We recently got the chance to chat with artist Ali Gibbons, one of those people who seems so inherently good at everything that it's intimidating. Throughout her paintings, pet portraits, ceramics, jewelry, and quilts, there's an effortless ease, a feeling of familiarity and comfort. Here's what she had to say about her inspiration and latest projects...
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I'm originally from Arizona and draw much of my inspiration from the desert landscapes and culture. I was always interested in art and moved to Chicago to study painting and ceramics at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I lived there for about 7 years and worked for a number of companies that supported small craft businesses including the Renegade Craft Fair and Aesthetic Movement while continuing my art practices. I felt the need to do something on my own again so recently I quit my 9-5 and moved to Raleigh, NC with my partner, Scott Reinhard. I started my newest projects, Line Line Co. and Shape Shape Shape Shape here. We live with our cat, Tilda and beagle, Esther in a wonderful historic neighborhood in Downtown Raleigh.
You're one of those multi-talented people who make so many different, wonderful things (paintings, ceramics, quilts); how did you learn each craft and do you feel ever like they intersect?
I had access to all sorts of art early on. My mom is an amazing quilter and taught me to quilt. She always had craft projects around the house and one day caught me trying to copy Bob Ross by forcing a large craft brush into a flat shape. The next day I had a full set of paints and real brushes. By middle school I was fully obsessed with any new material I could get my hands on and that is where I first tried ceramics. It was no surprise that I chose to go to art school! I find working with very different materials brings a balance to my work. I bounce quickly between each project and definitely find that the materials inform each other.
Your ceramic wall hangings have an earthy, natural element that reminds us of landscapes. What's the real inspiration?
They are inspired by landscapes! Arizona is full of wonderful sun-bleached colors and I find that the clay's dry surface is much like the chalky desert. The more simple horizon wall hangings are inspired by Lake Michigan.
Your mom is a quilter, but it's never been your preferred medium. What's attracted you to it lately?
Quilting has always been a part of my life thanks to my mom but I just recently branched out into designing my own quilts. I dye the fabrics myself because the store fabric felt too stiff and uniform. I like having the control of the subtle colors and texture.
How did your new collaborative effort Shape Shape Shape Shape come into being?
Scott and I started the project earlier this year and it was a very organic process. We had been working side-by-side in the studio for a little over a year and always talked about doing wearables. We found ourselves making shapes and experimenting and a few months later launched the website. We're so excited with the growth of the project!