Do your art. And make it great. - an interview with Gabe Hilliard

Next month I am launching a new website for Lark & Bloom as well as introducing some new creative additions to what we already have going here. ( cue dance party and glitter cannons) Today's guest and Lark & Bloom reader, Gabe Hilliard, designed the new logo for my site. I found his artwork on Instagram and became an instant fan of the positive message and hand lettered graphics.  We are finishing up this summer series highlighting various Lark & Bloom readers who are creating, building and dreaming big things. I interviewed Gabe and I know you are gonna love it.

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Liz: What's up Gabe! I know you can't see me, but I'm giving you a virtual fist bump through the screen. Glad to have you here today. Go ahead and tell us a bit about yourself.

Gabe: What's up? (returns knuckle bump) Glad to be here. Well, my name is Gabe. I'm a junior studying Graphic Design at LSU. I live in Baton Rouge. I love life and people. I like to think I'm funny. I'm certainly sarcastic. I love art and music and design and all that crafty stuff. I love to make things. Websites, logos, stickers, videos, Sharpie tattoos, etc.

Liz: I recently hired you to do the graphic for my new website (coming soon...) because I love your work on Instagram. There are lots of people who do graphic design, but I am always drawn to your work.You share a message visually through your design. What is it that you aim to communicate when you are designing?

Gabe: Wow, thanks! I appreciate it! Hmm. That's a good question. I think that what I aim to communicate in my work is myself. It's self-expression in a way. I think of it as a way to express how I feel and what I believe in a creative, eye-catching way. I'm a positive person. You can usually find me smiling or laughing. But I know not everyone is the same, so I try to encourage others through my work. To enjoy life, to push themselves, and to imagine. So partly it's a way for me to personally express myself, but more than that its how I'm trying to make someone else's day just a little brighter.


Liz: On your website you said "...making things brings me life.". What does it feel like when you are creating?

Gabe: Well exactly that. It makes me feel alive. I believe that we were made by a God who loves to create things. Genesis says "God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was very good." And we were made in His image. Creating is in our DNA. I think it's part of what we're made for. Making things has always brought me peace and joy. It makes me feel right. Often times it is how I process through decisions or situations or things I'm learning. I take a pencil and some paper and don't get up till things feel right.

Liz: You are a cancer survivor. Has that experience had any affect on your art?

Gabe: It definitely has. Like I said, art has always brought me peace and when I was sick, it was a huge way for me to handle what I was going through. Especially when I lived in Memphis, TN receiving treatment at St. Jude, I was constantly drawing or painting. It helped me release the stress of all that was going on around me. And I think it translates to my work now. I see art as something that frees people and brings joy. I want to use that to help people in the same way it helped me during my sickness.

On another note, the whole experience of having cancer and realizing just how precious and fragile my life is has really changed me. When I am working on a new piece, it causes me to push myself as much as I can. I almost lost my life, which means I would've never had the chance to create the things I do now. So I have to make them as great as they can be. I literally have tons of pieces that have never been posted because I knew they could be better. So I'd scrap them and start over. I hope that it sets me apart as an artist. I never want to do things halfway or show something that's only ok. I want to push the envelope. I want to make something awesome. Every single time.


Liz: Any final thoughts or things that you want to say to readers?

Gabe: If I could leave the readers with anything, it would be to encourage them to create. I think Michael Tucker said it perfectly. You are an artist, whatever you do. You were created for it. So do your art. Make it great and awesome. Don't settle for mediocre, but make it your best, whatever that looks like. It's not about whether you think you're good, or if anyone else appreciates it, it's about doing what you were made for. So create.

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