We sat down with Isabela Antunovic, teen daughter of Boba Founders, oldest of five siblings, and artist of our newest 4G release Octabela, to learn about where her inspiration comes from and how her family has influenced her art.
Isabela & Dimitri, Boulder CO 2017
When did you first start creating art?
The first real drawing that I remember making was when my mom gave birth. I drew about seventeen stick figured babies in her belly and then one baby emerging upside down...lots of blood. I was very proud of it and hung it on the wall.
What’s your favorite medium?
I would say that acrylic is the easiest. It's very forgiving, but I'm really in love with oil painting right now.
How would you describe your style?
I'm just dabbling around in different mediums right now. I guess it depends how I feel when I decide what to paint. I like the impressionists but I also like the realists. Right now I do everything from still life drawing, to watercolor to figure painting.
Are there any new skills you’re working on?
The last several months I practiced lots of Bargue drawings. Feet, hands. Now I'm taking an intensive immersion figure painting class with oils. It's really challenging because the models move and are not flat!
How much time do you spend on your art?
I teach one children's 90 minute class a week. I go to my figure painting class once a week for three hours, and I go with my siblings (3 out of 4 of them) to a homeschool art class for 4 hours once a week. Sometimes I drop in to an extra teen class. I'd say 8-10 hours a week.
What was your inspiration for the Octabela carrier?
My Aunt Colleen and I had these same matching white octopus hooks and I knew she liked them. I decided I'd make her a gift for her birthday and decided to paint an octopus watercolor for her. When her first baby (my cousin "Sweet Baby Ray") was born she hung it over his changing table. She told me he'd always reach for it. I thought maybe it would make other babies and moms happy and asked my parents if we could put it on a Boba carrier.
Sweet Baby Ray, 2017
Who are you most influenced by?
I am most influenced by my two art teachers Lika Gitis and Alex Soukas. Lika pushes me. She is honest with me when she thinks something could be done better. I love that she's not telling me "good job" all the time. She started her own business from her own basement studio and now teaches half the kids in Boulder. She is Russian- Slavic, like me. Alex is from Massachusetts and he started homeschooling (like me) so he could follow what he loved and apprentice under a great artist that painted portraits of Bill Clinton and Princess Di. He turned me on to realism. He also deemed me mature enough to paint with the adults. Even if I have the angle all wrong, he encourages me and believes in my potential. His work is some of the best that I've ever seen.
Tell us a little bit about your family and how they influence your creations.
I grew up crocheting hats for all my siblings and for almost all the birthday parties I was invited to. Now birthday presents are changing to linoleum cuts. I used to sew dolls for my sister, did beading, made bows and arrows for all the kids in the neighborhood, made bow drills to start fires, skinned rabbits and made fishing nets. I had a year long obsession with fondant flowers and cakes. I learned to actually silversmith with my mom in India with a blow torch when I was nine. I really like to do things with my hands. My family loves spending time creating things together!
Isabela (at age 10) decorating a Boba Wrap cake for our office opening party in 2013
The Antunovic Family in Massachussets, 2016