growing up amongst artists, tia gabrielle practices a variety of creative disciplines making her work uniquely colorful and dimensional. while her graphic design work is thoughtfully strategic, her painting and murals convey fluidity and exploration.
interview conducted by primitives community lead @sydneyia
tell me about yourself! have you always been into making art?
i'm from memphis, tennessee, but i've lived in fort worth, texas for the majority of my life and am currently here as well.
i've always been into some aspect of making art. i was more into traditional art growing up, like painting and pastels. i had a natural talent for it and fortunately people around me noticed enough to encourage me when i was younger. my mom and grandmother were both art majors, so they just let me do anything until i found what i liked. for the longest time i wanted to be a painter, but it didn't seem like the most realistic thing for me to do as a job, which i was wrong about because people paint all the time now, but i started looking into graphic design, and i was obsessed with magazines and advertising so that's how i ended up getting into it.
what is currently inspiring you?
interestingly enough, i feel like going back to what i liked traditionally is really helping me grow in the design area. for a while i sort of just put it all to the side and focused on the coding and the technical things. painting just gives me a little bit of a new perspective. it's fun because i didn't think i'd ever really paint again and i miss it so much. painting in general has made designing more fun for me and i'm starting to bring more traditional elements into my graphic design too. i've been really drawn to painting murals, not that i really have any experience.
well the mural behind you looks amazing!
i'm crossing my fingers and hoping that it turns out the way that i wanted to, because i was just up at two o'clock in the morning and was like “i'm gonna start.” so i didn't necessarily plan it, which i'm regretting a little bit, just because i want everything to look perfect.
i know the process of translating a design to a wall is so tough and this one you’re working on is crazy good!
i underestimated it because i just jumped up in the moment and i usually plan things out more, but the idea crossed my mind and i knew if i don't do it now, i'm never gonna do it. so i'm glad that i started, but next time i know to plan it a little bit more.
apart from being a graphic designer, is painting your primary medium
honestly i just like experimenting with different things and i think paint is easier for me because i've done it for so long and i'm more confident with it. but i play around with things like collage art - i haven't done that in a while, but i used to do it a lot.
do you find anything particularly exciting about the future of merging digital and physical art?
yes, i find the future of merging digital and physical art incredibly exciting. personally, i am deeply passionate about the blending of these two mediums. in my current graphic design projects, i actively incorporate drawing techniques, which allows me to combine the best of both worlds. what excites me the most is the ability to visually showcase the distinctiveness of each medium within a single artwork. this merging of digital and physical art not only enables me to utilize and showcase my skills in both crafts.
what does being a creator mean to you?
i think about this a lot. first of all, i feel like it means something different to every person. a lot of times people automatically assume, “freedom of expression,” which i agree with, but i want to bring in a different perspective.
so, i'm a problem solver. and i feel like being creative in general, whether it's painting, building, designing, etc. i’m able to use what feels like my natural talents to get it done, as opposed to having to follow a recipe or directions. and that's what i like about graphic design - it requires creativity, but also strategy, thoughtfulness, and problem solving. being a creator is going outside of the lines a little bit in trying to solve a problem by looking at it from a different perspective.
lastly, i think creativity is just about being able to be yourself. and it's not always about painting and drawing, but using what comes naturally to you for some sort of purpose. i think the real test sometimes is actually being able to use your skills in the real world to make something make sense in a way that other people enjoy or resonate with.
did you have any experience prior with nfts venturing into the web3 space at all?
i tried and i don't remember the name of the platform. i just remember being super frustrated because i had to download two apps. and then i had to have a code that was 15 characters long. it was a lot before i could even really get into the actual profile. so i gave up. i wanted to get into it, but by the time i had a profile made, i was ready to delete all the apps.
what did you think about primitives when using it for the first time?
it was super easy. i was expecting it to be very, for lack of a better word, techy — like i would need to know code. i guess i’m not sure what i was expecting, but it was really easy. i figured i would sign up, feel out the platform, and then come back to use it, but i got excited by the ease of use very quickly!
yes! i loved seeing your pieces pop up on the homescreen!
i've been working on a few other things because those are pieces i already had done.
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