Naomi Gittoes: Free-diver, Artist and Eco-Fashion Designer
BY MICHAELA FARNHAM
This week we were lucky to speak with Naomi Gittoes, freediver, established artist, eco-fashion designer and collaborator with DiveR Australia fins.
Hey Naomi! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a traveling artist inspired by the ocean and its life. Since the beginning I was attracted to the ocean as my inspiration for my creativity.
The ocean is my companion, my friend and has shaped me to become the person I am today.
I grew up by the sea diving, seeking inspiration for my art, finding keys to self-understanding and building my professional identity as a artist.
You’ve built your life around the ocean. What drew you to it in the first place?
The feeling I experience when entering the ocean is something like being in mother nature's arms.I feel so content and joyous , weightless and timeless, still and calm, I love the sounds you can hear of the fish eating it sounds like sparkles and glitter to me!
The undersea world and I just work together so well! I’ve never felt graceful on land yet under the ocean I feel so beautiful and majestic like all of the other life under there.
This feeling has always been with me since I was little, growing up on the beach of Bundeena on Australia’s south coast. I’ve always had a special connection to the ocean.
Describe the path you took to where you are now..
It was more or a tidal wave or a tsunami than a path at times! I knew I was a artist by about 10 or younger when I entered my first 2 oil paintings in a local show and sold them, that was a empowering moment for me. Since then all I have ever done is make art, and the obvious thing for me was to make art about my beloved creatures of the ocean.
How do you hope your voice and work will influence others?
I hope to inspire through my passion for the ocean and its life, I would like to be the voice for those needing to be heard.
I hope to ignite something in the viewer of my art that inspires them to fall in love with the beautiful creature I work with.
Tell us about your collaboration with DiveR Australia. What inspired you to design some of the most beautiful free-diving fins?
It all started when a friend let me use his fins, they were DiveR’s and I thought they were the best performing fins I had ever tried. I could not afford to buy some at the time but I really really wanted some! So I wrote to DiveR with a pitch! I asked can I swap you some art for some fins! Ray from DiverR was impressed with my work and we started talking about doing some art for fins, later that year he came to visit me in Mexico and we formed a friendship free-diving together in the cenotes and around Cozumel.
My original DiveR fin designs were the bonefish, they were very popular and so we started to think about doing more. I then designed some special manatee, tarpon and crock fins for XTC dive center and they were stunning! After followed the sharks, mermaids, humpbacks, orcas and I continue to work on new designs now! It's really fun designing for fins, I love seeing them in the water how they glow in the sun's rays, it's been a very rewarding and mutually beneficial relationship with DiveR Australia, with more to come no doubt!
You are also involved in eco-fashion, what drove you to move away from the traditional canvas and explore the idea of Wearable Art?
I’ve always liked the way art can be wearable. Before my recent dive fashion range I was screen-printing t-shirts and making various things for myself and friends. Then in 2016 I had twin girls Indica Ocean and Acacia Ocean! I found I was spending hours and hours breastfeeding and got restless! I could not really paint with them on my lap, but I could work on my computer! So as my babies slept, I worked!
I used the art I have made over the years and applied it to design templates to come up with a free-diving fashion range. It came together fast, I just needed to make them sustainable. I wanted to use only materials that are not detrimental to the environment, to stay away from un-sustainable packaging and offshore labor.
With this came many challenges, but also some great progress and learning with my art form. I launched the leggings in 2017 and they were very popular, selling out quickly online. I then made lots of other design for swim tops and bottoms for men and women and experimented with samples. I’m sure more will surface at some point...
Whose work has influenced and inspired you?
Many artists, philosophers and visionary’s but mostly all of my friends! Those who share a love for the sea, those who share the same visions of universal unity and expanded consciousness. Those whose work makes a step forward in the protection of our environment.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you a long time ago?
Hmmm, that’s a weird question for me! I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, good and bad, there is nothing less or more that anyone could have said, its all perfect in the end! LOVE!
Want to see more??
Visit Naomi’s webiste at https://naomigittoes.com/
Follow her on instagram @naomigittoes