Featured Artist

Featured Artist: Carla Martell

carlabiopicThis week’s featured artist is Carla Martell, a New Zealand native that creates playful and imaginative pieces for BoomBoom Prints. Read below to learn about her favorite hobbies as a kid, the coolest place she’s visited, and her cat Neil.


Describe your art in 5 words or less!

Playful, cute, silly, fun and usually hand-drawn

Name an artist or person that inspires your art and why!

I can’t choose just one, there are so many! I collect children’s picture books, with old favourites including Maurice Sendak, Richard Scarry and Dr Seuss. Newer favourites include Oliver Jeffers, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (‘The Gruffalo’)

Did you go to school for art or are you primarily self-taught?

I trained as an illustrator and graphic designer many moons ago, and went on to work in the animation industry in Australia and the UK. I then ran away to become a dancer (and eventually a choreographer), because I hated sitting still!

When did you start designing/creating?  Was there a particular event that inspired you to pursue it further?

After a long time working in the performing arts, I took up drawing again six years ago. Having my own child made me want a career where I could have flexible hours and work from home. It’s been a slow process, as lots of things (mainly technology) have changed hugely since I first trained as a designer – I pretty much had to start all over again.

How has your style changed since you started?

I’ve become obsessed with designing patterns, learned how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, and discovered that I love making art to go on things – especially homeware.

Where is the coolest place you’ve visited?

Bali – especially the town of Ubud, which is a centre for traditional art, crafts and dance. I did a lot of biking there, through rice fields and past little stone temples, often followed by yapping dogs and even ducks.

Do you have a particular spot or place where you create most of your art?

In a corner of the living room where my computer lives, or on the kitchen table – I yearn for a separate studio of my own where I can make as much mess as I want and have multiple workspaces for different projects!

Do you have any children? If so, what are their names and ages?

Luis, nearly eleven.

If you asked him to describe your art, what would they say about it?

I asked him and he said: colourful and cartoonish with lots of cute animals.

How is his rooms decorated? 

He’s a hoarder and I’m constantly attempting to discreetly declutter, without much luck. He likes small cartoon creatures and international flags, so has a selection of these around the place, along with my Monster Friends canvas print and his own very cool artwork.

What are they into these days? A specific toy? A hobby?

Soccer, Minecraft and we’ve just started playing Scrabble together, which is a nice change from electronic devices.

Do you have any pets?

I have a cat called Neil who despite being 20 years old is still full of beans and likes to be brushed while eating his dinner.

Growing up, were your parents into or involved in art?

My mother was an art teacher. Every school holidays, she would set up some kind of art project on our living room table, usually involving paper mache, printmaking and making animals out of balloons.

What were your favorite hobbies as a kid? 

Drawing girls, cats and imaginary cities. I also liked writing and put together my own home-made magazines with stories and little pictures.

What’s your favorite story to tell about your childhood?

When I was thirteen our family went to live in Holland. We travelled on an Italian ship to get there, via Australia, South Africa and Italy. Do I remember the things we saw on the way? No! I remember the food – giant plates of pasta, gelato and Italian doughnuts. I’m sure I rolled off that ship when we arrived.

What did your room look like growing up? 

It was green, until I begged for it to be painted pink. I had an army of teddies and dolls that were parked in rows so I could boss them about as if I was their teacher. The curtains were decorated with castles and forests that I constantly stared at, trying to work out how the patterns were put together (something I still do)

Favorite song?

‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ by the Mamas and the Papas

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do instead?

An interior designer or travel writer

Do you prefer to swim in a pool, ocean, or lake?

Ocean – a nice warm quiet one.

What is one thing that you’ve never tried, but would like to?

I would love to learn to play a musical instrument – maybe a saxophone

Do you prefer milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate but any chocolate will do really.

Sunglasses or hats?

Both – New Zealand has intense sun in summer, particularly bad for redheads!

Sweet or savory?

Savoury, preferably with cheese

Dogs or cats?

Definitely cats! Can you tell?




Check out more of her amazing artwork here!


  1. love the kitty illustration!

  2. Loved learning more about you and looking at your beautiful work! :-)

  3. Heather Doyle

    Such a lovely style!

  4. Carla’s work makes me smile! SO fun!

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  1. Carla Martell's Colorful Critters Bathroom from BoomBoom Prints

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