance © Bella Gomez

What did you want to do as a child?

I was encouraged to follow a dream. So I did and started life as a dancer.

I was always happy making and creating, rarely sitting still, so it feels natural that I pursued a career in design.

Can you tell us about something you have coming up? 

I have recently created illustrations for a children’s treatment room in Texas and artwork for a scarf for cancer fighters. I’m currently designing a mural for a co-work space and developing a range of large transferable artworks to be used in commercial, hospitality and residential spaces.

Kendra Scott Jewellery Summer '18 marketing campaign. My illustrations were used throughout their 170 U.S. stores, online and across their social media © Bella Gomez

You can see more of Bella's amazing work at www.bella-gomez.com