GISELLE LOW POLY
How long have you been an artist?
I have been a graphic designer for about 4 years and an illustrator for about 2 years. My Low Poly - High Poly Illustration project just had its second anniversary in June.
At what age did you know that you wanted to pursue art as a profession?
I would say I started being interested in arts and design when I was 8 years old. In high school, I was remarkable in art, language, and computer lab classes. I started drawing and designing handmade posters for my siblings’ and classmates' presentations, portraits, birthday invitations and helped in designing the student representatives’ campaign materials.
Where does your inspiration come from?
As a graphic designer, I feel inspired by language, education, visual communication and psychology. I am a negative space and minimalism lover in terms of composition for most of my work.
As an Illustrator, I feel inspired by psychedelic art, polygonal art, digital collage, pop-up books, black and white photography, complex minimalism, hallucinogenic imagery, mind altering colors, optical illusions, curvilinear shapes and geometric compositions.
How would you describe "mind altering colors?"
Colors have the ability to alter our mind and mood when used in different settings. Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious. Mind altering colors or psychedelic colors are visual displays inspired by psychedelic experiences and hallucinations known to follow the ingestion of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and psilocybin. The word "psychedelic" means "mind manifesting.”
How do you choose the subject matter of your art?
1. "Low Poly-High Poly Portraits: Artists"
I transform images of legendary, world renowned figures in the art world using the modern Low Poly technique, showing the before and after effect of adding an artful blend of colors to the triangles that create stunning artworks. Each image is reduced to a careful and complex arrangement of triangles in different shapes and sizes, before adding slightly different shades of color to complete the artwork and give the portrait life.
2. “Low Poly-High Poly Portraits: Politically Incorrect”
“Politically Incorrect” is a project which provides a voice to several world/ social problems I have identified with due to the fact that I have lived in the United States and Colombia. This project represents what I have felt living in two different countries and cultures where the politics seem to be almost the same. Issues such as nationalism, war, death, terrorism, nativism, fake feminism, racism, anti-free speech and classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, religion and tradition and the need for being politically correct and are the most important ingredients of this political recipe that the world has been cooking and is ready to serve. Inspired by the world's political situation, this project is a social and political critic with elements of sarcasm, satire, and humor.
3. “Animalis Abecedarium Pop Up Book”
This editorial and illustration project teaches English as a Second Language to nonnative English speakers (children in early education) through editorial design elements such as: Illustration, Typography, and Paper Architecture (Pop- Ups) reinforcing the role of the graphic designer in education. It teaches the English alphabet as an animal per character as well as the correct pronunciation and spelling of the word. It also, teaches the meaning of the word " Animal" which comes from the Latin " Animalis" meaning: having breath, having soul and a living being. This teaches the importance of taking care of animals and that humans are animals as well.
Tell us a bit about the methods and techniques you use to create your art.
I use Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe Photoshop CC to create my art.
Each piece is a geometric study of light and shadow depending on the lighting of the artist's image. I focus on the detail in the eyes and face trying to approach hyperrealism while at the same time work with bigger triangles to maintain the Low Poly technique and near abstract art. I define my illustration as: Minimal Complex.
How would you describe "Minimal Complex?”
We all are made of small particles that together make a whole. Each particle such as a molecule, atom or cell seems simple but inside is complex. This is the concept I have for each triangle that is of vital importance in the process of my work. Each triangle has different information such as light, shadow as well as tone of color giving life and volume to the portrait. The concept of complexity is to characterize something with many parts where those parts interact with each other in multiple ways. In other words, it becomes hyper realistic through detail, a careful arrangement of triangles with light, shadow and volume creating a whole and giving life to such complex and simple beings in this case, living beings.
How do you record your ideas?
When I have new ideas, I write them down so I can start a new project as soon as I finish one. I also talk with my friends and share ideas with them so they can complement my thoughts.
How or what do you do to enhance your skills and knowledge to grow as an artist?
I'm designing most of the time. I have been illustrating for two years which has made my skills way better than when I started. I focus more on the details so the illustrations look more hyper realistic. Also, I have learned ways to design faster than before so it doesn't take me too long to finish. To enhance my skills and knowledge I read design articles all the time. I am always looking for more and new information about arts and design and how to improve my experience with the design software. Also, I’m proud to have designers and artists as friends that I can talk about anything with and we can learn from each other. That is one of the reasons why I love living in NYC.
Is there a specific influential figure in your profession that keeps you motivated and inspired?
I’ve been inspired by:
Okuda San Miguel
And I was influenced by:
What three pieces of advice would you give to new artists building a career?
- If you don’t identify and feel satisfied with your artwork, you’re doing something wrong.
- Always trust yourself. All in all, if your creative work doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
- When it comes to design, be the strictest critic of your own work.
Do you experience creative blocks? How do you overcome them?
Of course, I do experience creative blocks. Sometimes I have so much to do with work and my personal work and I don't feel inspired at all! I think this is one of the differences with other kind of jobs. When it it is time to create, it is hard because you must use your imagination to do so. You may not always feel inspired depending on how your personal or work life is going.
To overcome it, I take a walk, take a nap, talk with a friend, read or doodle. These kinds of activities make me feel relaxed and chill and then I am ready to design!
