Artist Highlight: Cia Gould

Cia was born in San Jose, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She moved to the Eden area 10 years ago and settled into Castro Valley four years ago. She discovered a love of drawing at age 11. Inspired by Disney, she has fond memories of trying to free hand draw the little mermaid. Her childhood dream was to be a colorist for Disney.

Growing up, Cia was always engrossed with portraits and drawing faces. In addition to water color, Cia is fond of the “more lively,” cartoon style of drawing, “I’m not a very realistic drawer, I tend to border more on the cartoon-y side.”  She is currently working on a series of water color paintings inspired by women she has photographed. The project began as a portrait series, “Anybody I saw with big natural hair, I would want to photograph. I think that if you have the balls to wear your hair just as it is and just big—that’s really the most authentic you can be, that is just you. Some people fall into 'I need to look a certain way to please everybody around me, I need to straighten it, I need to relax it, I need to braid it' - so if you can just be who you are, I think that should be praised-because we praise too many things that are not letting a person be themselves.”

After capturing the images of the women, Cia felt motivated to start painting using water color because, “it’s not as easy to control- I think that fits it perfectly too-it’s not all perfect.” She plans to extend the water color portraits to a series of 12 so she will have the freedom to assemble a calendar in the future.


Cia credits art shows and galleries as having influenced her growth as an artist; she learned some of her technique from a water color artist in a one-on-one lesson; “she showed me some really cool techniques”. With practice, Cia picked up the style and made it her own. Cia is fond of impressionist art, some abstract art, “but modern art-I just can’t.”


Before she began her water color series, Cia had created a comic book character, Archimedes the Aqua Owl, which she wants to revisit. She described the story of Archimedes, an orphaned owl, adopted by a duck, “so he thinks he’s a swimming duck, he has these flippers and little goggles he always wears.” Cia acknowledges Archimedes as a character that she has put a lot of herself into, which makes it easy to avoid working on the project, “coming up with ideas and stuff is difficult because it is really personal-I think when you put so much of yourself into a character like that it’s really easy but also difficult.”

Cia enjoys, “the quiet,” of her creative process. She always enjoys seeing a project through to completion, “especially with this series-this is the most consistent I have been with something.” Cia is continuing her series based on inspiration from life. Regarding art in the Eden area, “I think people try.” Cia hopes that the presence ofSmalltown Society will help expose more art to the community. She is grateful for the opportunity to display her work and that a space is being created to do so.