Artist Elisa Gomez and dog in studio.

Elisa Gomez tells us about her natural inspirations, the importance of breaking rules, and her time living in an Astro-Van.

Where are you from and where do you reside?

I'm from Salt Lake City, and currently reside in Austin, Texas.

What necessities do you require when making your art?

I need ample space to make a mess - no clean surface is safe! My tools range from bristly brushes, soft edge brushes, and often my hands. So there is no "required tool" besides myself and the paint.

Describe a typical day in the studio for you.

I work in series, and usually start on a bigger piece and allow that to dry while I work on a few smaller pieces. I like to work simultaneously on many sizes so I can communicate between the varied sizes and have it all tie together. It's a very circular process, going from one piece to the next.

An abstract floral painting with drips by artist Elisa Gomez in her studio.

You work with mixed media on canvas a lot. How does your choice of material and color inform the final piece?

The way layers build and translate is very important to me. Rarely is anything completely mapped out before I start, or even while I’m in the process. I like to think of each piece as an expression of myself, with room to grow and change. I know when the piece is finished when I see it and have nothing I want to take away or add. It has met the place of peace and completion- I always know where that is.

What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?

Words, titles, and boundaries! Creating comes naturally, but putting the right name to it is always a struggle.

You received your BFA from the University of Utah in 2010. In what ways does your knowledge of art history and Abstract Expressionism influence your art?

Even as an abstract painter, there is so much to learn and take away from traditional painting and drawing education. My understanding of color theory and compositions was completely influenced by my education, which I'm so grateful for. You learn the rules, and then you learn how to break them.

I like to think of each piece as an expression of myself, with room to grow and change. I know when the piece is finished when I see it and have nothing I want to take away or add.

Elisa Gomez

How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?

My work has steadily gotten less aggressive in colors and gestures, however not any less fluid. I like to bounce between work that focuses on the movement and layers of colors and work more focused on clean lines and geometric shapes. This keeps me from getting overworked on any certain series and allows my mind to stay fresh. I see my work as continuing to evolve in the study of gestural paintings and abstract florals and geometrics.

Have you always been inspired by florals and the environment? In what ways has travel influenced your perception of different natural terrains?

I have always been influenced by nature, even before I know what that meant. The colors that are found out in the wild are so exquisite and go directly into my ideas when I paint. I have seen so many different types of terrain, and have found amazing shades of colors and shapes of florals in all of them. Even places like the desert, where you wouldn’t assume to find a variety of inspiration, yield stunning shadows, linear colors in the rocks, and interesting compositions. There is inspiration in all living places.

Where do you feel you create your strongest work?

When I was living in my Astro-Van I did a series called Terrain where I painted all over the country. My favorite piece from the collection was painted on top of San Sophia, a mountain overlook in Telluride, CO. I laid my very large canvas down on the side of the mountain and created using only my bare hands, water, paint, and even some dirt. I always prefer to wok outside or very close to it.

Artist Elisa Gomez standing and painting a large, gestural work in her studio.

Was working in a small space challenging or helpful in encouraging you to get out into nature more?

Living in a van forced me to get outside and work in nature. A typical outing started with choosing a few colors (maybe six), filling a jar with water, choosing a few brushes, grabbing an extra lid to use for a palette, rolling up some canvas, and throwing everything into my backpack. Then I would generally walk or hike until I found a place that was beautiful and secluded, and I would lay everything out and just start throwing paint around.

Do you admire or draw inspiration from any of your peers who are also working now?

I admire so many different artists, many who are Uprise Artists. One person outside of Uprise that I have been following for ages in Meredith Pardue - she creates amazingly colorful abstracts that never disappoint me.

What's next for you?

I'm working on new pieces and a new series this year. I'll be going back to some old roots of pure abstraction.

Post updated January 10, 2024.