Describe your biggest breakthrough moment working in your medium.
As a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, I have been part of multiple exhibitions in my home country of Colombia and United States. My most memorable moment was when I started being recognized thanks to my Low Poly Illustration Project " Low Poly/ High Poly Portraits: Artists" all over the world, with articles and interviews in design and arts websites such as DesignTaxi.com, Fubiz.net, Digitalartsonline.co.uk and others and in countries such as United States, Mexico, Colombia, France, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Italy and more.
Do you have any new goals you've set for yourself in your art career?
Now I want to focus on learning and approaching paper architecture so I can give life to my low poly and high poly illustrations. Also, I would love to start designing 3D objects for interior design and launch my own brand with these items. I focus on teaching languages through design and visual communication, so I would love to travel around the world, learning from different cultures, exploring and giving back what I know and help others.
I want to support the projects created by my friends and family, and to start a foundation to educate children and grownups about the environment and the importance of taking care of our planet, health, body and spiritual development through arts and design.
What is your most memorable moment as an artist?
My most memorable moment as an artist was when I got featured on the Adobe Illustrator Official Facebook and Twitter as one of the best illustrators using this software. I have had the chance to work with Candy Pratts Price, Creative director of Vogue, with her project CandyCast, and important ad agencies such as FOUR 32C, Circus Maximus, important cultural centers such as Brooklyn Center for the Arts, Judah International Dance Theatre, and was invited to be part of the "Most Important Contemporary Illustrators of the World" from a Melbourne based editorial.
How do you see art and psychology intertwined? What is the relationship between art and human experience?
Art is the most important way to express our human experience and it has always been present in our history. From early art expression at the Lascaux and Altamira's caves to the development of arts and crafts - and any kind of design present in the world - its relationship is important because art is a way of communication, for social inquiry, subversion and/or anarchy, and is an expression of the imagination.
Art and the mind are connected. Psychology is the science of behavior and mind, which embrace all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. Art has healing purposes. Through art we can determine the personality and emotional functioning of the artist, his emotions, his thoughts and how he sees the world. Each person has a different perspective of the world and art is the emotional evidence of our human experience.
How do you incorporate language into your artwork?
"An image is worth a thousand words"
I have always been interested in language and how it evolves faster than human beings. As a graphic designer and visual communicator my mission is to use design as a problem solver, in this case in early education and language learning.
Through different design fields, such as editorial, typographic design, illustration and paper architecture, children can experience second language learning easier through an image. It is known as a fact that human beings remember images more than words, and especially children in early education. This is how I incorporate language in my artwork as a graphic designer.
When assessing your own work, what steps do you take? Is there a system that you use in determining if a piece is "good?"
The first step I take is to think about a message or concept I want to make an illustration of. Pretty much the concepts I develop are inspired from my life, the political situation we are living, an experience, etc. I brainstorm and develop further what I want to communicate through my illustrations and what mission I want to achieve with this piece of art.
The second step is to start creating it visually. Minimal Complex is a vector collage of different concepts which together create a piece. I start my research for the images which will represent what I want to communicate and then I start the illustration process.
I create my color process in Photoshop first. My illustrations have a unique color palette which helps identify me as the artist behind the illustrations. Then I start the illustration process on Adobe Illustrator. The most important part of my work is breaking down the seemingly daunting design process behind low poly portraits, illustrating how each image is reduced to a careful arrangement of triangles in different sizes, before introducing colors to complete the artwork.
I determine if a piece is "good" when I use low poly and high poly together and it has the perfect harmony and composition I am looking for. I have become obsessed with details, so when I see a part of it is not detailed enough or it doesn't have enough volume or good lighting or shade, I work on it more.
When are you most creative?
I am most creative at night, which seems to be a graphic designer/artist characteristic. Sometimes I am taking a nap but also designing in my mind. I try to put together the next exhibitions, new concepts or how I would work with a new material so I can achieve the next level of design and work I want. I am designing in my mind all the time, I sketch, draw and write down all the ideas I have so I can later design them.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned as an artist?
The biggest lesson I have learned as an artist is that I am a graphic designer as well. I learned this the hard way. I have used illustration as a way to make art and I have learned as well that you can be both, a designer and an artist. When I started having my first illustration exhibitions, people would call me "the artist" and deep inside I felt uncomfortable because in design school they teach you "YOU ARE NOT AN ARTIST" so I found myself facing an existentialist dilemma.
Graphic design is visual communication and it must communicate. If it doesn't communicate what I want then I’m not doing my work properly. Art is the total opposite. It is not to be understood, it is to be interpreted, it is subjective, and not as objective as design. Now, every time I give a workshop I start talking about art and design, and how I have found myself being both, although I wasn't supposed to be both.
If you could change anything in the art industry, what would you change?
I have experienced good and bad situations within the art industry like having to pay for a space to show your work, not having enough resources to develop your exhibition, people taking credit for your work just because they are giving you the space or you belong to an institution. Also, I have also received art scam emails, where people try to sell you better exposure through books and paid reviews just to tell the world how awesome you are. Don't let your ego take over. Let your work speak for itself! Don't support this kind of art scam which try to profit from your hard work! I would like to see less of such things within the art industry.