Fruit as an object has enjoyed a special relationship with the arts throughout the ages, from Paul Cézanne’s still-life pieces to Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Bananas, Frida Kahlo’s Viva la Vida, Watermelons. Fruit has always found a way to be immortalised as a symbol of themes from life to politics and more.
Bringing a new twist to the object of fruit is London based visual artist Gabriella Anouk with her meticulously detailed drawings.
Anouk soared to prominence on the social media platform TikTok after sharing her artistic process, seducing TikTokers with her slime-drenched peach drawing; within a few weeks, she had accumulated over 100,000 followers on the platform.
I experimented with different textures and subjects, starting with dipping objects in paint and drawing them. Which naturally turned into experimenting with slime.
Anouk is working with hyperrealism utilising colouring pencils to depict the beauty in the mundane while distorting its reality in unorthodox ways. In her current body of work, the “Slime Series”, Gabriella employs slime’s strange yet titillating texture as her inspiration, exploring the interplay between attraction and repulsion.
Anouk’s sumptuous slime dripped fruit is a visual feast, a lush depiction of textures and detail. Her eccentric style almost erases the line between fact and fiction (in this case: an imaginary encounter with an artistically added piece of fruit) it’s notably engaging and provocative!
Her eye-catching TikTok posts now attract over 15M views, and her work is in increasing demand in the art world, with a limited edition print and NFT of “Peachy” selling for over £7,000 at a recent auction in London.
I managed to catch up with Gabriella shortly after her exhibition to learn more about her practice and what’s next for her as an artist.
Q: Hi Gabriella, can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know you?
A: Hi, I’m Gabriella Anouk. I’m a hyperrealist artist, and I’ve just finished my Slime Series, in which I explored dripping slime over fruits and vegetables. I’ve been sharing my work across social media this past year and finally got to exhibit my work in the flesh. At my solo exhibition on the 25th of January.
Q: How long have you been creating art, how did you get started, and why do you create art?
A: I’ve always practiced drawing since I was very young. However, I started to take it more seriously after I finished University. I like to find beauty in the mundane and then distort it in an unnatural way. Because I practise hyperrealism, it is important to me that the subject I’m drawing is less controlled and something I’m excited about.
Q: Can you tell us how you develop your style?
A: I developed my style by experimenting with different objects and textures. I started off using paint, dripping and submerging objects in it. However, I found the paint quite limiting because once you dip something in it, you can’t reverse it.
Slime was appealing to me because of how versatile it is. You can drip it onto an object, peel it off, and repeat as many times as you like. I like working three dimensional to start with, really getting to know my subject from all angles, photographing and filming the process as I go.
The motivation behind the Slime Series came from a bit of a desperate place. It was around this time last year when I started to reflect on my art practice and found myself feeling very unfulfilled. I needed a challenge and something completely different from all the commission-based work that I was doing.
Q: Your work explores reflective surfaces and the interplay between attraction and repulsion depicted in hyperrealistic slime-drenched drawings. Can you tell us the inspiration behind this?
A: In April of 2021, I experimented with different textures and subjects, starting with dipping objects in paint and drawing them. Which naturally turned into experimenting with slime.
Slime, for me, has been such a unique material to work with. It is so pliable and versatile. One of the reasons I like slime is because of the way it can entirely change, manipulate and turn an average, everyday object into something unique and sculpture-like.
It’s different every time you use it, and that uncertainty is so appealing to me. Another reason I use slime is that it is so unnatural. The juxtaposition of a beautiful, natural piece of fruit against synthetic, almost vulgar, shiny slime is attractive and interesting. I’ve always loved Dali’s absurd and surreal style; creating bizarre images of the mundane and every day naturally gives these paradoxes. I also love to explore the role of light and reflection on the subject. Capturing that subtle interaction of light on the surface is vital in creating a hyperrealistic piece.
Q: Your upcoming release, The Slime Series, seven hand-drawn works on paper as well as NFTs. How many editions of each medium will be available for buyers?
A: We are releasing a limited number of Giclee hand framed editions. There will be 20 of each to purchase. We have also released 6 NFTs. I find the whole prospect of creating and owning NFTs hugely exciting. I am attaching physical artwork to each NFT so that the piece can still be seen in the flesh. I’m also working on a big NFT collection drop in 2022.
Q: The studio is the sacred temple of creativity. What are three things you can’t live without in your studio?
A: Three things I can’t live without in my studio are (other than the obvious being my materials) are 1. Until only six months ago, my desk chair was using an old, wooden chair that completely wrecked my posture. Now I have one of those fancy soft chairs, and it makes a world of difference as I can spend up to 12 hours a day sitting and drawing! 2. My Alexa for podcasts and music again helps keep me motivated and able to concentratefor long periods. 3. My coffee machine, I am a coffee addict!
Q: Your work has gained much attention on social media, leading you to amass a large following of 400,000 followers on Tik Tok. Do you have any advice for upcoming artists looking to raise awareness about their work on social media?
A: I have so much love for my TikTok followers; they are like my own personal cheerleading team. My advice for anyone posting on social media is to be genuine, don’t over-think it. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. Only post if it’s making you happy, don’t do it for the wrong reasons, i.e. to gain followers because it won’t make you happy.
Q: What next for you as an artist?
A: What’s next? Good question!! I’m in the conceptual stages of my next series. I’m itching to get back to my drawing board. But right now, we are looking to showcase the slime series in various places and parts of the world. It’s all exciting!
The Slime Series by Gabriella Anouk will be available for purchase as physical Giclee Fine Art prints at www.gabriellaanouk.com. The full Slime Series, including her most recent work, Pomegranate Amour, will be available from February 14th 2022. #SlimeSeries