Los Angeles-based designer, artist and career consultant, Jeanetta Gonzales, spreads joy through a variety of creative means. Her multidisciplinary studio specializes in surface pattern design, lettering, illustration and graphic design. She licenses her art on an array of products such as ceramics, home decor, apparel and greeting cards sold in major retailers.
Jeanetta can also be found teaching at local art colleges, sharing inspiration online, and providing coaching services and guidance for artists, bringing out their true self expression. She has been featured on sites such as Domino.com, TheJungalow.com, PatternObserver.com and Artists and Makers Magazine.
Carrie: When did you first realize the importance of the arts in your life?
I have always been creative. I first realized its importance in 5th grade when I was selected to draw and paint a tropical mural scene in my school’s cafeteria. With the help of another artistic classmate and a teacher, the three of us drew a very large mural from one end of the space to the other. The children in the school were invited to paint in the different sections, finishing the mural.
That experience made me feel recognized for my artistic talent and allowed me the opportunity to contribute my skills to create a fun environment for others to enjoy. From then on I understood the positive impact that art makes in people’s lives and continued to nurture my creativity and share it with others. It is no wonder that I ended up working as a graphic designer and becoming a commercial artist. Making art and designs to spread joy has always been my mission.
Carrie: How would you describe your work?
I do a variety of work from surface design, textile design, graphic design, illustration and lettering. I work traditionally (paint, pen and ink) and digitally, often combining the two. My work is colorful, textural, energetic, feminine and fun. I am inspired by flowers, nature, plants, pattern and color.
Carrie: What has been the evolution of finding voice in your work?
My creative journey has come full circle in the last few years. I started off in art school focusing on painting and photography, then found my way to design school. I was a professional graphic designer for many years and didn’t paint or draw as much as I used to. Over time I began to do it more, take classes and stumbled into the world of surface pattern design.
It felt like it was a perfect fit for me and my skillset. I could do commercial, decorative work that was based on trends and aesthetics and design on the computer as well as my hands. As I started creating work I returned to painting and found that I loved natural elements, movement, texture and color. My voice and style continues to evolve as I nurture it and work on different types of projects.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
I work in a small room in my home that I made into a cozy and comfy studio space. I have a computer table that is raised to standing height and an antique drawing table where I paint and draw. I am surrounded by all the things that inspire me and help me work such as a pinboard filled with coveted items and images and bookshelves stacked with reference materials and notebooks.
Carrie: In addition to creating your own art, you also support fellow creatives. Tell us more!
I have always loved sharing any knowledge I have that could help a fellow Creative. A few years ago I was asked to teach surface pattern design at a local art college and a social media workshop at another college. I had been sharing my art tips and tricks on social media and spoke to my audience about life as an artist. That organically led to a 6 month Periscope show for commercial artists that I did with a colleague.
While doing the show I began to coach artists with their careers providing guidance, training and accountability. I also provide branding services and help artists see themselves as a brand, bringing it to life. I really enjoy the process of developing their skills and career and through our work together, I get to observe them uncover their personal power.
Carrie: What’s a recurring problem you see artists facing?
My clients usually have one or more of these things – lack of confidence in their abilities, they need guidance on the next steps in their career as they are stuck or are multi-passionate and overwhelmed, or not having a clear vision of who they are as a brand and need help pulling it all together. A lot of artists aren’t sure how to showcase their strengths and be authentic. Being an artist is a vulnerable thing. The art world can be competitive, especially on social media, which is very intimidating and changed the game.
Carrie: What advice do you offer for that problem?
My work with clients is individualized to the person but I will commonly work with them on uncovering their strengths, bringing out their personality and helping them find their lane. I want them to be as authentic as possible and be comfortable with themselves as an artist. It’s about turning the dial down on the noise and distractions and getting to the core of who they are.
If they are lacking in some technical skills we work on that as well as getting back to basics such as doodling and making art that they used to in their younger years – when they were more themselves. Just doing that alone revives the inner artist and brings out the joy that may have been lost. From there things really start to shift and open up.
Carrie: What do you hope people experience when they engage with your work?
I hope that people connect with me, see the authenticity and find it enjoyable.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
Photoshop. I use it constantly. I can make art, finalize my traditional pieces and design in it. It is a must for me.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
I find I am endlessly inspired by flowers and plants as well as other artists. I love having a great conversation with another artist, listening to a creative talk or attending a creative event. I gain a lot of energy and inspiration when I hear about the artistic process, hear and see other’s work, and learn about their struggles and their wins.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
A spark of genius or magic that comes from your own, true self-expression.
Be Creatively Courageous: Who/what inspires you today? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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