ArtGecko have returned as a Sponsor-Partner for The Big Draw Festival for this year, and it is an absolute pleasure to have them!
We caught up with Natasha, Content Creator for ArtGecko, who shared the teams international adventures, some artistic exploration and all the news from ArtGecko HQ.
Interview: Eleanor Pender with Natasha Koziarska
It’s wonderful to have ArtGecko return as a Sponsor-Partner for The 2022 Big Draw Festival. How has this year been for you and the team?
Hi there it’s Natasha here! I am the Content Creator for Artgecko, you may have seen me pop up every now and again on our social channels.
Why thank you, it’s wonderful to be back! We love supporting The Big Draw Festival and everything that you do. This year for Artgecko has been an incredible for us so far (gosh I can’t quite believe how quick it has gone!). It has been full of lots of creativity and spreading the love for art within our community. We have been expanding our product range too; creating even more options for artists to try, all whilst being environmentally conscious at the same time.
What inspired you to return to The Big Draw Festival for this year, with the theme Come Back to Colour?
Why wouldn’t we want to return! As an organisation that has a very similar creative ethos to us, we are delighted to be back and involved. This year’s theme spoke particularly to us. One of our mantras is that we create ‘chirpy sketchbooks for colourful people’ and we highly encourage everyone to take a dive into their creativity, however that may be! Our covers may be known for being matt black with a smooth soft touch texture but we like to think of that as another canvas for your colourful creativity to explode onto.
There have been new and exciting opportunities for ArtGecko this year! Are there any developments or news you can share with us?
Yes! We now have an online shop which we are giving a special discount exclusively for The Big Draw subscribers! Just head to our Shopify Store now and type BIGDRAW15 in at the check out to receive 15% off your order.
This year we have expanded our horizons into Australia and New Zealand which has meant we have been able to open up our creative community further overseas. It’s a wonderful thing to witness. On top of that, this year we exhibited in the US for the first time which was incredibly exciting. This means that maybe soon we can share our community over there too and spread the Gecko love!
Alongside all of that, we have started up a project called The Great GeXchange. This is a collaborative project with our followers. Back at the beginning of the year, we sent out two of our A4 Splashy Gecko sketchbooks to two artists who drew in the books as a response to our prompt. Once they finished drawing in the sketchbook, they passed the books onwards via mail or by hand to an artist of their choice to repeat the process. You can see the book’s journeys on our socials, they have travelled all over the UK! We are now nearing the end of The Great GeXchange and are incredibly excited to see the books return. They will be pure works of art! These sketchbooks will be turned into virtual flipbooks which can be accessed and looked through on our website. It’s really been a very special project indeed.
You created a wonderful artistic community surrounding ArtGecko in 2021. How has this grown and expanded? Please share some highlights with us!
Thank you! Last year’s ArtClub was so exciting for us but we felt a change was afoot. We still wanted to engage with the ArtClub community but in a way that is more suited to a post Covid world… so we created a Podcast! Our Podcast is called Geck T’Know and features myself and Gemma from the team. On the podcast we share conversations about art, life and maybe a bit of food with some of our favourite artists and organisations, spreading the love and sharing even more with our community. We have a very special podcast episode coming up soon, which your readers may find particularly interesting! You can find our Podcast on YouTube, Spotify and wherever else you may find your podcasts, we highly recommend you have a listen because it’s great (not that we are biased or anything)…
Alongside Geck T’Know, we created Artist Spotlight. This is a whole month dedicated to a creative or artistic organisation, which we share on our socials. As we want to give back to our community, why not dedicate time to scream and shout about how good everyone is! So far, we have had some fantastic months. We started in February with the talented Natasha Zelen or @ArtByNz as she is known. We even went and visited her in Scotland for her exhibition opening! We have also covered the fascinating non-for-profit organisation Trapped In Zone One and a collaborating artist of theirs, Kat Thomas. Kat did an amazing one off ArtClub workshop all about abstract observational drawing, it’s worth a watch. In September we covered street artist and legend Korp (@Korporate) which included a brilliantly spooky exclusive ArtClub in time for Halloween. You can watch it now on our YouTube Channel. We have many more to come too!
Do you draw at all? What role - if any - does drawing play in your life and work?
At Artgecko HQ I often can be found in front and behind the camera doing sketchbook page swatches and practicing faux calligraphy. It’s a great way of making sure our products are still up their high standard that we preach about. On top of that, it’s a very fun aspect of my job!
Personally, I try to take time to draw as a way to switch off and have time away from the screen. Our world is full of buzzes, dings, rings and bright annoying lights so I like to make sure I have time away to recharge and focus on my wellbeing. Recently I have been getting into observational drawing with biros. Speedy sketches that are full of energy can be put into my daily routine without too much interference with normal life. I am also a Photographer, so any way I can incorporate drawing into my photography I love to!
What have you been up to this month for #ComeBacktoColour? Do you have anything exciting still to come?
In October, we wanted to use the opportunity to talk about yourselves as an organisation and celebrate your theme to our community, highlighting the importance of creativity, colour and the wellbeing that it all brings! Overthe month, our socials talked about The Big Draw and your patron, Gary Andrews. It has been such a super exciting month. There may have also been a great podcast episode that appeared too…!
Thank you so much, Natasha! It was wonderful to be featured on your podcast too.
Registrations are open for The Big Draw Festival 2022: Come Back to Colour! Find out more about the benefits of becoming an organiser here and other ways to support The Big Draw's mission here.