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I’m so excited to reveal the 2021 American Flowers Week branding, created exclusively for Slow Flowers Society by Los Angeles-based artist, graphic and surface designer and illustrator Jeanetta Gonzales. Jeanetta is the owner of Jeanetta Gonzales Art & Design.

Like some of our past commissions, I first saw Jeanetta’s artwork on her Instagram feed (@nettdesigns) and subsequently lost myself following many beautiful threads to her website and store. Jeanetta’s artwork exudes joy, optimism, the spirit and strength of women, and, YES, there are often flowers and plants in her pieces. In addition to framed art prints, Jeanetta’s illustrations appear on products like phone cases, tea towels and other linens, mugs, and more.

Jeanetta Gonzales in her studio

To plan this charming illustration celebrating American Flowers Week, Jeanetta and I “met” over Zoom a few months ago to brainstorm and come up with a direction. I sent her a few photos of bouquets of flowers wrapped in Kraft paper, and she took that idea so much farther than I originally imagined.

Instead of hands holding a bouquet, we see a sweet, flower-loving gal. It’s so easy to imagine that she has just selected the stems at a local farm stand or purchased them from a florist who sources locally and seasonally. Her arms can barely contain the botanical abundance and we see this young woman peek out from the armload of blooms, her braid swinging over her shoulders. This image simply puts a huge smile on my face and gives me the hope we all feel at the beginning of flower season.

You can learn more about Jeanetta by visiting her website and watching this video introduction:

Meet Jeanetta Gonzales

I also recently interviewed our 2021 American Flowers Week artist about her life in art and more. Please enjoy this Q&A, edited for length and clarity:

AFW: Jeanetta, I’m so excited to partner with you to celebrate American Flowers Week 2021. Thank you for your creativity and talents! You have your fingers in so many genres and media as an illustrator. How do you describe yourself and your studio work? An illustrator? A surface designer?
JG: All of the above! I went to UCLA for a Bachelors in Fine Arts and then I ended up returning to school a few years later for graphic design. I hit the ground running as a graphic designer, which has been the foundation of what I do, for the last 20 years. I am always looking for creative outlets, so I continued taking classes, especially in surface pattern design. Around 2013, I started selling my surface pattern design at trade shows in New York where I exhibited with a collective group of artists. I have licensed my artwork, created pattern designs for my fulltime jobs and freelanced as a textile artist.

“Lady B” – available as an 8×10 illustrated art print from Jeanetta Gonzales

AFW: Your work looks very painterly. What is your medium?
I paint and draw and then switch everything over to the computer. My graphic design work involves drawing on the computer, which is something I really enjoy. I also do a lot of digital illustration in which I bring my painted pieces into the computer for the finishing details. I tighten and clean up the drawings. I draw over things and change colors, using Photoshop techniques you can’t really do when you’re painting.

AFW: You have an impressive career. Can you share some highlights?
In the early years as a designer I worked in traditional, corporate places like WebMD in the Bay Area. In 2005, I returned to Los Angeles and started working for boutique studios, where I designed advertising and pattern design. Then, I joined Mattel and I was a senior packaging designer on the Barbie brand. I also helped develop an African-American doll line that Mattel introduced in 2009.

Some of Jeanetta’s packaging for BARBIE® “SO IN STYLE”

AFW: That is awesome! Tell us more!
I was the branding and packaging designer on a whole team of African-American designers. The line was called BARBIE® “SO IN STYLE” which included dolls in high school who mentored a little sister doll.

AFW: What did you do next?
“So in Style” was probably one of the last Mattel projects I worked on. Then I was laid off and it was my moment to say: “Yeah, maybe I can do this on my own and see what I can make happen.” I stayed in toys for a while, specializing in packaging for girls’ toys, mostly dolls. I even worked for the Disney Store.

AFW: When did you start building your own body of work?
It’s been 10 years now. Wow, that just hit me! It has been a journey of trying a lot of things to see where they lead; saying ‘yes’ to things and figuring it out as you go along and just taking risks.

AFW: It’s so interesting to see your textile work. Can you talk about that?
I’ve done plenty of textile designs and normally, I license my artwork to an apparel client, mostly for women’s wear. Recently, I’ve collaborated with a fashion designer to create apparel from scratch.

AFW: That is so inspiring. Tell us about the “JUSTICE” Sweats fashion collaboration with Eva Franco Design.
I met Eva Franco through a mutual connection. She had this great idea to turn my artwork that I made earlier this year during the demonstrations after George Floyd’s death, into a limited edition line of clothing. Everyone was hurting and I wanted to express what I felt and make my statement through my artwork. I made a piece that had fists in the air with all different skin tones. It represents unity, solidarity for the movement. I see beauty in that and it’s so moving and powerful to see people coming together. My artwork made the rounds on social media and people were asking about it. I was really protective of it, but then this opportunity came along to collaborate with Eva Franco. She had a vision of putting my artwork on clothing and making it into a form of wearable protest art. We worked on it for several months using Eva’s fashion expertise. I learned so much about the fashion and apparel-making process from her.

