Morning Routine: How do you start your day?
7 am: By this time, I'm probably still dreaming about being at the beach drinking a piña colada like nothing else matters.
7:30 am: My alarm rings and I'm back to reality! I usually meditate a little bit, give thanks for being able to live another day, and take a sip of water.
8 am: Time to take a shower. I've always loved to take hot showers since my skin is pretty sensitive to cold, but I've been taking cold showers every morning since about a month ago since we're reaching 104°F in my town and I've found that it's an amazing energy boost!
8:30 am: My morning skin-care is pretty simple, but it's honestly my favorite part of the day. I find it to be such a relaxing ritual to start my day and it feels amazing to show myself some love. I play an 80's playlist and apply a moisturizing cream from a brand called Teatrical and sunscreen for sensitive skin from Nivea. That's pretty much it.
9 am: After giving myself some love and feeling fresh, I like to water my plants. Most of my work features plants and flowers, but I've never taken care of any sort of plants until a few months ago that I started growing lavender. I don't know how to explain it, but taking care of these plants has helped me to learn more about myself and to let go of fear. It's been an amazing process to watch them grow. I also like to play them some music, especially the album "Mother Earth's Plantasia" by Mort Garson.
9:30 am: Not gonna lie, if I feel tired, I go back to bed. It's been really important to me to start my working day truly relaxed, so even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes, I lay in my bed, close my eyes, and try not to think about anything.
10 am: Breakfast always depends on my mood, but I always try to make something that I can eat in my bed. For the past days, I've been having homemade granola cereal and a cup of coffee. My favorite breakfast will always be a strawberry-mango smoothie, though.
10:30 am: After breakfast, I wash my dishes and feed my dog. This is right before starting my working day, so I always make sure to have everything in place. If I have time left, I like to spend time with my mom watching TV. I live with my mom and my brother, and since I spend most of my time in my bedroom/studio working, I take any chance I get to spend time with them before they start their day too.
11 am: Before I start working, I check my planner in which I write down my daily to-do lists, schedule my breaks, plan my work-out routines and so on. This helps me to stay motivated and organized.
11:30 am: And the fun begins! I don't have a strict working routine; sometimes I start by checking out my email or working on a commissioned collage I started the day before, checking my online store, or just working on a personal piece. Right now I have a LOT of commissioned work, which is nice and I'm grateful for it, but I do miss working on personal collages. I just finished working on an editorial collage for a magazine and I'm currently working on two albums cover art.
Tell us about the exact moment or period in time when you realized you were born to create.
I always wanted to be an artist, probably before I even knew what an artist was. It was my biggest dream as a kid. When I was 15 years old, I took an art class as a curricular activity in high school, and I fell in love with it. By that time I was already practicing in Photoshop and making crappy edits of my favorite bands (Hi, Jonas Brothers!), but it was in art class that I just KNEW that I was born to do this.
Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with this medium or did it choose you?
In some kind of way, it chose me. I've struggled with mental health issues since I was 14 years old, and it's been one hell of a rollercoaster. In 2017 I was going through a really hard time and had a major breakdown. I was depressed, extremely anxious and burnt-out from college. Even though I was studying Visual Arts, I wasn't enjoying anything. All I created was for the sole purpose of getting a grade. I don't remember how it happened, but I found collage and started experimenting with it. At first, it started as therapy, but then it just became my thing. It allowed me to truly express myself.
A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a Female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have formal education or are you self taught?
I was very blessed to be able to study a degree in Visual Arts. And while I did learn a lot, I don't think it's 100% necessary to be an artist. Of course, you can take courses and go to workshops to improve your craft, but it doesn't really define who you are as an artist.
Let's talk about vulnerability. What role has being vulnerable played in your work, success or failures?
My work is all about being vulnerable. My work is all about being vulnerable. I like to show myself how I truly am and being transparent about my feelings, my thoughts or whatever I'm going through. I don’t see vulnerability as a weakness but rather as a strength, and that’s what I want to show through my art: It’s okay to be vulnerable.
What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about this message?
Carrie Fisher’s quote “Take your broken heart, make it into art” made a huge impact on me and my work. I always think about it when I’m creating. Through my work, I make my voice heard. I can express myself about topics that maybe I wouldn’t be able to through other mediums, and I wish to make other’s voices heard too.
How do you stay motivated?
It’s so hard to stay motivated to me, I don’t know how I do it. But I think about my mom, my brother, and my close friends, who’ve always believed in me and have supported me and to think that I have such an amazing, beautiful and strong support system is what always gets me up on my feet. And I know that God is always by my side and He is in control, so I anchor myself to that promise.
How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.
I’m a full-time freelancer babe. At least for now, because I plan to start looking for an internship next month and focus on that. I like the freedom of choosing when and where I work, give myself breaks whenever I feel like it and choose my own projects. It hasn't been easy but it's been very rewarding.
Big or small, what’s the single best money making tip or piece of advice you can share with up and coming artists?
Enjoy what you do! Have fun, create with a purpose other than just making money and do your own thing. Know there’s gonna be good times, bad times and confusing af times, but you can make it!
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
When I was 15 years old, my psychiatrist told me to “just don’t give a f***”. It changed me, lol.
It’s karaoke night and your up. What song do you sing?
Any Lady Gaga and Britney Spears song is my jam. But I’d definitely choose “Bad Romance” (choreography included).
Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.
My two best friends are my favorite artists. Analaura Cardenas is an amazing multidisciplinary artist. She does photography, illustration, videography, paintings, and I love her passion for everything she does. She puts everything into her art. Her work is bold, passionate and so honest.
Natalia Zapata is a visual artist who makes children illustration, pottery, design, and photography. You can see her through her art: soft, warm and cute. There’s something about her that makes you feel welcomed. We worked together in college projects and I admire her so much.
Cassandra Jolie is one of my favorite artists and she inspires me so so much. She basically does everything, lol. From graphic design, animation, photography, art direction, set design, and more. Not only is she freaking talented, but she’s also pretty funny. I love all of her content and I think she’s a game-changer.
To learn more about Gi Batres, please visit linktr.ee/gisselbatres