2014 CH+D Award Winner: Lana Gomez, Design TastemakerAuthor:Elysa Hill
The winner of our Readers’ Choice Design Tastemaker award has an artistic inclination that goes way back. As a child, Lana Gomez remembers roaming the Florida studio of Robert Rauschenberg and the galleries of MOMA in New York—trips that inspired her school-age scribbles and splash paintings. But it wasn’t until she attended the painting program at the University of Tennessee that she began to blaze her own path. After homing in on her now-signature style—oversize canvases of swirling abstractions in bright colors—Gomez moved out to Los Angeles in 2007. In a California dream come true, her work caught the attention of famed West Coast designer Kelly Wearstler.
Together, Wearstler and Gomez produced patterns for china, wallpaper and fabric. “Not only is Kelly an exceptionally talented and smart modern-day icon, but she is also the sweetest person you’ve ever met,” says Gomez, who was the resident painter at the designer’s studio from 2008 to 2009, and had one of her murals featured in Wearstler’s book Hue.
A self-proclaimed “mad scientist of paint,” Gomez thrives on experimenting with color and layout, pouring and mixing acrylics on large-scale canvases. She draws color inspiration from the runway shows of Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent, and she names her pieces after quirky family sayings (such as her grandfather’s colorful motto, “Don’t bullshit a bullshitter”).
In true Tastemaker form, the artist is the poster child for staying true to one’s passions, even if people don’t get it at first. Says Gomez, “No one has ever made a difference by doing the expected.”
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