It's been a while since our last blog post. which means I broke my 'to blog regularly' resolution amongst many others 🍰🐷👀. But you may have noticed we have a new and very colourful collection of artwork on our walls which I felt needed a full introduction, by the wonderful Carolina Gomez - or Caro, as she is known by most.
You will often see Caro working quietly on her laptop in a corner of Oliver's, whilst calmly sipping on a matcha latte - but don't be deceived... you only have to check out Caro's insta account @latinlondonmama to discover there's a lot more than meets the eye! Read below for our Q&A with Caro.
Tell us a bit about yourself... what do you do and what has led you here?
Hola! My name is Carolina, but everyone calls me Caro, I was born and raised in El Salvador and I came to London 14 years ago to become an artist. I wasn't sure what kind of artist I was to become but after so many years I'm still discovering it. And that's exciting as much as it is scary. I studied Textile Design and Sculpture ar Chelsea Ciollege of Art & Design but then I worked in event production, interior design, web and graphic design, creative direction, owned a childreswear label, and lately social media consulting & training. Textile Art is my mount olympus and fashion design the summit. I'm headed that way for sure.
We are really excited about exhibiting this beautiful, unique collection of work... How are you feeling seeing your work finally on the walls?! What was your inspiration?
I walk into the cafe and I feel almost detached from it becasue it looks so freaking awesome! I can't believe it's mine. I know... I'm working on that about myself. I'm really big into personal development and taking the step of exhibiting my work was a huge stretch. I love creating things from unexpected objects. In this case make up sponges that have been treated, dyed, embossed, stitiched and joined to create this joyful blast of colour and texture. I love surprising the viewer, and an element of playfulness is a must. Life is hard as it is, so if you're going to look at something I want it to make you smile and be curious, like a child.
The collection really does seem to be a labour of love. Were there points of frustration or did you love the process? Which is your favourite piece and why?
Frustration is an under statement! They were actual tears! Getting the colours right was a huge pain point. Dying is an art in itself and if you leave it too long in the dye bath then it changes colour, if you alter the quantity of sponges you're dying then the final result is altered, if you add too much dye then you've lost the toanlity, too little and it's too pale...However, you get to play the scientist which makes it all worth while.
My favourite piece? It's like having to choose your favourite child! I can't.
I will say that "Fuego" (which means Fire) has a special place because after the volcanic eruption in Guatemala of the Fuego volcano (which is still in an "actively erupting state") I'd like to donate any funds this work makes to the cause. Entire villages have been buried in ash, mud and rocks. Leaving many with no place to call home and over 100 people have not been found.
You have 2 beautiful children! How have they influenced your creative path, and do they share your passions? What are the 3 most important life lessons you’d like to pass on to them?
They are beautiful aren't they? I'd say they're the ones that keep my child like wonder alive and why we should all try hold on to that part of ourselves, even as adults who have to deal with hardship. Children are amazing at just being in the moment, if they have a tantrum it's right there and then and once it passes that's it. They don't hold on to it, they just let go. If they're enjoying bubbles, then that's what they're doing nothing else matters. As a creative person I think that is key. It's so easy to let judgement creep in when you're creating, and those thoughts can be dissarming in the creative process.
Maya is an amazing pattern maker and fashion designer, and Cielo has just painted the wall in her room in quite a Jackson Pollock sort of way.
I'd say as far as lessons go...Be in the moment. You can do anything you want sso long as it doesn't harm yourselves or others, and Be curious.
You are very proud of your Latino heritage. What does it mean to you, and how does your culture influence your work?
It's funny, I think it's because I'm so far away from it that I hold on to it with my dear heart. It was only until I moved across the ocean that I began to really appreciate the joy that comes with being Latin. EVERYTHING that comes with that word. Ask my husband, sometimes I'm loud, sometimes I'm fiesty, but mostly I'm joyful. For a long time I thought that was a negative and my work reflected these "messy" qualities so I was told I needed to be more "sophisticated" with my choice of colours and style. And that I wasn't a designer. I'm still working through that last one but I'm embracing every bit of my messy self. That's why I dance every tuesday on my instagram stories and post it. It reminds me of who I am and where I come from.
If we were to describe you we would probably say; chilled, modest, yet very colourful! How would you describe yourself?
Jajajaj (that's the latin way of hahahaha) That's so interesting to hear. Definetly colourful! I'd add I'm a hustler, I'm always looking for an opportunity to grow and I have grit peppered with lots of spicy joy.
And finally we have a very important question for you... what is your favourite meal and drink at Oliver’s?
Again, it's like chossing a favourite child! I can't. But here's my best shot:
banana cake (especially the edges, they're perfectly crusty and moist)
any of the specials, there's always one that's just right!
the pancakes (how do you make them so fluffy!?)
currently matcha latte with almond milk (I change drinks every season or so)
Carolina's collection, 'THESE ARE ACTUALLY MAKE-UP SPONGES.' will be exhibited at Oliver's until the end of July.