Talisa Almonte is the artist and illustrator behind Almonte Studio and creator of The Homegrown Collection for Wrappr.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Most definitely! I grew up with a dad who was a full time artist and graphic designer and I always wanted to be just like him even though my path as an artist has evolved a lot since then, but I'll always remember sitting down with my dad and learning how to use different tools like chalk pastels and even using his computer to draw with the paint program.
Tell us a bit about your background, and how you got to where you are now
When I was in my teenage years, I got really into fashion design watching shows like Project Runway and dreaming of living in New York and having lots of creative opportunities. I was fortunate enough to get accepted to an arts magnet high school in Miami, Florida (where I grew up) called Design and Architecture Senior High, where I got to really learn a lot about fashion design and sharpen my skills as a fine artist. After graduating, I moved to New York and got a BFA in fashion design from Fashion Institute of Technology. I worked in the fashion industry for about 7 years doing various creative jobs like surface design for graphics, print design and trend forecasting for companies like Victoria Secret Pink and Gap, but in all that time, I always drew on the side and missed painting and creating for myself.
It wasn't until I completed a sketchbook for the Brooklyn Sketchbook Library - Sketchbook project and participated in a Raw Artist group show, that I found my creative spark again and was able to get back to my first real passion of being an artist full time.
Like many, with the pandemic, I lost my full time job but found a silver lining in having more time to develop my style as an artist, taking online courses like the Creative Lady Collective Faux Folio Challenge and putting myself out there reaching out to brands to collaborate with. Which brings us to present day, I started my business in March (Almonte Studio LLC) in honor of my dad who passed away this year in February (miss you everyday dad) and have never been more fulfilled as a creative being able to do what I love everyday and work with amazing people on various projects (Wrappr included ☺️ )
What type of work do you do for your clients?
At the moment I would say I'm a one-woman show haha. Because I have a very eclectic creative background and I'm freelancing full time, I've done anything from: trend forecasting work, branding design, pet portraits, pencil portraits, packaging design, poster design and the most common, digital illustration which kind of encompasses a lot of these areas.
Which of those do you enjoy most right now?
I'm a sucker for packaging design! It's just so cool as an artist to see your work out in the world in so many different ways that you didn't know were possible. I'm actually taking a course through the lovely ladies at Loomier on art licensing to build a portfolio and be able to license out more of my work. I also recently did a project for Star Wars and Disney+ and I was in awe of getting to see my work on the Disney+ platform, so I would love to do more work in the TV/film industry too!
What type of work do you do for your own enjoyment?
I love doing acrylic paint pours (seriously youtube videos of this, it's so hypnotizing to watch). I sometimes find that when I'm in a creative funk, doing something more abstract or switching up my usual medium (digital drawing) helps get the creative juices flowing. I also recently bought a linoleum block and I've been dying to get some free time to experiment with that.
What work of yours would you like to be remembered for? Or is it something you are working on?
Oooo that's an interesting question! I honestly wouldn't want to be remembered for one type of work. I feel that as an artist, my work is constantly evolving and what I'd most want to be remembered for would be that I always created works that spread joy and positivity to people, which is what I always strive for.
What is your creative process?
My creative process varies from job to job but typically I always ask as many questions as possible to really understand my client and what they are looking for. Once I have the information I need, I search for inspiration (mostly pinterest honestly) and start working on rough sketches or black and white outlines until I feel I have the options worth sharing with the client. Then the best part is knowing the design is signed off on and being able to go crazy with colors and textures.
What are you planning to create next?
I have this giant linoleum block and I really want to carve out something on it to create some limited edition large prints.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Art related: I'd definitely say art supplies, I can't help myself sometimes when I find cool pens, procreate brushes or cute sketchbooks that I never want to draw in lol.
Life related: I'd say TV and video games haha. With this pandemic, I've binged so many shows while I work, it's insane and on my down time I find myself playing games on my ipad or Xbox.
Where do you find inspiration?
If it's not pinterest or surfing through the internet, sometimes I find inspiration in the randomest things around me. I'm huge on color usage so aside from being inspired by nature (my workspace at home is full of plants), lately I've found that I've been really into color combinations on sneakers and sometimes cool colors is all I need to draw something up.
How do you feel about being involved with Wrappr?
I was so happy when I received a response after reaching out! I had found Wrappr through another illustrator I follow on instagram and I LOVED the whole concept of sustainable wrapping paper, not to mention being able to use it for other things is what really got me excited at the thought of partnering with a brand that aligns with my personal goals.
What are your thoughts on the climate crisis, zero-waste products, things you’re doing to be environmentally friendly, etc.
Sustainability is something I strive for on a daily basis, not just in my personal life but also as a creative person. I'm always trying to find resources or reuse things for my own packaging to be more sustainable (shout out to Eco-Enclose packaging) and in personal life, I'm more conscious about my purchases and try to support small businesses and businesses that are making positive strides to better the environment.