We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabella Latell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isabella, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Finding a balance between work and life is a never-ending conversation when what you do for work is also your biggest passion in life. Like so many other creative people, I started out viewing creativity and art as an outlet, and something that made me feel special and unique. It was something I could pour myself into and with it, find reassurance and validation from others. The issue comes when your self identity and worth comes from that validation. I remember feeling that when I made a bad piece or fell short of my vision, it was a bad reflection on myself as a person. I think a lot of people feel that way, especially when your ideas, your skill, and your career are all tied into how you present yourself. I used to have a very unhealthy relationship with work, and I think in a lot of spaces the idea of burning yourself out for your art is romanticized. Honestly, once I took a step back, I saw how hard I was working, feeling terrible, not taking care of myself, and I still wasn’t even getting my desired results. Once I decided to stop making the art I thought I should be making, and created what felt natural and comfortable to myself, everything became so much easier. I think if your work and life feel so at odds that you’re giving up one for the other constantly, there is something not working. When I leaned into the art that I didn’t even realize had always been an underlying theme, I didn’t have to fight every step of the process. You can feel when your skill set and creative ideas are meshing, and it just works. You can stop feeling like you aren’t living up to this idea of what kind of artist you want to be, because it feels better to just be what makes sense for you. Now that I feel so much more comfortable and confident in my process, I can still work as hard as I can to make the best work possible, but I can actually get the results I want, and quicker. When you’re doing something that feels right, hustling and pushing yourself doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. If you are passionate about your work, it will always be there in the back of your mind. But now I see how the life I live has always influenced my work. There is not one without the other, and they are both as important to me as an artist and a person.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I feel as though my art is a huge visual combination of everything I love. I have always been a maximalist, and obsessed with a million different things. I definitely used to buy into a lot of the talk about homogenizing your work and your identity. I’ve heard many people say that it’s better focus your aesthetic, medium, or content, so that you are more recognizable as an individual. When I was trying to fit into that I just struggled because I felt I was leaving so much behind that I was still passionate about. I think the turning point in my art and expression was when I just decided to completely let go of any boundaries and just combine everything I love. I think the most interesting things I’ve made have taken inspiration from a multitude of clashing themes and visuals. I think some people really thrive in that streamlined space, but I find more satisfaction and fulfillment from not having a specific “identity”. I would rather be able to bring my vision and voice to anything and have it mixed with my style, rather than having every thing I do feel boxed in. As an illustrator, a painter, a designer, and a sculptor, I just try to bring the same sense of wonder and story that I always see when I look at the work I am so inspired by myself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Mazah Eatery in Grandview, Elizabeth Records in Clintonville, and The Bottle Shop in Victorian Village!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would be so much further behind as an artist and a person if it weren’t for the amazing friends and artists around me. I’ve learned more from my peers than anyone else in my education and career thus far. To hear about others’ processes and techniques is incomparable knowledge. I’m so grateful to have that support and motivation.
Personal Photo and photo of the troll sculpture credit to Ethan Benavidez