Introducing: Gabriella Buckingham
last updated 25 July 2018
Vibrant, playful and expressive, Gabriella Buckingham’s sumptuous paintings positively glow with warmth and life, and almost seem a direct reflection of the artist herself.
One of Bright’s most exciting and recent signings, she brings a huge wealth of creative experience - from both independent-artist and industry-insider perspectives - as well as an infectious enthusiasm and colourful exuberance to the portfolio.
We caught up with Gabriella from her Norfolk home to learn more about her inspirations, varied career - and complete love for her craft!
How did your home life growing up impact the way you saw the world and, in turn, the way you create your art?
Although neither of my parents earned a living through art, they were both glamorous and creative, with a passion for beautiful things: the abundance of paintings, fashion, flowers and colour in my childhood combined to have a huge impact upon me, and I developed a great love of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting.
As a child, I remember my father would grow fruit, flowers and vegetables, and - now living in Spain - he makes characterful ceramics in his spare time. My mother was very skilled at cooking and was a wizard with a sewing machine, creating beautiful clothes for us. Occasionally, as a treat, I would be taken to see the ballet in Covent Garden, which I loved the romance and beauty of.
Both my parents instilled in me a love of ‘manifesting’ things, and promoted individuality - a sense of not simply following the herd.
How have you seen the art licensing industry change since you first began working?
There have been huge changes in the art licensing world during the time that I have been working as an illustrator. When I was starting out, very little was ‘computerised’ and there was no social media via which to be spotted, either!
I think there is inevitably more competition now as the internet has opened up a whole world of online courses and resources advising how to forge a career as an artist and designer - all of which is very helpful to and supportive of new artists, but possibly means that artists’ earnings are, in real terms, lower.
I think, then, it is wise to diversify as much as you can in the current climate - exploring not only licensing options but also experimenting with other areas of art too. It seems that there are fewer up-front fees for licensing artists these days, but I think very much depends upon the particular client and industry you are working with, and their specific requirements with regard to rights.
There are definitely more opportunities now, though, and that’s where an agent can be really helpful - particularly if, like me, you’ve had a break from licensing for a few years explore other artistic avenues and raise a family!
What types of projects especially bring you joy?
Projects that give me most joy are hugely varied; if I know I’ve done my best work and become really absorbed in the art - and the client is happy - then there’s nothing better. I love to paint, but also to draw; I am a little odd, in that I actually have a few styles of working, but I hope that will equate to offering longevity rather than confusion!
Constantly developing is very important to me. I love to make patterns as well as one-off, more illustrative paintings; it would be wonderful to decorate a range of ceramics and design homewares - and I dream of having a large range of best-selling cards in Liberty of London! There are many areas of illustration that appeal to me, imaginative work as well as the more ‘functional’ and branding-focused, so I am looking forward to the next stage of my working life.
One of the best days I spent illustrating was actually for a ‘How to paint’ book for Dorling Kindersley, many years ago: I had to paint a watercolour of oranges on lace, in stages, while being photographed doing so. That feeling of flow when the work seems to magically appear in front of you - you really can’t beat it!