This week we are highlighting Silhouette Artist Sophie Gallo! If you’re unfamiliar with her work, you will be blown away by her variety of fun designs. She specializes in creating easy crafts for digital cutting machines. You’re sure to fall in love with her bold and colorful aesthetic! Let’s get to know Sophie a bit better and take a peek inside her design process.
1. Where are you from? How long have you been a Silhouette user?
New Orleans and proud, who dat! I’ve been using Silhouette since 2010, after I got my first machine for Christmas. Crazy that it’s almost been a decade!
2. Which machine is your favorite?
My current machine is the Blush Pink Cameo, and it is my favorite so far, although I’m always excited about upgrading. I also use my Mint stamp machine constantly and am eagerly awaiting a larger version.
3. What type of crafting is your specialty?
Creating designs that are trendy, cut easily, and most of all fun!
4. How is your personality reflected in your work?
I have always been told throughout my career that my design sense is “too feminine.” While I don’t find a problem with that, I do try to make an effort to make my designs more geared towards any gender or point of view. I definitely try to insert some of my own opinions and whatever I find interesting, but most of all I try to create designs that I would like to use for myself or friends.
5. When did you join Silhouette artist team?
I joined the team immediately after I got my first machine in 2011. I couldn’t put it down and created an embarrassing amount of things in the first week of using it. I will never forget my house being absolutely covered in stacks of envelope sets and vinyl cutouts, and realizing that there might be something to this crazy machine.
6. What other creators have been inspirational to you in your work?
The artists most inspirational to me are pretty well known: Picasso, Kahlo, and Dali because of their aesthetic, color choices, and obvious talent. However, meeting many of the designers at the Silhouette Summit every year and becoming close with them has been beyond inspirational. I have made lasting connections and friendships with people that I would have never had the honor to come across in my lifetime, all thanks to our random Silhouette hobby-turned-career. I can’t thank Silhouette enough for that.
7. Tell us about your graphic designer career. How did you get your start?
I always knew that I wanted to be an artist from the moment I could draw as a child. When I got to high school, it was clear that I needed to focus my future on something artistic, but the scary question that loomed over me was “how?” I knew I could draw and paint but I didn’t have faith that I would be able to support myself that way. I graduated high school in 2000, right when computers were becoming an integral tool in the process of art creation. One of my parents’ friends told me about graphic design, and from there, everything just fell into place.
I threw everything I had into finding a great school that offered graphic design, but was well rounded in other aspects as well. We arrived in Sarasota, Florida, as a double rainbow stood over Ringling School of Art and Design, and that was it, I was in love. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Ringling and graduated with my BFA in Graphic and Interactive Communications in 2004.
I was immediately hired in Dallas at a studio called ReelFX, where I was literally thrown head first into the cut-throat corporate world of commercial art and graphic design. From there I worked my way up the corporate ladder and started creating motion design with After Effects. I worked in the commercial industry for over 10 years, and in that time I was able to move back to my hometown New Orleans, where I worked as an animator for 5 years, and a few of my commercials received Telly Awards.
After finally making the drastic life change to being a full-time Silhouette artist and to work from home in 2015, my LLC was born.
8. What was the first design you created? What do you like to design more?
Knowing me, probably something relating to my dogs. One of my first projects was making the dog’s silhouettes, which are still hanging in my bedroom today. I love animals obviously, so I create a lot with nature as inspiration.
9. What is your favorite thing about what you do?
All of it—from the spark of the idea, the process of creation, to the thrill of the tangible final product. People always tell me that I’m “so lucky that I get to do what I love,” but I like to respond that I didn’t have much choice because I’m not very good at anything else! Everyone has a passion or something they love, and I just so happen to be spitefully stubborn when it comes to what I want. But if people had to rely on me to be a doctor or even to do basic math we would all be in big trouble, so the moral is this: stick with what you’re good at!
10. What advice do you have for people who are just starting out?
It’s so important to follow your dreams and try your hardest to do what makes you happy for a living. Even if you think you’re going in the wrong direction, if you keep moving eventually you will get to where you want to be. Working for a decade in the corporate world was thrilling for a while, but ultimately showed me exactly what I didn’t want to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and gave me the strength to work hard and find another way.
If I had never taken the time to develop my skills as a corporate artist, I probably never would have had the drive to create my own business in order to pursue a totally different direction. If I had looked at using the Silhouette machine as just another hobby, I wouldn’t be writing this today. I hope that my little story will inspire someone to just keep creating, no matter what it is, it all adds up, art is cumulative. Just keep doing what makes you feel right.
11. How many designs do you have in the Silhouette Design Store?
As of now, 7,663. When I hit 10,000 I will have a party!
12. What are your most popular designs?
My most popular designs are surprisingly the more simple types. My older monogram letters still do pretty well, which is so rewarding because those were definitely a labor of love. My fleur-de-lis designs also do very well, which makes me very happy as a New Orleanian!
13. Why do you do what you do? Why did you decide to become a SDS artist?
When I started working I thought that I had found my career as a motion designer. After all those years behind a screen though, I longed to go back to the simpler days of just a pencil and paper. In 2011 my mom got me a Silhouette machine for Christmas, and my life has not been the same since. I could not stop making my own cards, envelopes, shapes, boxes, whatever I could think of for weeks, I just couldn’t stop making things. I was lucky enough to be hired as one of their artists and have been enthusiastically working for Silhouette America ever since.
14. How do you overcome creative blocks?
For me the internet has become an amazing tool to jump start any uninspired periods. When I’ve been behind the computer for too long though, I like to go through my growing collection of old art books and magazines to get some new perspective, or I take my friends that have kids out to lunch and pick their brains. Having kids definitely seems to keep people trendy, or I take a short break away with friends and get ideas from them.
15. What has been your most amazing moment you’ve experienced as an artist?
The most thrilling moment for me had to have been when I won the “Person of the Year Award” from the Advertising Club of New Orleans in 2012. The second most amazing moment would probably be when I set up my office to finally being a full time Silhouette artist from home.