100 Creatives 2012 Julia Gabriel, Artist, Designer & Backpack Maker
Julia Gabriel is a self-taught artist and designer. She started out as a fashion major at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she learned the basics of sewing. Soon after she transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University, where she majored in craft material studies. There she took classes in woodworking, glassblowing, ceramics and jewelry, but eventually focused her interests solely on fabrics.
Photo by Alex Larsen
After graduating, she worked as a gallery assistant at Quirk Gallery in Virginia and as a production intern at Glide Skateboards before finally moving to Houston. Now she runs her own design business.
What she does?
A few years ago, Gabriel started making backpacks modeled after old, abandoned buildings.
"I love the idea of this like abandoned building that's been forgotten, is now kind of hugging your back like a baby koala, you know, like a baby animal just riding along with you wherever you go and now it gets to explore the world."
"I just found that people love their homes and they love having something that is unique to them and shows their home, so I've been playing around with different ways of doing that." That's when she decided to turn her brand into a business and began her company Web site, Me & Lu.
On the side, she's temporarily teaching art to three-to-five-year-olds at Esperanza School. She's also been working as a social media intern for Houston eco-fashion designer David Peck, who she says has helped her see that fashion does not really have to be what she experienced in New York, and also just showed her how she can do what she just wants to do.
"He is so great and has such a big heart and is so talented. I love interning for them."
What inspires her?
In art school she noticed that a lot of her art was inspired by architecture. "I have always been aware of space," and part of that credit she gives to her dad, who was an architect. "When I was really young, I knew that my dad had designed our house and he put the windows where they are and he decided every single little detail, so I noticed every little detail."
Photo by Julia Gabriel
If not this, then what?
When she was in college, she was in a folk band that toured from New York along the East Coast through the South. She says that she loved that and she would love to still be playing in a band, and says if she wasn't doing this, she would probably get a little more serious about that.
If not here, then where?
Gabriel knows she doesn't want to live in Houston the rest of her life. She thinks about the architecture in different cities...cities that have really cool, interesting architecture or really historic architecture. She would love to live in one of those cities.
"I went to Spain one summer and loved, LOVED the architecture there and the people there. I would love to live in Spain."
Photo by Julia Gabriel
"I'm really riding by the seat of my pants," she says. Gabriel could see herself continuing teaching or staying on with David Peck...but right now she's enjoying watching her business grow. She has begun to extend her business further by making other personal items for people. She recently took on a commission to make someone's home into a pillow.
"What I'm doing now seems to be working and if I can make my own business work...then awesome."
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder
Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director
Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist
Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor
Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer
Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor
Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer
Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts
Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright