Q+A with Izaskun Gonzalez

I first became aware of Izaskun Gonzalez’ sublime and, at times, unsettling body of work a few years ago, whilst living in London. Our paths crossed briefly, after I sought her out to take some promotional images for my work as a performance artist.

So imagine my surprise – and delight – when Izaskun got in touch to say she’d relocated to Hastings and was in the process of opening up her own shop. Gyre and Gimble Interiors is a veritable treasure trove of oddities and antiquities, based in St Leonards. It’s a truly unique space, one which personifies Izaskun’s own visionary and flamboyant flair as an artist.

Join me on a venture into the creative abyss, as I talk to Izaskun Gonzalez about her work as a female artist and business owner, in these most unprecedented of times… 

Could you give our readers an insight into your background and overarching creative philosophy as an artist?

I’m a multidisciplinary artist; I work with fabrics to make masks and create spaces, which I then photograph. My images are sort of like a mathematical equation resolved… when my brain is happy, I move onto the next equation.

Your work is highly stylized and yet manages to remain visually elusive thematically – who or what inspires you?

I draw inspiration from many  different things…tribal masks, Victorian style, Mexican iconography, the circus, performance art, b-movies , 1950’s cinema – just art in general and everything around me!

You moved from London to Hastings a couple of years ago, has the change in locality influenced your work in any way?

Yes, I think it’s definitely influenced me creatively, I’ve always been very perceptive and sensitive to change and my surroundings as an artist.

Your amazing shop Gyre and Gimble Interiors recently opened in St Leonards. Can you outline your vision for the shop as a creative enterprise and what customers can expect when visiting?

Gyre and Gimble is a collaborative project between my partner, Toby Coe (who also has a background in the arts scene) and I. It’s an antique and interiors shop, where we sell pieces we find on our travels. Toby and I have a shared vision: to design interiors and then make them happen! So the concept of Gyre and Gimble is perfect for us – it enables us to indulge and in turn, extend our passion to the wider community.

The shop is based in a Victorian property, on London Road in St Leonards and we’ve worked hard to renovate it, whilst also maintaining some of its original features, such as the Victorian kitchen, in the basement.

The coming weeks are going to be especially hard for the local arts scene, as well as personal business ventures such as Gyre and Gimble Interiors. How do you think we can innovate and support the latter as a community?

We have to be as creative as possible and try to find unique ways to help local businesses. It’s very difficult to expect people to buy from us in the current situation, so we’re thinking of how to go forwards from here…for example we’ve been putting small packs of handmade pottery and other pretty objects together, so people can contribute by buying these if they wish. We’re a very small family-run business, so any purchases are greatly appreciated. You can find our little ‘help packs’ on our website, as well as further updates in the weeks to come.

You work in an array of media, most notably photography. You’re also a mum and run your own business… what advice do you have for upcoming female artists, who are perhaps yet to find their voice within the wider arts scene?

My advice would be to stay true to yourself. Be kind and nurturing – especially to other women. Feed your mind and also your soul!

Thank you so much for your time Izaskun, please use this space to share/muse/close this interview as you wish…

Thank you for caring and for your interest in local artists and small businesses!

I’d like to thank the people of Hastings and St Leonards for their ongoing support. There are so many wonderful projects and independent businesses here, we must support them so that our town can remain a special place for us all!

It’s important to remember we can all make a difference – perhaps now more than ever. All our actions count…buy local, get involved!

To view more of Izaskun Gonzalez’s work as an artist please visit her website: www.izaskungonzalez.com

You can find out more about Gyre and Gimble Interiors via the shop website:

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