Footpatrol Meets Gabriella Anouk

Putting sneakers aside for 10 minutes, another thing we love at Footpatrol is the world of art. Much like sneakers, art offers an endless world of possibilities and allows everyone and anyone to be a part of it whether you’re the creator or a viewer at an exhibition.

Last week, we visited our good friends at The House of St Barnabas who had an exhibition by hyperrealism artist, Gabriella Anouk. Always having a drawing pencil in her hands since her teens, Gabriella uses her frankly ridiculous drawing skills and takes the everyday mundane objects to create the most intricate, eye-catching drawings. Never missing an opportunity to connect with the artist and their work, before her opening night we invited Gabriella down to Footpatrol to talk to us a bit more about her work and where her passions all began.

Take a closer look below and make sure to check out her website for more information!

Footpatrol: Gabriella before we get into anything, it’s so great to meet you! Starting things off as simple as can be, how are you?

Gabriella Anouk: I’m good, thank you! I’ve been wanting to up my ‘shoe game’ for a while now, so I’m really glad we got to do this. Please teach me all you know! Plus the sun is shining, so happy days.

FP: For people who are not familiar with your work and what you do, could you tell us a little bit about yourself ?

GA: This question always makes me feel like I’m on a date. So, I’m an artist, my favourite colour is pink (which you’d recognize from seeing my work), I’m half Dutch half Welsh.. super random mix I know. I’m one of five kids, which I guess is kind of cool, and I love to draw. I currently work with colouring pencils to create pieces that play on scale and the manipulation of shapes, which for my recent series I did using slime. 

FP: When was the first time you realised you had a love for art?

GA: I’ve always enjoyed drawing since a very young age, but I only fell in love with it last year when I started to create the Slime Series. It was the first time I felt like I had total creative freedom and control over my practice. The drawings just poured out of me, it was like an out of body experience, once I started I couldn’t stop, a total blur. As cliche as that may sound! For so many years I had no idea what I wanted to do, and that’s a pretty scary mindset to be trapped in.. so I think that’s why I’m extra grateful for these experiences and for the work I’m now able to create.

FP: Some of your work is focused on hyperrealism. Have you always been into that style?

GA: This is a super interesting question and topic for me. I haven’t always been into hyperrealism, no, and when I set out to create this series, it wasn’t my intention – it just kind of happened.. Although, I personally feel a little uncomfortable with the term. I don’t particularly like categorising my work as hyperrealism because I’m not sure it really falls into that ‘style’. I’ve never really been a fan of labels to be honest, I like to just go with the flow and focus on the experience and the challenge of drawing something in lots of detail rather than trying to achieve a certain style. The subject matter is at the core of my work and how I get there is just part of the journey.

FP: If there is any, who has inspired your art form?

GA: Dali has been a huge underlying influence for me from a very young age and I fell in love with his work all over again recently when I went to the Dali Museum in Figueres. Seeing the work up close and personal is just an incredible feeling. 

FP: You have your most recent series of work on show at the House of St.Barnabas, which look so nice altogether. Could you tell us a little about the slime series and how that came about?

GA: I’m so grateful to the House of St.Barnabas for hanging the series in their beautiful house for the summer period and to be involved with such an incredible charity is wonderful. The series came about roughly a year ago to be exact! As it was a national lockdown I was limited in what I could use so I turned to my household objects. I’ve never been super interested in still life, particularly fruit bowls, so I decided to put my own spin on it by adding the slime element. I loved using slime because it can change a mundane object into something sculptural. As the drawings themselves can take up to 200 hours to create I have to be really ‘into’ what I’m doing or I’ll get bored! I love all the interesting reflections the slime creates and how it manipulates the fruit’s shape and colourings. Plus the juxtaposition of the synthetic slime contrasted against natural flesh is pretty fascinating. 

FP: Is this the first time you have tried to create something like this?

GA: Yes. Before this I was a commission based artist for three years, so my hands were pretty much tied behind my back for that whole time. I enjoyed it the first two years but toward the end I felt like a conveyor belt, I’d finish a commission and then it was straight onto the next and so forth. One day enough was enough! It’s worth noting that there was nothing fancy about how I got the idea of the Slime Series. I just woke up one day, stumbled downstairs, made a coffee and was about to eat my favourite breakfast – avocado toast (yes I’m basic) – and you know when you cut open an avocado and it’s a perfect colour and the stone to fruit ratio is just right? Well that happened and I thought, I just have to draw this! And the Slime Series was born.

FP: Did you have many struggles when creating this latest series? And if so, how did you overcome them?

GA: There are ups and downs throughout each drawing. Starting a piece is super tough for me but once I get into a rhythm it’s fine, until I get close to the end of the drawing, which is when I start to torture myself with plenty of self doubt, ‘is it good enough?’ ‘Did I just waste 100+ hours?’… I recognise this pattern now and just try and push through it. 

I did however have covid while drawing the last piece in the series, ‘Pomegranate Amour’ – but it sort of worked in my favour. I ended up spending the 10 days of quarantine in my studio and drew the pomegranate while being very kindly looked after by my partner who served me my meals through the door. 

FP: If you could pick one favourite piece that you have created, which one would you choose and why? 

GA: The avocado, without a doubt. It was the first piece I drew and the catalyst to the whole series. I owe so much to that piece.

FP: What advice would you give to people trying to make it in the creative industry?

GA: Never give up! If it’s your true passion it will come at the right time for you. I was 26 when I finally knew what I wanted to do and before then I was super lost. But, I really believe in spreading positivity, you get back what you give out.. karma type stuff. So keep grafting, try everything and your time will come. 

FP: Gabriella, we would like to say thanks so much for spending the time with us today! Is there anything you would like to share with the Footpatrol friends and family to sign everything off? A message of positivity, whatever you like.

GA: Haha I guess a repeat of what I said in the previous answer. I’m a firm believer in spreading positivity and kindness. It costs nothing to be kind! Top tip, make your bed in the morning and keep ticking off little tasks throughout the day and it will have a positive ripple effect on your life. It’s all in the little things!

P.s. Thank you for the trainers, I finally feel cool.

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