artist colony, art, artists, interview

Artist Colony // Naíma Almeida

Beautiful, heart"felt" creations. (okay that was terrible, I am so sorry) 

Naíma Almeida is a graphic designer from Brazil, who creates colourful felt artworks by hand. The boldness of her creations catches the eye and also brings back some childhood nostalgia, (does anyone else remember those stick-a-felt boards??).  

She was kind enough to answer some questions I sent through. You can find Naíma's website here, her english version here, and instagram here. Thank you Naíma! 

Hi! Introduce yourself. How are you? Hi! My name is Naíma, I’m a graphic designer from Brazil. I have a authorial project called Lhama where I create big compositions made of felt layers.

What inspired you to start ‘Lhama’? I started Lhama searching for a break of my routine in graphic design jobs. In that time I was a little bit stressed and disappointed with the lack of creative process inside design agencies here. So I started seeking for the opposite, to balance my mind. Something that could be made with my hands, in a long produce time, with no client, no target, no deadline and most importantly, with no expectation. Just for fun. One day I saw a very simple felt placemat on a blog and I realised that this material could be very similar to vectorial illustrations. It is a plain colour block, that I could cut in any shape. Then I did some tests and I've been using it ever since!

Has felt always been your chosen medium? What else do you like to use?  Felt is my medium (until this moment) only for this project Lhama. It's like Lhama was my lab to try this material.  For other works I feel free to change mediums. Recently, I have been getting involved with tapestry.

What is your favourite artwork that you have created? I have a special love for Urso (that was my first big challenge) But now I would say that Tropicaliente is my new favourite, in terms of difficulty level and a longer process. 

What is your creative process? Usually I give myself a technical challenge, like “today I’m going to make a piece that only has 10 layers to stick down”, or “today I’ll try to make a composition with the smaller pieces that I have”. Normally the technical goal comes before, then the subject. And then, I make a lot of drafts on the computer, experimenting the compositions until I feel that I can reach that initial goal. It is at this part of the process that the theme comes. It can take more than 20 other potential artworks before I choose one to take forward. When I think that I already have a path to go through, I start to think about the layers. That’s a difficult part, because as a graphic designer, I have more familiarity with 2D solutions. It’s a little bit complex to imagine the 3D behaviour of the artwork. I then start cutting and overlapping the pieces that I had planned. During this process, I always change a lot the initial idea. The final result is something that is built in every part of process. Until the end I can feel the necessity of include something else, or change a colour, a shape.

Favourite and least favourite things about your job are… I love the big colour range. I don't like all the blisters on my fingers.

What did you want to be when you where a kid?  I don’t remember as a kid, but when I was teenager I wanted to be a cultural producer, imagining that I would make a lot of concerts happen, and festivals.

What do you like to do when you are not working on your artworks? I wouldn't know how to answer that, because when I read the question, I instantly think of other kinds of projects that I want to do. The work and my personal life are kind of mixed. I could answer this saying that I like to study tapestry, but I’m not really sure if that would count as work. I think that when you love visual communication, arts or any creative field, you are always ready to capture something interesting. It makes the boundaries of work and fun very blurry. 

5 facts about you are…

I don’t like to talk on the phone

I like drinks made of tomatoes

I’m always shy to talk in public 

I’m terrible driver

I love coriander

What is your favourite colour to use? It changes every second, but now I’m in love with a very, very light blue.

Who and what inspires you? Nowadays, I think fashion is something that is inspiring me in someway. I follow a lot of good stylists and small brands on Instagram and I see a big flow of art in this area. Instagram has been a great tool to keep in touch with amazing people, I follow a lot of talented young artists that i’m loving.

But, to say a more direct influence, in my last series “Tropicaliente" I would say my influence would be Kennedy Bahia, an artist that was born in Chile but lived here in Brazil and had a great production in the 60’s. I am also frequently influenced by designer Paul Rand. He made a big range of works crossing limits between institutional design, art and illustration.