The Li’l Beasties are a story of finding your potential when faced with adversity and discovering powers previously hidden. They are shy, fun loving creatures that love music and are thrust into the adventure of their lives, the rescue of friends and the defeat of adversaries.
All Beasties want to occupy your heart. They want to curl up where it’s nice and warm. They love cool smart people of all ages. They love learning new things and reading with you. They snarl and bare their teeth at ignorance, stupidity and greed. They abhor litter. They are little environmentalists.
Fellow artist and writer Sharon Watts had a chat with Gigi to learn more.
Sharon Watts: You first began with a series of drawings called “Li'l Beasties.” How did they come on the scene?
Gigi Spratley: They actually were literally born in a dream I had about three years ago. I had been feeling a lot of anger, and in this dream a little creature was trapped in my heart chakra, which opened up and allowed him the freedom to run away–as “Li'l Beastie.” I woke up and found this to be very transformative, taking something negative and releasing it this way.
SW: Your drawing style is very fantastical. What were your early influences?
GS: As a child, I was obsessed with color, and was a compulsive doodler in school. As opposed to being perceived as not paying attention, doodling actually helps you absorb information. I’m influenced by organic forms in both nature and outer space–the microscopic and the macroscopic. I am also influenced by self-taught artists, even though I have a MFA in painting.
SW: Can you describe your creative process?
GS: I work very intuitively; I don’t have a set picture in my head what the final product will be. Otherwise I wouldn’t discover anything! A lot of my imagery comes to me during meditation, savasana, or even during my asana practice. Yoga is very inspirational for me. Creating art is a lot about being present.
SW: I am seeing “Beastie” street art–is there a movement brewing?
GS: Indeed, there is a movement brewing on the Lower East Side, and even worldwide–we have sent stickers to friends in India, the UK, Berlin, Italy, Montreal and other far flung destinations. They have been spotted in Hollywood, CA and New Orleans as well. A lot of people prefer to keep them, so they put them on something personal like a phone or other electronic device. In addition, they are featured on a billboard at a store in Nolita called The Quality Mending Co.
SW: What else is in the works for the “Beasties”?
GS: My partner and husband Jack Waltrip is an art director and musician, and we’ve gotten galleys together for an animated e-book. It’s beyond a YA story, since it appeals to adults as well, and is decidedly non-sugarcoated, with epic battles, a magic dragon tooth with healing powers, and all kinds of moral mayhem. There has also been talk about a kids’ TV show and an animated music video. And we’ve had prototypes made for yoga mats, even perfume! We are also starting work on one for a “Beastie” plush doll.