March 14, 2023
Interview with Daniela Gallego for Toi art Gallery
Daniela Gallego was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She spent part of her childhood visiting her grandma in the countryside, an experience that translates in her color palette and subtle, magical illustrations deeply connected to nature.
She graduated in Graphic Design in Bogota and obtained a degree in Illustration in Barcelona, Spain. She has participated in collective exhibitions in Colombia and Spain. Daniela was selected as finalist for several awards and she has also published illustrated children’s books.
Daniela, experimentes with various techniques such as watercolor, pencil, and graphite; her work is whimsical and magic, with a delightful color palette that will for sure brighten up any wall.
Where did you grow up and how was your childhood like?
I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and I spent most of my holidays around mountains and nature. My grandparents grew up in the countryside, so my childhood’s memories are full of adventures in nature, surrounded by dogs, cats, chickens, cows, and trees. I believe this was such a strong influence in my personality and my work, and the reason for my love of plants and nature.
Are your illustrations influenced by the landscape of your childhood?
Definitely. My work is inspired by my childhood memories. For medical reasons I had to stayed in bed for long periods of time in Bogotá. My illustrations show this introspective and imaginative way to navigate the world.
Insomnia by Daniela Gallego
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist and why?
I realized the great possibilities of creating with my hands, through the long periods of stillness that I lived in my childhood; I tried different mediums like sewing and wire sculptures until I discovered drawing. I have also experimented very briefly with embroidery and ceramics in the last few years.
How do you choose your techniques and color palettes?
I am very interested in recreating atmospheres, scenarios that invoke an emotion, so I look for color palettes that transport people to a specific moment, like a moonlit night, or a cloudy morning. I like to work with analog drawings and digital color because it allows me to experiment and search for the right color. Sometimes, when an image appears clear to me, I like to try with watercolors, colored pencils, or markers.
Bus by Daniela Gallego
Falling by Daniela Gallego
Your work plays with contrast between light and shadow, and shadows are somewhat protagonist of the images, as if they were trying to say something more or something else. Could you tell us more about the shadows in your artwork?
I spent a lot of time in my room when I was younger, and fortunately my room always had these big windows that look out to trees and cars with the lights on outside. I was always mesmerized on how some things in my room came alive with the lights that crossed outside my family’s house. The trees suddenly appearing in my room, the shapes from outside, it was almost like they were telling you a story. The idea of movement and light can bring out the hidden stories of things inspire my work today.
Stillness by Daniela Gallego
Your illustrations transmit a close relationship between people and animals, and people and nature. What role plays nature in your work?
Maybe is because I grew really close to nature and I still visit the mountains frequently. When I’m there, I appreciate the connection to nature, but also the way in which people in the countryside experience the world. I like how everything in nature have the potential to become an interlocutor, the trees, the birds…
Little Blue Elephant by Daniela Gallego
Botanica by Daniela Gallego
How is your work routine?
Normally I start the day reading and collecting quotes from books.
Movies, photographs, and sometimes pictures I have taken, everything inspires me. When I’m working on a commission sometimes, I just do chores and let my ideas flow. Then I start doing sketches, and I choose the materials I’m going to work with. I love to find I nice cozy spot in my studio and listen to a podcast or music to keep me inspired.
Window by Daniela Gallego
Where do you work?
I like to switch to different places in my house.
What is your process to illustrate children’s books?
I start with the main character, I imagine the place where they live, how that influence them, what colors are in that world. The second step is choosing my color palette and some elements in the story, some details to play with meaning.
Who/what inspires you?
Conversations with my friends, my family; movies, books, I love stories in general. I also go for walks and like to try new landscapes that bring colors and moods to my work.
What are you reading?
Right now I’m reading two books: El infinito en un junco by Irene Vallejo and Around the World in 80 Plants written by Jonathan Drori and Illustrated by Lucille Clerc.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Anywhere where my loved ones are.
If you would have to pick a crazy project, what would it be?
I would love to tell a story with shadows and lights through virtual reality.
Be Creative by Daniela Gallego
Explore Daniela's limited edition prints here
Do you love to learn more about Toi's artists? Read this wonderful Interview with Isabella Conti
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