Storytelling is an essential element in London-based Salvadorian illustrator and textile pattern designer, Gabriela Larios’ work. Her designs draw on her childhood memories and bring to life in a playful and mythical manner – flowers, plants, birds, fish and other colourful creatures. It is like we have stepped into her imagination for a private viewing.
Gabriela has launched a new range of designs for Nerida Hansen Fabrics, here she talks about her inspiration for this collaboration, as well as her artistic mother and her own experience migrating and its impact on her art.
Hello Gabriela, what have you been working on during the global pandemic and why?
I have been working on new pieces suitable for greeting cards and commissions for picture books.
Do you like to see your art adopt many lives such as on fabric, homewares, stationery, etc?
That is the best part of creating art when you see it coming to life on various applications like fabric, greeting cards, homeware.
Let’s chat about your childhood. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I grew up in El Salvador, a very small country in Central America, known for its delicious pupusas and amazing volcanoes. I now live in London, I came here to continue my studies in art and graphic design in 2007. It was here that I realised that I had a passion for illustration, textiles, patterns and children’s books so I continued honing my skills and working hard independently which is what I always wanted in order to have more flexibility between family and work.
Who was your creative influence when growing up?
It was my artistic mother who taught me my first lessons about art, taste for colour combinations and my love for watercolours. My main inspiration in becoming an artist was in fact migration and the experience of coming to London, one of the most creative, cultural cities in the world, which offered abundant artistic stimulation and countless possibilities and pathways for the creation of art.
My mother introduced me to the world of watercolours, which is to this day one of my favourite techniques.Could you tell me about your style? Have you always had this style or has it evolved/changed over time?
Style comes with time, it doesn’t come overnight and it definitely evolves throughout time. My style I think is influenced by the type of art I like and my personality. I love folk art and picture books and that is why you can see some sort of playfulness in it. There is a naive and poetic spirit captured in my art and all the colourful illustrated creatures found in it, birds, fish, plants and insects.
When and how did you meet Nerida Hansen?
I met Nerida many years ago I think we bumped each other online and she took my art to international fairs while she used to run her art agency representing international artists.
What is the title of your latest collection for Nerida Hansen Fabrics? What can our customers expect?
The name of my collection is Folk Tales inspired by my love of picture books, textiles and folk art from my native El Salvador and Latin America. The pieces depict the joyful beauty found in the country side, through scenes that give hope and light about the possibility of living a harmonious existence with nature and the importance of coexisting with it in a balanced way to safeguard it for future generations. These pieces are part of memories of my childhood, the innocent and colourful world that lives within me, which began to accompany my creative wanderings since I discovered art as a way to express my thoughts, dreams and imagination.
Talk us through your typical day. What do you do outside of work?
I love to spend time with my family, go for walks in the country side, cycle to Richmond Park to see the deer that roam around the park and go for a run after dropping off my son at nursery.Who currently inspires you with your work?
I love the work of Mark Hearld, Dee Nickerson, Carson Ellis, Fernando and Salvador Llort to name a few.
What would be your dream project?
To keep on developing more picture books (excited that my first picture book is published this year) and to be able to develop more fabric collections would be great!
What is in the pipeline for you?
To keep on experimenting with new techniques and produce more self-initiated projects.
Give me three words to describe your art.
Playful, Poetic, ColourfulWhat advice would you offer to those that are starting out as artists/illustrators?
Keep on honing your skills, keep on evolving, don’t stand still and try to set up goals. Times are tough at the moment but try to keep positive, nurture your mind, body and spirit in any way possible.
Gabriela’s folky designs are available online at www.neridahansen.com.au