Beliz Oral told us how she has been seeking inspiration in botanical gardens all over the world since she was a child and how eventually her talent and interest lead to her opening her own paperwork studio. You can already download June calendar and to-do list illustrated by @belizo from our blog.
Aloha, Beliz! We are so happy to have you as our guest for the blog. Please, tell us a bit about your way as an artist: when did you start drawing, have you graduated from an arts college, and what is your main activity now?
Hello everyone, I’m also very happy to сreate something for Aloha Gaia. You have been a big inspiration for me for a long time. Talking about myself, I’ve always had a passion for painting and drawing since I was a kid. I live in Istanbul and in high school, I decided to put my focus on architecture because Istanbul is a very inspiring city.
After graduating from college, I worked in an architecture firm for a year. But I felt that I had more passion for illustrations and graphic design than architecture. So, I quit my job and worked as a freelance illustrator last year.
I also started my small business, a stationery shop called “Mazu Studio” and I’m planning to expand it soon. But before getting into that, I decided to get a solid education about illustration & graphic design, so this year I’m doing my Master’s degree in Italy, Florence.
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day starts early, with a very good breakfast. I’m usually very productive early in the day, so my day continues as I take my watercolors and create illustrations for a couple of hours – preferably in a cozy café.
Also, I am doing the photo shoots and the packaging of my products. The process is incredibly fun for me, so I work on my brand for the rest of the day. And my perfect day ends with a chill night out with my close friends and my boyfriend.
Where do you work: at home or in a studio?
In Istanbul, I was working at home, but I always felt the need to rent a studio. I usually need a lot of space and a lot of light, but there I didn’t have enough space. Right now, in Florence, I’m working at home as well and now I have a lot of space, but not enough light. So, I’m hoping to find a nice studio, when I go back home. The only thing that disturbs my creative process is when someone is watching me draw. I never found the way to cope with that, I hope I will one day :)
As we can see, your art is nature-inspired. Where else do you find inspiration?
That’s true: my main inspiration is nature, usually flowers and plants. I’m always charmed by their forms, colors, and dynamics. Even as a kid, I was painting florals. I have photo archive in my phone with plant photos from the botanical gardens I visited all around the world and that archive helps me a lot.
Other than nature, I get inspired by what I search and see online. I get inspired especially by good jewelry, natural stones, and crystals. That’s how I found Aloha Gaia and I’ve been inspired by your philosophy and world perception a lot.
I also have a few favorite stationery designers and I buy their products whenever I find them. Actually, the stationery brand, Rifle Paper Co. was one of the main reasons I decided to focus my energy on my illustrations and start my own line of products.
What are your hobbies? Do you have enough time to do everything you want and what is your time-management advice that helps you?
Well, my hobby was watercolors and now it has turned into my full-time job. I’m really lucky because I somehow managed to turn my hobby into my job. Even now, whenever I find the time, I paint random things and create random illustrations just for fun. It’s a major stress relief for me. But I still feel the need to find something new as a hobby. Maybe calligraphy or ceramics… Not sure yet.
What kind of music do you like? What was your favorite movie of the ones you have recently watched?
It sounds a little lame, but I listen to all kinds of music. I was really into alternative rock when I was younger, but now what I listen to totally depends on my mood. Also, after going to a classical music concert in Italy, I developed a new interest in classical music. It’s very soothing.
It’s very hard to pick, but I guess the best movies I watched recently are Nocturnal Animals and Hidden Figures. I also hadn’t watched Back to the Future until very recently and I was blown away by it!
What do you love about living in Italy? Do you like traveling abroad or across your country?
Living in Italy changed me a lot. Back in Istanbul, I was very stressed and in a hurry, all the time. Istanbul is definitely a crazy city. But life in Florence is very slow and relaxed. It took me a while to adjust myself, but after I started living more freely and less stressed. Now I feel like I enjoy life more than before.
Which place in the world would you visit right now if you were offered any destination?
I love traveling and seeing new places and cultures (who doesn’t?!), so it really doesn’t matter if I travel abroad or across my country. But the truth is, I travelled abroad a lot and still haven’t seen so many beautiful places in my own country and I feel like I’m missing out. So, this summer I’ll be travelling across the country for sure.
Our new mini-collection Axis is related to the symbolism that is inspired by the place of power. What is your place of power if there are any?
I have a world travel wish list in my mind and there are a LOT of places in that list, but Cambodia, Angkor Wat, is definitely on the top. It’s a magical place and I would love to go there someday.
How did you find Aloha Gaia and why do you like us?
I found Aloha Gaia on Instagram a couple of years ago and I’ve been following it ever since. The general perception and the atmosphere of Aloha Gaia are very interesting to me, especially because I’m very fascinated by nature and symbolism. I think Aloha Gaia is very special in that sense and it gives me so much inspiration.
Which jewelry is your favorite?
I’m thinking about getting an earring or an ear jacket. Starlight ear jacket is my favorite!