Artist Interviews 2022

Gigi Allen  
By Julia Siedenburg

Gigi Allen is a very talented artists whose creation can be found decorating outside walls as well as indoor spaces. With degree in Interior Design, this local Angelino was able to collaborate with brands and so spread her work. Her beautiful artworks of shapes and drawings in different colors and sizes pull you in and keep you focus. The longer you look at them the more each piece makes you see and feel. Her work is mesmerizing and it caught my attention the moment Is saw it.

I have been trying to have Gigi as part of your magazine for a while and I am so happy that we were able to finally make it happen. Now, dear reader, please enjoy learning more about her and her creations in this article below.

What/Who inspired you to become an artist?

I wouldn’t say there was one particular event or person that inspired me. Art and design are instinct for me, and they’ve always been a big part of the way I communicate and intake information. I was, however, lucky to have people that were supportive of art as a career direction while growing up.

Photo: Sole Bicycles

You’re local in Los Angeles. Do you have the feeling art is perceived and used differently here than in other places?

Definitely! I have found the creative network and inspiration in LA to be endless. People have an interest and respect for art in multiple forms and it transcends so many different industries here. Naturally a city that is filled with creatives results in respect for the value and impact art can have.

Photo: Madeline Tolle

What first stood out to me when I came across your work was your calculated yet very organic and spontaneous-looking line and circle work in your pieces. They are filled with movement and flow. Please tell us how you would describe your art and which patterns of them are your favorite to draw and why.

I am fascinated with how the simple can become complex through a series of repetitions. I play with simple forms to create patterns, with an emphasis on movement. I often create patterns by imagining what these shapes would do if they were animated. My work is very precise and organized, so sometimes I like to use a technique or a medium that provides an organic element — something I don’t have control over. That’s how I ended up getting into block printing in recent years — I love the unknown nature of the block and ink against a substrate.

Photo: Tim Hirschmann

Does your mood play a big role in your workflow?

Yes. My work is largely based on recent travels or experiences. I find a lot of inspiration in observing new environments, or exploring nature. When I come back from a trip or a weekend camping, my workflow consists of sifting through photos I’ve taken and extracting shapes or elements that I feel motivated by. I’m in a very creative headspace after being immersed in new environments.

On Instagram, you mentioned you did a sketch a day. What was the idea behind it and how long were you able to keep it going?

I was feeling particularly uninspired and uncreative at the beginning of 2021 after months of pandemic lockdown. I decided to spend that February doing a sketch a day to get some ideas flowing. It was a good lesson in trusting the process and not having to put out completely finished work all the time. I ended up doing a 6 piece collection of some of the favorite sketches for one of my first pop-up events back from the lockdown.

Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and childhood?

I don’t think there’s much anyone would want to read here!

Besides beautiful colorful murals and your amazing geometric art pieces, you also have transformed inside spaces with your designs. How did this start and which was your favorite space to do?

My degree is in Interior Design. I spent the first six years of my career in LA with a design firm called Rapt Studio, which is where I got to design workplaces for well-known companies. I really enjoy the strategic and storytelling aspect of an interiors project — reflecting the ethos of a brand into a physical space. I am still very interested in the spatial side of design, but living in LA has peaked my interest in the experiential / event side of the industry.

You have been part of a few collaborations including surfboards for Cali Squeeze and Solé Bicycles. Tell us how that came about and what would be your dream collaboration.

I am lucky to have friends that work for some great brands and are simultaneously supportive of artists, so that’s how I got both of those gigs. My dream collaboration would be to do the visuals for a show — Tame Impala and Jamie xx are two recent shows I’ve attended that stand out when I think about the visual experience that accompanies music, and what an impact that can have on the senses.

Art has always been such an important piece of society. It has been an important tool to express emotions and spreading messages, especially during the current political climate and the raging wars. Can art in your opinion start a movement and stop a war? Please tell us why or why not.

I think it can absolutely start movements, or become symbols for them. People process information in many ways, and visual art is one of them. I think art can cause people to pay attention, to remember, and to feel motivated to share/participate. I also think the kind of media an artist chooses to convey a message with has a big impact. I spent some time in Oaxaca this summer, and most information there is conveyed through print (block print, risograph, etc) that is experienced by walking through streets — it’s impossible to miss, whether political or just for fun. This really got me thinking about the ways in which people express important information.

What is next? What are your plans for the future?

Good question and the answer is: I’m not completely sure. I’m trying to become more comfortable with a non-linear approach to work since I’ve started working for myself. The last two years of my career have been extremely exploratory and my projects come via networking and trying new opportunities. This scared me at the beginning, but I’m finding the process of not knowing exactly what’s next more exciting as I get used to the cadence. I do have my first solo art show at Culture Brewing in Manhattan Beach coming up in February 2023… that’s where most of my creative energy is focused at the moment.

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