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August 17, 2019
One Saturday evening I found myself aimlessly scrolling through Etsy when Spotify put on Ari's 2019 hit single "7 Rings.' I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (yeah) – I hummed.
This prompted me to type Ariana Grande into Etsy search bar and my laptop screen got flooded by countless images of the pop queen. One of them stood out right away and lead me into the Gotchilnk art shop. The shop is the brainchild of Ariel Gotchi, a 24 year old artist hailing from sunny LA who makes digital art of iconic characters for stickers and prints. I reached out to Ariel and by Sunday evening we were nailing down the details of our Smartbite Snacks x GotchiInk collaboration.
We brought everything full circle by doing the interview and chatted about everything from her childhood to finding her calling, what her fave snack is, and what’s to come for her brand, GotchiInk.
Medium: Digital art on iPad or pen and marker
Breakfast order: Coffee... just coffee!
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Fave neighborhood: Art districts
Most inspirational city: Seville, Spain
Barack Obama because who knows what he’s up to these days. He’s likely the most mysterious celeb right now so I want to be in on his secrets.
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
I’m always liking art on Instagram. I follow mostly artist so my feed is filled with talented artists and inspirational works from around the world.
First, who is Ariel and what is her background?Ariel is a little artist from California, USA. I grew up loving art and being crafty in the suburbs. For high school I attended an art high school where I realized my true passion was visual arts. I studied psychology in college and even got a professional job in psychology when I graduated. Though things looked great on paper, I somehow wasn’t happy. I realized that I wanted to be an artist, though some see that as an impossible goal. I left my career job and started working for myself. It’s been a year since I left my job and in that time I grew as an artist and opened my Etsy shop. My art has been shipped all over the world to my customers who make my day everyday. I love what I do and hope to grow and continue to live my passion and make others happy with the works I share with them.
When did you first start drawing? Did you have anyone in your family that was into drawing? What originally drew you to it?I always loved drawing and art, though no one is my family was an artist. As a child, I really admired coloring books. As strange as this sounds, in the late 90’s many coloring books had 1940’s style illustrations. I wanted to collect them all, hunting down the cutest designs in the stores.
Have you ever experienced “creative block?” If so, what are some strategies you’ve used to overcome it?I try not to tell myself I have art block, but if I’m feeling stuck I go through Tumblr or Instagram feeds. Also switching mediums helps, so if I feel I can’t draw one day, I’ll make a collage with magazine photos.
Who are some of the artists who inspire you?Leigh Ellexson, 0073_uv, Chelsea Gracei and many many more.
What does a typical day looks like for you?A typical day for me involves waking up at 11, printing and packing orders, some social media marketing, taking product photos, gardening, then drawing all while watching art and business tutorials or spending time with family. I rotate through all my tasks until about 2 am, night owl.
We really enjoyed watching The Drawing Challenge: Cartoons from Memory you did with Audrey. What was filming that challenge like and do you plan on returning to YouTube again?That video was a lot of fun because my friend Audrey was apart of it. We laughed through the entire thing, which is what life is all about to me. I have plans to return to YouTube to share tips and tricks about opening a shop and being an artist. Once I’m satisfied with my shop, I’ll be back to a monitor near you.
What is your favorite snack to get over a 3:00 PM slum?I love flavored popcorn, always my go to.
You started your very first Instagram post by mentioning the 365 Day Art Challenge. Why did you decide to pursue it and how did it impact your life?I had put art on hold while going to college and working full time. Once I decided I wanted to focus on art again, I took on the challenge to motivate myself to not give up. I’m so glad I started that way because if I ever had a “bad” art day, I knew I would likely create something I liked more tomorrow. Flash forward to a year later I can look back at all my art and see the growth to remind myself that I’m going to improve and improve if I continue to practice everyday.
What do you have in store for 2019?For the rest of the year I plan to create more products, finishing up my online shop, and just continue to learn and grow.
Finally, because Smartbite Collective is all about inspiring creators that are not afraid to put themselves out there, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?My advice to artist and everyone is to treat what you love as a passion and a science. We all remember to create subjects that make us happy, but what we sometimes forget is to never stop learning. Watch tutorials, listen to other inspiring people, apply yourself and challenge yourself. Never doubt yourself, you are no different than the person you admire.
You can follow Ariel's inspiring and bright artsy life on Instagram and support her passion through her Etsy art shop GotchiInk.
WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions.
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July 26, 2020
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May 24, 2020
It’s no secret that we are professional snack makers and equally professional snack eaters and chocolate definitely tops our fave snack list. During our January business trip to San Francisco, we found ourselves looking for #beantobar and #craftchocolate on Instagram while waiting to check into our Soma hotel. We soon discovered the diversity of the chocolate-making scene in the west coast and noticed the concentration of chocolate-making companies in California.
Then we stumbled upon 9TH & LARKIN’s Instagram account and quickly fell in love with the brand’s sense of aesthetics. We immediately put this SF based bean-to-bar chocolate maker on our “to-try” list and had our first taste a couple of days later and oh boy, was it GOOD. We loved this chocolate so much that we partnered with 9TH & LARKIN on a giveaway and invited Lan to tell us more about .
Because we wanted to hear more about Lan’s chocolate story and the wonderful world of craft chocolate making, we asked her to answer all of our burning questions for May edition of Smartbite Collective. We think you’ll really enjoy e-meeting Lan.
We don't put junk in our snacks and we don't send it either.
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