Gabriella Sanchez draws on her mastery of skills from a previous career in graphics and illustration to create multifaceted compositions and objects that express a more personal, social narrative. With exuberant, jostling color stories and expertly fragmented and recombinant text and imagery, Sanchez grapples with the competing forces of personal and shared identity, lived experience, cultural critique, information overload and the shelter of contemplation. Recently featured here at home with Charlie James Gallery and in L.A. Louver’s epic 45th anniversary show, Sanchez is now poised to take London by storm.

Gabriella Sanchez, Down is Up (Courtesy of Charlie James Gallery)

What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

I most often create forms of abstracted portraiture which are grounded in the experience of growing up in Los Angeles through multiple generations. My paintings often feature my family, myself, friends and community members and I often pair words or phrases together within the compositions that directly address the viewer. The portraiture is often also combined with images from psychological projection tests, like Rorschach’s inkblot test.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

That’s a good question. In this moment, I’d be interested in seeing what it’s like to be a small farmer with a couple horses. I’d also be interested in studying architecture or linguistics.

Did you go to art school? why/why not?

I didn’t go to an art school though I did end up studying art at my college and ultimately graduated as an art major. I think everyone has their own path. I think there’s something to be said about formally studying art even if it’s on your own through the internet or library or studying in a classroom setting — just so you can better know how to navigate within it and push past its boundaries.

I personally think it’s of equal or often of greater importance to study art and art making outside of the academic setting. That’s where you’ll find the soul of art most often and in many more varied ways than you will probably find in a classroom or university studio setting.

Gabriella Sanchez, Define Refine (Courtesy of Charlie James Gallery)

Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My family history is tied to this city for generations and most of my family still lives in the city or its surrounding areas. L.A. is home. I’ve lived abroad and might again for sometime but I’ll always come back to L.A.

When was your first show?

If you’re an artist you shouldn’t wait for someone to give you a show. Put on your own shows. Put on shows with friends and go to art shows your friends put on. Make the work you’re able to make in this moment and share it with whoever you want to share it with. All that to say, one of my first shows was in 2016 and was put on with a group of friends in my studio and was an important part of my development as an artist. There were also many other ‘first’ shows before that but that was the first show I had a hand in putting together for the public and was in a more typical white wall setting.

Gabriella Sanchez (Photo: Mackenzie Goodman | Courtesy of Charlie James Gallery)

When is/was your current/most recent/next show?

I have a solo show coming up in London next month at Taymour Grahne Projects. I’m really excited about it!

What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?

Oh wow, there’s a lot! That’s a good question! I’d love to have work shown alongside work by John Baldessari, Pattsi Valdez and Lorna Simpson.

Website and social media handles, please!


Gabriella Sanchez (Courtesy of Charlie James Gallery)

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