Designer Spotlight: Angel Gerardo

HELLO, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

Hi! I’m Angel Gerardo from Phoenix, AZ.  I grew up in the forests of Alaska and northern Michigan. Although I do love our saguaros and sunshine, much of my heart remains with the sights and scents of the deep green wilderness.

When I’m not in my home studio, I like to explore the outdoors with my partner, daughter, son and dog. 

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR?

I guess so, I just didn’t know it was a real thing! I’ve always loved drawing and painting and making things “pretty” in my eyes. I went to college for Interior Design and fell in love with Photoshop. I had a few Interior Design friends, but I mostly hung out with the Illustration/Animation crowd. I probably should have figured out my path then. 

My son is the reason I finally found surface design. I became a stay at home mom when he was born, as he has special needs. I still needed a creative outlet and wanted to make a little money, thankfully Spoonflower opened their doors.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY/WEEK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Oh goodness, I have a very flexible set schedule!

I have bullet point lists, which I check off and add to throughout the week. I like to be super organized in my planning, but more spontaneous with when I do each task. I try to balance my creative work with my business work so I still enjoy all of the process. Because of May show prep, my website and newsletter have been a bit neglected - so sometime’s there’s not room for everything. I’ve accepted I can’t do everything at once and just do my best. 

Once a week I join a Skype meeting with my agent and co-artists, it’s a great way to catch up.

My Honey is a self employed musician which takes some planning around our home life, as he’s at gigs 4-6 days a week. Luckily, his mornings are wide open and he’s able to see our son off to school while I jump right into my work day. 

I paint, I exercise, I use Photoshop and occasionally Illustrator, I spend time with my family, I dream of peace on earth, fresh fruit and clean air.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 10 YEARS YOUNGER SELF ONE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE OR AN INSIGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Invest in a stand up desk!

WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK OR IN A DESIGN RUT, HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?

Mother Nature is an unlimited well of inspiration and energy. I try to get out of the concrete city as often as possible (even if that means hiking up a preserve) to immerse myself in the freedom of the outdoors. I soak in all the senses, so if I’m ever really stuck and unable to get away, I can close my eyes and try to remember what I absorbed. 

That, or occasionally I’ll pace around the house trying not to think about what I’m working on while obsessively thinking about what I’m working on!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN TOOLS?

I’m in love with Holbein Artist’s gouache. Easily manipulated, it can be as transparent or opaque as I like. Other faves - watercolor pencils, a clean desk, Wacom tablet and Photoshop.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? FAVOURITE APPS AND PROGRAMS

Not always, but most of the time - research, sketch, paint, scan, assemble. I used to add caffeine to the mix, but have recently given it up.

I limit my social media time, but I could fall in an Instagram spiral. Instagram is full of amazing things to see and completely my fave app.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN PROJECTS TO DATE?

I’m endlessly surprised and pleased by what my Spoonflower customers create! Its great to see the same designs being used on an assortment of products.

I’m still very new to the licensing industry - May 2017 was my first Surtex. I have a few projects in the works via my agent, Brenda Manley, but nothing I can elaborate on yet.

WHO ARE YOUR DREAM CLIENTS OR WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

I’d love to collaborate with Hygge & West, Cost Plus World Market and of course, Anthropologie.

THERE HAS BEEN AN ART SUPPLY SANCTION IMPOSED AND DESIGNERS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO POSSESS 3 ITEMS/TOOLS, WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE?

Gouache, cold press watercolor paper and a long handled #3 paintbrush.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

Again, Mother Nature. Have you ever lifted a piece of moss off of a forest floor and inspected what’s happening underneath? In that tiny space there’s a whole other world. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to travel to many natural places in the US; from glaciers in Alaska to alligator filled swamps in Georgia, to mud bubbling hot springs in Yellowstone and so much in between. I draw on that inner nature reservoir, whenever I’m feeling less grounded in Phoenix. It’s harder for me, but I do find inspiration here in the desert too. Thankfully we have city preserves where I can find coyotes, quail and so many cool cactuses.

WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE GREATEST DESIGNER IS?

Whew, that’s tough question. My answer could probably change every day about who the “greatest” is - so today I’ll choose Mary Blair and Hayao Miyazaki.

WHEN I'M LONG GONE:

I hope people remember me and my work with a warmth in their heart and a smile on their face.

Where you can find me:

angelgerardo.com

instagram.com/angelgerardo_

facebook.com/angelgerardoart

linkedin.com/in/angelgerardoart

twitter.com/angelger28