Designer and illustrator Carmel Gatchalian is a woman after our own heart; a creator who believes some of the most profound and beautiful stems from the unexpected. Gatchalian is a true anomaly, breeding her intricate illustrations, multi-faceted designs and elaborate motion graphics. We were able to steal a few minutes with the Louisiana born, NYC based artist to talk 21st century art.

KIMSET: In today’s world, there are so many advanced apps, programs and software that allow artists to create in many versatile ways. How do you feel about being an artist in a tech-savvy driven space?

CARMEL GATCHALIAN: There are so many new apps, tools, and tech coming out recently that it’s just simply impossible to keep up nowadays. I find it incredibly exciting to see and be inspired by. As a designer, I do my best to stay in the loop with tech that interests me or makes my life easier.    Processing is something I’ve recently been drawn to and enjoy learning about. I care a lot more about the execution of my ideas rather than the use of the newest gadget on the market, so I wouldn’t say it affects me drastically unless it’s required. It’s easy to get lost and confused with the rapidly changing market of design, and it’s important to branch out and adapt while sticking with what interests you.


K: You’re from Louisiana and currently attend art school in New York. How do you compare the art in Louisiana to NYC? 

CG: I was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. After graduating high school, I went to Louisiana State University for a semester and then transferred to The School of Visual Arts in New York. The design “scene” in both of these places differs tremendously. While Louisiana has a thriving art and film industry, the graphic design scene is a lot smaller, less competitive, and more cohesive than in New York.

K: How did you first get into illustration and design?

CG: I was a big nerd when I was younger and spent a lot of time on the computer making hideous graphics for other people online. I even set up “design shops” on various websites and forums where people could submit requests, such as photo editing or coding myspace layouts, and I would do them…for free of course!

K: Did you dabble with one art form before the other? 

CG: Yes! I didn’t get into illustration until the beginning of high school. I remember my first sketchbook was a stack of lined paper stapled together, and in it I drew a bunch of fucked up-looking self-portraits. This hobby became something I became truly passionate about, so I devoted a whole summer to drawing all day and all night just because I was addicted to improvement.

K: Do you prefer one to the other? 

CG: Illustration is quite dear to me. In fact, I prefer it more than design. I feel like if I ever did illustration for a living, I would get tired of it real quickly since the drawings I did in high school were mainly for myself. It’s more of a therapeutic activity I like to do now and then when I have the time.


K: Where do you get your inspiration from? 

CG: I pull inspiration from pretty much everywhere, from people around me to fine art, movies, books, music, architecture and my past experiences. I find a lot of my ideas come from things outside the design world. When doing projects, I like to find angles that have elements of humor and wit, and play off those concepts throughout.


K: Your moving illustrations, like the “Partay” motion graphic on your Instagram, are amazing. Motion graphics like yours seem to be a creative rarity, at least for me. When did you begin creating them?

CG: My parents were kind enough to enroll me in an animation workshop when I was 15 and I learned the fundamentals of traditional animation there. We did exercises like making a ball bounce, making a pendulum swing, and squash and stretch. It was a lot of fun, and at the end of the course all of the students got to make their own short films. I’ve since loved the whole process of writing down a story, making storyboards and watching them come to life.

K: What has been your proudest artistic accomplishment thus far?

CG: My favorite thing to do is make people laugh. When I accomplish this in my work, I consider it a big accomplishment!


K: What’s next on your horizon?

CG: I’m working on a few more motion graphic pieces, and one of them involves baking cakes.

*Maybe we’ll get a vanilla one in the mail?

K: How does Kismet play into your life? 

CG: I like to believe that everything happens for a reason when things don’t go as planned. With that thought in mind, I am more accepting of when things don’t go my way, making mistakes and failing, as there are some things in life that we just can’t control.

*She got into illustration and design by spending plenty of time on the computer ‘making hideous graphics for other people online’ when she was younger. She set up “design shops” on various websites and forums so people could submit requests like photo editing or coding myspace layouts. And she would do them for free, of course.