In our ATAS Artist Spotlight series, we take a deeper dive into our artists through their work and the creative process and stories behind them.
Caitlin Bell Alexander is an Austin-based artist known for her warm, lively, and empowering digital illustrations. Her artwork is rooted in a midcentury influence, through the lens of a modern existence. Caitlin is also inspired by observations of daily life and small wonders in the world around us. When Caitlin is not drawing, she can be found reading and treasure-hunting in thrift stores, as her love for thrift shopping has recently developed into a passion for ethical fashion. A motto that Caitlin lives by is that “progress is not linear”.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
“I think it’s beautiful to see people coming together for a noble cause”
What is your creative process?
Caitlin: I don’t do much sketching, usually just enough to get a rough composition down, and then I reference color palettes from previous work I’ve made, for consistency, as I paint through the piece. Usually I choose what order to paint different subjects in the illustration based on the color requirements. For example, if I know that some plants in the painting need to be green, but the person’s clothes could be any color, I paint the plants first, and then choose the clothing’s color based on what looks good with what I’ve already completed.
Which one of your works is your favorite?
Caitlin: I’m partial to my “Strong As Hell” illustration because it was a turning point for my work. Instead of just being a piece that was pretty or cute, it had a lot of passionate meaning behind it. That piece was created for the Women’s March of 2016, which was a time of very big, scary changes both in the US, and for myself personally. I felt empowered working on that illustration, and it means so much to me that it resonates with a lot of other women too.
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
Caitlin: I really want to go to Italy to see the Amalfi Coast and also visit Pompeii and other ancient ruins. I’m a bit of a nerd about ancient art history.
What is your favorite piece of artwork that is not your own?
Caitlin: I can’t really choose just one piece, but two artists that were my very first influences as a creative person were Vincent Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt. I love so many pieces from them, I don’t think I can pick!
What do you listen to while you work?
Caitlin: Usually I like listening to podcasts best, some of my favorites being “Criminal”, “Crime Junkie”, and the first season of “Serial”. Obviously there’s a theme happening here!
Why did you decide to become an ATAS artist?
Caitlin: I think it’s beautiful to see people coming together for a noble cause, and using creativity to accomplish their goals.