AFW: That must feel so rewarding for you as an artist.
It’s so cool. Everywhere you wear these sweats you’re making a statement; starting a conversation. And so the art lives on beyond just being in my portfolio or on my social media. Fashion is an amazing medium for this type of art. I really like being able to see my art in a wearable form. It’s one thing to see the pattern, but to actually see it sewn into a garment and worn on a body takes it to the next level.

AFW: How can people order the sweat suit?
We’re actually in production right now. We are taking pre-orders. You can still order now and the garments will start to ship in the next week or two. Order on my shop at SHOPNETTDESIGNS.COM.

“Plant Addict” is an 8×10 illustrated art print, available in Jeanetta’s online shop

AFW: I assume you like flowers because you draw them a lot! That’s one of the reasons we were drawn to you as an artist, Jeanetta. Can you tell us more about your love affair with flowers?
I don’t know where my obsession with flowers came from. I’ve been painting and drawing flowers for quite a while – probably since I started licensing my art. I’m really taken by the textures and the different colors and the varieties of flowers – they’re just beautiful. Even when they are decaying there’s always so much to observe. Flowers are a never-ending source of inspiration for me. And I absolutely love painting and drawing them.

AFW: I adore the piece you drew for American Flowers Week, with its exuberance and excessive abundance. How many flowers can this gal hold in her arms? She’s barely hanging onto her bouquet – it’s so big! To get started, you created an inspiration board based on some of your past works as well as photos you liked. Is that your typical process?
Oh, yes. Research – always! Even if I do have an idea in mind, I still want to explore it and look for more inspiration. So I get on Pinterest or Google and poke around for related ideas that help me brainstorm. Next, I sketch and write out my ideas. The move forward for me is to have a visual jumpstart of ideas.

AFW: How do you turn a sketch into something so refined, detailed and multilayered as a final piece?
My process has turned into a solid combination of traditional media and working with digital media. For this piece, I painted all the flowers for my composition. I blocked them out with watercolor to get that texture where I wanted it. Then I scanned it and start digital painting. I draw and paint and refine by mimicking brush strokes on the computer. I like to draw the faces and the skin tones. I’ll spend time on facial expression and the individual flower details.

“It’s a Jungle out There,” an 8×10 illustrated art print from Jeanetta Gonzales, also available in her online shop

AFW: You are prolific in your work. It’s so beautiful!
Oh, thank you! I have an illustration agent so I update my portfolio and continue to create on my own to have new work to show. I would like to be drawing and painting a lot more than I do. But I still have graphic design clients, and I also mentor and coach artists.

AFW: Tell us about your coaching work?
Artists reach out to me and we walk through the concerns or challenges they’re facing at the moment. I like to do portfolio reviews, help clients with their art, show them techniques and encourage them to use their strengths to improve on what they’re doing now. Sometimes it’s like a birthing process to get to the other side. As artists, it’s such a vulnerable thing that we do. We’re working from our heart; we’re putting our work out there and for the most part, we want people to like it. And for a lot of (artists), it’s scary to put your work out there on social media. Coaching can be part therapist, part teacher, part life coach.

A peek inside Jeanetta’s Southern California studio

AFW: Please elaborate!
Working with a coaching client can be intuitive. Once I talk with someone for a while, I can really see, ‘Okay, this is where you’re scared, or this is where you’re blocking yourself.’ So we need to work through that first before you can get to the next stage. For one of my clients, that involved a lot of drawing and going back to her roots. We looked at her early artwork and I asked her, ‘What did you like to draw when you weren’t drawing for work but just for fun?’ She went back to her early days of art school and it opened everything up and she was able to work on new projects from a place of joy and not fear. Then new work and new opportunities started coming to her.

AFW: Your own illustrations and drawings are attracting some interesting partnerships and collaborations. In addition to the new fashion collaborations with Eva Franco Design, we noticed that Facebook is featuring you this month! Tell us more.
Facebook has a page called “Lift Black Voices” and it features Black stories, experiences and videos. Facebook also has a Black business holiday gift guide and my work is featured in it. You can see the gift guide at to shop for my “Juneteenth” art print and many other fantastic products from Black businesses. Every Friday in November (11 a.m. Pacific) you can watch Facebook’s #BuyBlack show on Hosted by comedian Phoebe Robinson, you’ll see  interviews with Black business owners, musical performances and more.

AWF: Well, all I can say to that is Congratulations, Jeanetta! We are so grateful to partner with you and share your incredible illustration with the Slow Flowers community in celebration of American Flowers Week.

Learn more about Jeanetta Gonzales Art & Design and see her work here:
Instagram @nettdesigns
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