Artist Spotlight: Isabella Conticello
This is a REPOST of a blog I wrote in 2019 for my Master’s degree in Graphic Design. Because this is an academic article, it’s structured differently to my normal posts and includes formal REFERENCES – please don’t be alarmed!
Isabella Conticello is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work I have encountered on Behance. I will specifically look at her series ●A GEO A DAY■ where she created a colossal body of different minimalistic geometric designs, which she published as a series in its entirety in 2015.
One of the things I find most remarkable about this project is Isabella’s dedication to such a massive solo project. On first glance the inclination is to assume she must have grown bored of the same type of design day after day, but the interesting thing is that the challenge would have only increased over time to design new and unique pieces and generate new ideas. Isabella did this by assigning colours to different areas of her life and representing those areas in her art (Osso Magazine, 2015).
The designs are reminiscent of modern minimalist art which rose to prominence in the 1960s, even down to her modest colour palettes. Minimalist art utilises geometric shapes and patterns in place of natural or organic forms (Smigel, 2012), and here many of these shapes combined with their colours clearly represent the world that Conticello lives in. By reducing the number of elements and simplifying each idea, she invites viewers to study the raw shapes, lines and curves in the world around us, unhindered by additional objects or other clutter that can distract.
There is also a definite element of mathematics in her work; Isabella herself admits in her 2015 Osso Magazine interview that the Bézier curve helps her to realise her artistic goals and it is clearly evident in some of her pieces.
Her minimalist approach, careful selection of geometric shapes and thoughtful composition makes it possible to extract entire landscapes from some of the designs. There is a beauty and vastness in their simple shapes and soft colours. I particularly like how she captures the essence of nature in the following examples, where I see the ocean and sweeping sand dunes, respectively.
While not all of the designs are easy to interpret, each one is telling a story about something—a place, or an object, or a concept. Isabella herself loves yellow, blue and red and believes they are the perfect triad (Osso Magazine, 2015), and these colours feature heavily in her designs, often as pastels but also sometimes as richer variations. She creates many pieces using a paler palette, which lends an ambience to the flow of the gallery. I found while scrolling through and examining her work that it was as relaxing as it was fascinating.
Isabella also occasionally plays with texture and three-dimensional elements in her designs, giving them a stronger sense of depth than a lot of the flat, two-dimensional pieces have:
Overall her aim was to create a cohesion that spans all of her work (Osso Magazine, 2015) and it is possible to see this achievement if you scan her Behance gallery, where many of the themes, styles and colours found in the ●A GEO A DAY■ set are present.
I admire Isabella’s dedication to this project, because as a fellow graphic designer I know that it is not always easy to simply sit down and create something that you like or that you are happy to show to people. Some days it is a struggle to start a piece of work and other days it is a struggle to complete a work-in-progress. Regardless, Isabella has managed to create a connection between these pieces that ultimately tell a story of her life over the course of many months, observing her surroundings and paying homage to her favourite things.
I would like to develop this type of dedication and discover a way to represent my own interests, favourite places and ideas. While I do not think I would use a style similar to Isabella’s, hers is a prime example of how simplicity can speak volumes and communicate a concept with just a few basic shapes. This ties in well with my findings from other areas of geometric design, right down to my research and work with logo design: more often than not, simplicity is key.
View Isabella’s full project on Behance here, 2015.
Interview with Isabella in Osso Magazine, 2015.
Article about Isabella’s work at Partfaliaz, 2015.
Smigel, Eric (2012): Lessons That Bear Repeating and Repeating That Bears Lessons: An Interdisciplinary Unit on Principles of Minimalism in Modern Music, Art, and Poetry. General Music Today (journal), issue 1, pages 5-10.