This is Gabriella, also known as @morewalls_art. I met Gabriella through a pal I worked with last year. She’s bright, bold, nicely opinionated and her art is work to keep an eye out for. As we tie up January, the first month of a new decade, we are proud to present Gabriella to you through our regular #Artist #SpotlightOn showcase. Rosanna Head
Tell us about what you do…
I am a fine artist born and raised in south east London offering a broad variety of artwork; both commission based and of my own personal style. I try not to limit myself to one type of medium and as a result I have turned my hand to many different areas of creativity. Whether it is an oil painting of your late grandma, a graphite drawing of a turtle or a hand painted leopard print floor in a hair salon – I’ve probably done it and if I haven’t yet, I’d love to.
How did you get into your craft?
I was always a big lover of art at school, and I went on to study for a Fine Art degree at Kingston University. The day of my final graduation show I received a commission to paint a full bedroom jungle mural (I’d never painted a mural before this point), and I chose to accept! From there I built an online portfolio, and between that and word of mouth the commissions started to steadily roll in.
Who or what inspires you?
I’ve always been massively inspired by Lucian Freud, and his amazing paintings and drawings, since my school days. I think it’s the honesty in his representation of his subjects, alongside his fleshy tones and his eye for composition that I fell in love with and got me painting nudes and portraits originally.
Also Frank Auerbach was a big inspiration, which may seem odd as my style of working is very opposing to his in many ways. I’ve always loved his fearless mark making; overlaying repeatedly onto the same piece of work until he felt it was complete. It’s the gravity and authority of his pieces that never fails to resonate with me.
What is your most memorable piece of work either by you or another artist?
Personally Nude with pigeon skull, 100 x 200 cm, acrylic on canvas which I completed in 2012 is probably one of my most memorable pieces of work. I painted it when I was studying fine art at University and was trying to find my true self as an artist. The work depicts the vulnerability and contemplation of the individual; displaying the beauty of the living human form alongside the delicacy of the pigeon skull hanging from her finger. This was one of my first nods to Memento Mori in traditional painting, and not to be my last.
It was also one of the first pieces I created that I accepted as ‘complete’ without completing in a literal sense. As an artist this was very important for me as I finally learnt to not overwork a piece of art, but to instead leave parts of the canvas untouched and unpainted. It reminds me of the aesthetics I hold myself to as an artist and of my aspirations, as well as inspirations, which have remained constant to this day.
Is there a seminal moment in your life that has made a profound impact on you and your work?
It’s hard to identify one particular seminal moment, there have been a few to truly impact me over the years, but the most recent would be taking the plunge and having my own studio cabin built. It was nearing the end of last year, at a time when my mental health and home life had taken a dramatic knock, I knew a change needed to take place and I needed to do something positive for myself! It’s so nice to finally have my own private studio that I actually own. It gives me the freedom and space I need to think, create and explore ideas (and quite often to procrastinate, because what creative doesn’t?).
Do you have any current exhibitions on?
Sadly not currently. I put on an exhibition last year showing the work of some local creatives in South East London which exhibited the work of five artists including myself. I hope to do again this year! I just need to find the right a venue!
What are your plans for the future?
To keep making and working hard! I’d love to get more large scale projects and murals to work on, and ideally hire a team of creatives to work alongside me… next stop, world domination!
What are your favourite SELondon spots?
ALL OF IT. But if I need to be more specific… I get my hair done at Queen’s Peckham by the wonderful Beth which is an absolute gem of a salon and all the ladies who work there are the best [ plus I hand painted their leopard print floor ]….Holdron’s Arcade is just a nice place to poodle up and down anyway!
For drinks, I’m loving the vibes at CLF Art Lounge in Peckham at the moment & for food/drinks I’d choose Donnelly’s at Bermondsey Bar & Kitchen. Also, the bench at the top of One Tree Hill looking out over London – because we all need some fresh air and a great view at times!
And just for fun, who would be your ideal fantasy dinner guest?
Probably Jesus… whether he’s a fantastical character or real I’d quite like to see what he’s about or Robin Williams because his face makes me happy.