Nature Edition : Meet the artist Rommy Gonzalez

Meet the artist and illustrator Rommy Gonzalez, who decorated the handle of one of the Nature edition knives.

Can you introduce yourself in a few words? 


My name is Rommy Gonzalez. I'm an artist and illustrator, and I was born in Santiago, Chile. I've been based in Berlin for nine years. I love travelling, painting, drawing and especially cooking.

Tell us more about your background.

 I studied graphic design in Santiago, where I obtained my Bachelor's degree. I also have design and art direction skills, having worked in this field for seven years in various agencies in Chile. I went to New York, to continue my animation studies this time, specifically Motion Graphics at the School of Visual Arts. After a spell in Barcelona, I headed for Berlin, where I began my artistic career. 

What area are you currently working in?

I'm currently a 100% freelance artist and illustrator with a studio in Berlin where I do all my illustration, painting and mural work. I also travel a lot for my work, discovering the world. I sometimes work with brands.


Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes, it was a dream! I used to draw a lot when I was little, and I was also very keen on handicrafts. In Chile, being an artist isn't something people aspire to, and my parents wanted me to have something 'safe', so that's why I studied design at the same time.

What do you like most about your job?

The fact that I'm working in collaboration with others, exchanging ideas and meeting people I'd be unlikely to meet in my day-to-day life, for example, various projects like Opinel, which encourage me to meet people from different professions and different sectors.

Also, I like travelling to places I wouldn't normally go myself.

What's more, when I paint outside, I feel like I'm leaving something, a trace, because I do it once and with my heart.

What made you want to work with Opinel?

I love cooking; it's one of my passions. I already knew Opinel in Chile, and I love cooking with these knives. I'm a person who loves being outdoors as I said before; I love excursions, camping and so on, and there are Opinel knives for everything.


How did you come up with the idea for the designs on our knives? What have you been inspired or influenced by?

Everything I do is inspired by nature; that's my inspiration. For this project, I researched various subjects, including plants and flowers... and I ended up with mushrooms as my subject. I'm passionate about mushrooms; I know a lot about them, and I even go foraging for them. I also grow mushrooms at home. Camille (the Art By Friends artistic director) had also invited me to an exhibition called "Mushrooms of Paris". That's when we started working on the subject for the collaboration.

Which is your favourite Opinel knife? 

I like the mushroom knife best, it's my favourite, but I also like the classic N°08 because you can take it anywhere.


N°08 Mushroom

You will be ready for the mushroom picking.

N°08 Stainless Steel

The must-have N°08 carbon steel knife has a beech wood handle.

Do you have any memories or a story about Opinel that you can share with us? 

My daughter, who is six, already has her own Opinel knife, which she loves because she can cut with it without hurting herself.

(explore our Le Petite Chef collection today - knives and resources tailored for safe use by kids!)

Wasn't a bit unsettling to imagine your art on a knife, the rounded shape with the handle?

It wasn't easy; I had to do a few tests before I arrived at the final result. It's quite different coming up with a design when it's flat as opposed to when there's volume involved. When you think in terms of volume, the design and illustration change, that's not an easy thing to do. There was a lot of experimenting involved, particularly with the placement of the elements. I made mock-ups to imagine how the work would look, where the elements should be placed, why this location, and so on.


Art By Friends 

How long did this project take?

I can't really say because it's a project with different phases: first come the ideas and the concept, the second phase involves testing, and then there's the final phase with the small details and adjustments, and that's the phase that generally takes the longest.

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