The Lil’ Dames took a road trip up to Los Angeles for an artist studio visit. We were welcomed in Downtown with the cutest pink building built in 1904 and we took the elevator up. We kind of geeked out finding her studio door, logo, name plate and all. The entire experience of being in a creator’s space in the heart of L.A. is indescribably inspiring. After chilling in her space for .5 seconds, we can just conclude that Isa Beniston is Gentle Thrills. Isa’s personality was oozing out of the walls of her art studio with the creations, colors, knick-knacks, wall of inspiration, giant work table and of course, the air brush wall all marked up with happy paint marks. She’s got a beautiful loft window with a view of the surrounding buildings and the natural lighting seems like a heavenly place to paint fluffy sad dogs, tigers, and dragons. Our favorite part was hearing what tools Beniston has been loving lately: flatbed scanner and label printer. Now that she’s getting so many orders she needs that big time label printer.
We all had a lot to talk about, including our similar experiences attending art school for undergrad, working in museums following graduation, and leaving soon after with a new outlook to continue to work in and around the art world. Before being Gentle Thrills, Isa grew up in Solana Beach, attended UCLA for her degree in Fine Arts. She worked at MOCA and taught art to kids in detention facilities in Los Angeles. After finding the art studio of her dreams, she quit to make Gentle Thrills her full-time endeavor.
“This space is the kick in the ass that I needed. I was in here every day full-time, I was hustling and it validated what I was doing. It was the right thing to do. I encourage visualization.”
LD: Is High School around when you knew you wanted to be an Artist?
IB: No, I always knew I wanted to be an artist. When I was in Kindergarten I wanted to be a graphic designer.
Shit got real once Isa started to participate in West Coast Craft, the renowned San Francisco juried exhibition of artist and designer craftspeople. She earned a scholarship one year, she also won Best Booth one year, which funnily ended up being a free both at the following year’s exhibition, and now she's participated a total of 6 years. Because of this hard work Isa really got her bearings, and a larger following. She’s now being commissioned by Post Malone and collaborating with Big Bud Press, Print All Over Me and others. We wish we could go to all her Gentle Thrills events that include collaborations with market creator Bando and Big Bud Press.
Isa is an overall a joy to be around, a fashion icon, a trinket hoarder, a brand ambassador of the bazaar and we can’t wait to see what she makes in the future.
“I feel though, I went to art school, not business school. But I feel like having to go to art school made me very aware of making work that is intentional, creating a feeling and succeeding in that. You have to create an experience for people so that it is meaningful and memorable. Anyone can make a pin or a t-shirt. I think retail gets frowned on pretty hard by the fine art world. Retail should be taken seriously and the art world is retail too.”
Thank you for readin<3 find @gentlethrills and support her work, you can always find her at Little Dame.