Employee Spotlight: Interview with an Artist
Have you checked out the selfie spots at your local Bookmans lately? Every location has a special place where you can take and share photos and spread your love for Bookmans. The selfie spot at Bookmans Northwest is extra special because it was painted by Bookmans employee and artist Galadriel Gross.
Did you know that if you stop by the Northwest location, snap a pic, follow Bookmans Northwest on Instagram, and post with the tag #bookmansnw, #coolcovered, or @BookmansNW you can win prizes like a gift card or Bookmans merchandise! Below is an interview with the customer service manager and painter.
Tell me a little bit about how you began painting. How long have you been painting?
I’ve been painting actively for just over two years now. I’ve done drawings and created art my whole life. But I discovered oil painting during the last semester of my associate’s degree and realized it was the best medium for me. I’ve been taking classes and self-teaching ever since.
Can you talk a little bit about your practice? Do you find yourself sketching or painting everyday or when inspiration strikes?
I do sketches or work on pieces I’ve already started at least every other day. Practice is the biggest challenge of the whole thing. Building better habits and setting aside time for what is essentially my favorite thing to do is more difficult than you’d think! I’ve been setting up a workspace that makes more sense, and that’s helped productivity a ton.
How do you stay motivated to create art?
My three major motivators are digesting the work of other artists for inspiration, trusting the process and letting paintings solve themselves over time (it’s really rewarding to finish something that’s been a challenge), and soaking up imagery from the world around me.
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are artists. Dorielle Caimi and Shana Levenson are contemporary geniuses. I’ve had the pleasure of taking an artist workshop with them, and it transformed my understanding of oils. I also enjoy Peter Draws, I discovered his quirky videos in high school. But I’m constantly finding artists, and looking for styles that I find exciting.
What was the most fun commission you’ve done recently?
No joke, the selfie spot door has been my favorite commission. I’ve done some other cool stuff (I got to paint a Wendigo, and I’ve done album art for friends). But the selfie spot was such an exciting process, with all the color and working at a large scale for the first time. It’s done in acrylic as well, which was new for me as an artist.
What inspired the selfie spot at Bookmans Northwest?
When I started the selfie spot I knew I wanted something colorful, honoring books and the local culture. The weird desert mythos that we experience in Tucson, nature and the variety of ideas that fill up a bookshop are a part of that culture. Kaia [the store manager of Bookmans Northwest] was a huge help with the theme. It came together relatively easily. Also I knew I wanted a dark blue night scene to bounce off of the orange shelves in the store.
Where can we find some of your work?
Most of my other work is posted on my Instagram (@galadriohokay). I’ve got a ton of stuff in the works, and it’ll all be posted there as I finish things.
If you are inspired to create something magical but don’t consider yourself an artist, check out these cool ways you can create a bookshelf design that begs for shelfies!
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