Interview | from the desk of Alicia Galer - textile designer & Illustrator.
This month we spoke to London-based, botanical loving Alicia Galer: textile designer and illustrator. Graduating almost five years ago from Leeds College of Art with a degree in Printed Textiles and Surface pattern.
Her work consists of expressionist paintings, extracted through mark making and experimentation and refining. By utilising a variety of mixed media, from delicate pencil drawings for the book 'House of Plants' to the bold strokes of oil pastel.
Since then, Alicia has been anything but bored. Along with her own practice, she has also been freelancing for a fashion textile studio, where unique artwork is sold to be applied to garments.
In the Autumn she will be relocating to Manchester from London, to be closer to some of her nearest and dearest, to grow her practice and have a bit more space...possibly for plants.
Like us, she is inspired by her surroundings and experimentation - she opens up her ola notebook to us...
ola: When designing and testing our notebooks, we are constantly imagining the journeys they’ll take after they’ve left our studio. Could you tell us a little about how you use your notebook?
Alicia Galer: I always carry a notebook as I am not always working in the same place, I do a lot of list making of what I have to do each day and note making of research otherwise I will forget as my week is split into being in different places and roles.
o: Are there any special journeys or trips that you’ve taken a notebook along on? If so what did you fill it with?
AG: I went on a road trip at the beginning of the year across Ireland with my boyfriend. I did pencil sketches of the landscape, particularly West Cork. I made notes and lists of places we visited. We want to go back next year too and drive further up the west coast. The landscape was so wild and beautiful, it was so relaxing driving around and taking in the views in between stops.
o: Do you have a particular ritual, routine or starting point when beginning a new project or design? What does your typical day look like?
AG: At the beginning of a new project I gather imagery by taking relevant pictures and sourcing books. I surround myself with these and tend to rearrange my space and my next steps are to begin with observational pencil sketching from the photographs I have taken. Then I go on to work from these, drawing upon my initial lines and marks and creating compositions and combinations with different materials and colours.
My days vary depending on where I am working. I work for a textile studio in North London two or three days a week depending on deadlines and I work on my own projects and commissions from my studio space in Hackney Wick mostly and also a few days of the month from my boyfriend’s apartment in Manchester.
o: I can see you have a variety of photos on your Instagram feed that come across in some of your designs. What would you say your main source of inspiration is?
Everyday, collecting, outdoors, photography.
When working in a fashion textile studio, there is a constant need for new ideas and work as the process from start to finish has to be quite quick. So I look to a variety of different sources; photography, graphic design, interiors and travel.
As well as being being inspired by the natural work I am really influenced by interior spaces, I am constantly changing my space with plants, objects, pieces of furniture and books I have out on my shelves. I love the process of putting things away and bringing them out again, finding a new space for it and being inspired all over again but perhaps in a different way. I used to work in Triangle Store in Hackney which has definitely intensified my interest in everyday interiors and spaces.
o: We have shelves full of books and magazines in our studio which we are constantly revisiting for research and inspiration. Some of the most valued have been recommended by friends. Is there a title you’d suggest we check out?
LH: Last year I went to the Disobedient Bodies exhibition at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, curated by Jonathan Anderson, which was so inspiring and the catalogue by OK-RM is beautiful and is one of my favourite things I have bought in the last year. I find Viviane Sassen’s photography incredibly inspiring and I have a few of her books. I am looking forward to going back to the Hepworth Gallery again this summer as she has exhibition there too.
Pages – Ruled, plain, dotted or something else? Plain.
Size – A4, A5 or A6? A5
Format – Landscape or portrait? Portrait
Favourite Tool – Pencil, pen, something else? Pencil
1. Alicia Galer
2-5: Alternating images from inside Alicia's sketchbook and her work.