Designer Q&A: Bianca Bello of WildHumm
Abstract artist Bianca Bello creates pieces that are the missing link on your gallery wall. With watercolors, mixed media, and beyond, Bello’s art is light, airy, and meant to lift your spirits. Here, we talk with Bello about her inspiration and artistic process.
You have degrees in environmental science and chemistry. How did you get started with WildHumm?
I’ve been painting my whole life because my parents are both artists, so art has always been a giant part of my life. And it wasn’t until I got to grad school that I realized that chemistry was fascinating, but being a chemist wasn’t for me. So I started my shop after my first semester and I basically committed every spare moment to building it. I skipped every social event, every seminar, everything but my classes and being with my advisor to get my artwork off the ground. And by the time I had graduated in September (2015) I had carved out this little career path for myself and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Right now I’m working on this series called “Caged Birds.” It’s fluid water color with geometric shapes layered on top. I’m exploring this idea of censorship and self expression. So these different layers of ourselves that we hide or reveal in our relationships, it’s this kind of tug of war between who you are and how people perceive you. I find that really fascinating. I’m trying to convey that with these fluid, wild watercolors with these really structured geometric shapes.
Can you describe the process of creating that layered look?
It takes a long time for me to finish a painting because I basically do layers and layers and layers of watercolor. I put down a layer, let it dry, and come back to it the next day to put down another layer. It could take me a month to do all of this layering, and then go over it and do this intricate geometric pattern on top of it. So, it takes a long time but I find it really fun.
Do you have to change anything in that process when you’re creating a commissioned piece?
For commissions I work with someone to create something specifically for their home or their office. So if they have particular colors or textures in their space, I would have to pull from that and see how can I work my style and my painting into their particular space. That’s really challenging but I find it a lot of fun to work with other people’s ideas. They often choose colors that I wouldn’t really think of combining, so that’s always really interesting.
Do you have any advice for incorporating your designs into a room or with home decor?
I work in a variety of sizes, so if you wanted something small that would be a pop of color on a gallery wall, you have that option. I also work really big, so if you wanted something that really commanded attention and tied a whole room together, there’s that too. It’s always my favorite is to work really big. But it just really depends on what you’re looking for in the space you have.
Tell us about your blog.
I’ve used that platform to give advice to other artists. It’s kind of a terrifying move to decide ‘I’m going to be be an artist.’ Through my blog, I’ve talked about working on commissions, how to establish yourself, and the practical issues that come up when you run a business for yourself. I’ve used that to foster this community on Instagram where all of these artists get together and talk about, ‘Oh, I have this problem…’ and they ask each other questions. That’s been a really big part of how I work.
I never want art to be stuffy or unattainable because often I think regular people who aren’t artists see art as far away or ‘I have to be super rich or super fancy to think about art.’ But that’s not really the case. From the get go I’ve had this mindset to bring people in and make it more approachable, to say anyone can experience art, everyone deserves to have art, and you can be an artist if you want to. That’s my whole mindset behind my shop and my blog.
This interview has been edited and condensed.