Interview of Gabrielle Rosenstein by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m originally from South Jersey, a good ten minutes outside of Philly. I recently drove cross country with my partner and now we both live in Pasadena, in a quiet apartment with a loud rug. By day, I’m glued to my laptop and wacom tablet working on daily illustrations for my #365DrawingChallenge; by early eve, I’m hooked onto another computer in Burbank as a Media Manager assisting with the Discovery Channel at VUBIQUITY.
How did you get started in the arts? Did you study it formally?
I can’t really say how I started in the arts, as it was more so an extension of being when I was a child. The peaks of playtime consisted with my own storytelling that was so developed in my mind, but only rendered by a few loose doodles in the oversized sketchbook that I brought with me most places. I really hung out with these drawings, if that makes sense. They would speak to me, I would speak back, and in turn I would create a reaction drawing on top or overlapped. I can only describe it as a seriously psychotic, unorganized moving comic. My parents bought me those teach-yourself illustration books when I was little, which was extremely influential. I can remember in particular this one lesson on perspective where two mice were carrying a log. The mouse at the far end is tiny, just a dot, and the log grows wider and wider, until it reaches the other mouse at the foreground of the page. I can’t help but believe that because I was learning laws of nature through my own illustration, there was no way I was going to be interested in realism.
Throughout adolescence I studied art formally through early college programs at Moore, MassArt, and Otis. I graduated with my BFA in 2015 at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in the advanced painting department.
How would you describe your illustrations/style?
A close friend of mine recently described my illustrations as, “Mernet Larsen’s work with rounded edges, but youthful and everyday,” which was indirectly the nicest thing she’s ever said to me. My illustrations are autobiographical snapshots. The figures are a direct extension of my psyche, yet the characters themselves act as my minions (they’d take the bullet). Presented with an elastic quality, the figures are sarcastic, capture attitude, and the scenes play a role as satirical renditions of my everyday life. I think this is important to find humor in such a seriously taken practice.
Who are some artists you admire, that you are inspired by?
Artists that are timeless: Chagall, Miró, Matisse, early Picasso, Cézanne, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Thanks to instagram: Nicola Tyson’s illustration (and writings), Zebu, Misaki Kawai, and Ed Cheverton.
What other things inspire you and your art?
Definitely my friends’ sense of fashion and real good food. I always say that nature deeply inspires me and my artwork, although I certainly don’t spend that much time directly infused with it as I would like to. But the idea of nature and the smell/look of nature are intensely inspirational. Children’s clothes, cartoons, and doodles because they’re so intuitive! There’s also an indirect crossover of inspiration coming from the hours of incredible video games my partner plays.
What themes and ideas do you try to explore in your artwork?
Satire and sarcasm are central themes in my recent illustrations. I’m playing with the wonders of youth and the dreadful qualities of it. An example would be this illustration where I’ve captured a cup of coffee spilling off a desk. Frozen in time, the female leans back and watches nonchalantly, “How much longer until I get off work?”
What’s something few people know about you?
I’m obsessed with Hearthstone and will eventually become legendary.
Tell us one item on your bucket list?
Travel to as many countries as I can to taste and learn about as many dishes possible.
What’s a good piece of advice you’ve been given or heard lately?
Tough work feels better than feeling like shit.
List five things that fascinate you.
Nature. People. Animals. Food. Creation.