(this was my quarantine lockdown routine!)
8:30 am: I usually wake up around 8:30a depending on what I have to do that day.
9 am: The first things I do as soon as I wake up: brush my teeth, wash my face, and make coffee! I love coffee and either use my Chemex or stovetop espresso maker. I recently got a frother to make cappuccinos with steamed almond milk too. I don’t have a favorite coffee brand, but I like to try various local/small batch producers, and I go for lighter flavor notes like citrus, floral, or tropical fruit. Something I add to it is Amina Mundi’s adaptogenic “Immortal Immunity” mushroom powder.
9:30 am: I cook breakfast. Lately it’s been a corn tortilla taco of black beans and spinach with cotija cheese and two slices of turkey bacon on the side, as well as Yuri Elkaim’s green energy supplement drink.
10 am: I eat breakfast either at my desk or outside on the front porch while spending some time grounding myself via journaling, or combing emails and getting set for the day. I like to keep my space very clean and will wipe down or organize my desk, open the windows, and burn some palo santo. It’s very important to me to set the vibe and be deliberate about what I’m working on, so grounding down is essential!
10:30 am: Sitting at my desk on my laptop, I focus in on the three top tasks I want to complete by the end of the day. These vary from uploading sellable designs to my website, making progress on collaborations or commissions, and reaching out to clients.
11 am: I get more locked into a creative flow as the day advances. By this time, I’m painting sketches or working on designs.
11:30 am: Ideally I’m focused on completing one task. I really need variety and stimulation to be productive, so I’ll jump around a bit on different projects or even just paint for a while if it helps me to keep from getting bored.
Tell us about how you became the woman you are today. Where did you grow up? What moments in life have influenced your character most?
I grew up in Marin County in the Bay Area, California. I have a twin brother and an older sister, and we all share the same birthday, so my family is very close. We had a full-time nanny who is Guatemalan, and from an early age I took interest in the history between the US and Guatemala, as well as the vastly life-changing privileges distinctive of this history like U.S.A. citizenship. Throughout my life, my father had to travel for work - from Lagos to Ulaanbaatar to Paris, probably a city in almost every country around the world. Because of this, I was encouraged to seek new experiences that brought me to many different places.
As a teenager, I was obsessed with fashion and photography, but I didn’t understand how art could be a career, so I was invested in pursuing politics and social justice. In college, I studied anthropology and art (primarily photography). Anthropology and sociology were fascinating. I was able to learn human science in a meaningful and philosophical way, and objectively study cultures from around the world and the facets within them - including healing, medicine, belief systems, and even design. As part of my Liberal Arts undergrad program, I studied for a semester in the Border Studies Program in the borderlands of the United States as well as Mexico and Guatemala, and I also studied Contemporary Art History in Berlin, Germany.
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?
Traveling through my research in anthropology ultimately led me to textile design. I collected bits of fabric or bought textiles from Senegal, Northern India, and Mexico. I worked in fashion design for a business that championed sustainable and ethical practices, but my love for color was most fulfilled by endless prints of all different kinds of fabrics. Textiles are as ancient as human history itself, and this ancientness fostered my admiration for fabric and cloth. The idea that a textile tells a story is particularly fascinating. I eventually realized my creativity wasn’t satiated by only photography or only fashion design, but rather textiles and the creation of print and pattern. I also learned about how fashion design and textiles are worn archives that can convey messages of social justice. I recently worked for fashion designer Carla Fernández in Mexico City, whose work decolonizes modern hierarchies of power which undermine marginalized populations, as well as celebrate the cultural heritage of México.
Eventually I went to grad school to study textile design, so I graduated with a Masters in Fibers at the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2019. My work in grad school involved looking at my California roots and design culture for inspiration. I created several collections attributed to uniquely California modern design and color.
How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.
At the moment, I’m writing this during the global pandemic where the retail and fashion industries are changing rapidly, thus so has my job. I was working full-time as a textile designer / CAD artist within a large, American corporate retail company recently in Los Angeles, but have now transitioned more to growing my own business and brand via commissions and collaborations. I am now currently working full-time as an assistant designer for a wallpaper company, designing bright and trend-forward fun prints! Focusing on my creative expression helps me maintain my optimism about how the changing social climate will affect my industry.
What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now? What plans do you have for yourself 1,3,5 years from now?
My biggest focus in my career right now is working on expanding my personal brand and business. I am working on as many collaborations with designers or fellow friends and artists as is humanly possible. Feel free to reach out if you have a collab idea! In one year, I’d love to be profiting from my designs and making a living off that. In three years, I imagine having a small team or a few freelancers to help with my business. In five years, maybe I’ll be thinking about my next big business concept, ideally partnering with sustainable and ethical fashion or design companies around the world!
Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. It could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc.
Top three things that are inspiring me right now:
What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about this message?
A noticeable theme in my work is the use of bright colors which says, “Be bold!!!” Another theme is my focus on abstract shapes or abstract geometry, and an almost anti-representational approach. My drawings aren’t perfect. My craftsmanship is unique. I embrace my color-crazy, abstract prints which deliver a message of inspiration. I feel strongly that you don’t need traditionally acceptable notions of fine art to convey your authentic artistic message. I feel this way because the art world can be intimidating and critical at times, especially given the significance of accolades, but that shouldn't undermine the importance of sharing one's creative talent. The genre of “Outsider Art” comes to mind.
Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…
What’s the best advice you've ever been given?
“You need to do this,” from a good friend regarding pursuing a path as a creative human and artist.
Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.
Three artists I’d like to see featured are three talented friends of mine. Ari Hoch (@fikkachica) is a painter currently based in Boulder, CO. I love her distinct style, differentiated use of mediums, beautiful use of color. Ana Samayoa (@anagsam) is an artist and designer in Guatemala whose wonderfully clean aesthetic and deliberate use of color is uplifting. Finally, Melodie Allegre (@monkeymistakes) is an artist from Florida, currently based in NYC, who makes fun, tropical prints with totally soothing color palettes.
To learn more about Bridget Thompson, please visit www.bridgetbstudio.com