Written by Kate Curry
I am so thankful for social media as an artist. I love being able to see what other artists are doing and become inspired by their talent! Have you ever come across an artist and just wish that you could ask them some questions?
Well - we’re doing just that! The DGY team is finding their favorite artists across the social rainbow and asking them the questions we’ve been dying to ask! Today, we’re interviewing the amazing artist: Kalila Jones
Name: Kalila Jones
How would you describe yourself and your work?
Fun & Bright! I like to make work that evokes a feeling of joy and childlike wonder. I think everything feels best when I can be surrounded by bold colors, soft textures and a little glitter.
What influences you to create?
Everything really. As cliche as it sounds I’m inspired by the people/places/colors I encounter and the things I go through. A lot of my work is driven by the desire to explore personal narrative or by world building. My friends like to say I “birbify” things. Birbs are my creatures, I started making them when I was 16. They can take on many forms but primarily they take form as crochet animal plushies. Each one has this kind of lore behind them & as the years have gone by I’ve just been expanding upon the Birb universe.
What are some of the pros and cons about the mediums you work with? Do you have any favorite mediums?
I think the biggest pro is portability, crochet is a very easy medium to just pick up and go. I imagine that’s part of the reason so many people have taken a liking to it recently. A con for my practice personally is that I like to work with multiple strands at one time and scrap yarns, so I can’t always take the project most on my mind to go. I think my favorite mediums would be crocheting, hand dyeing, digital illustration and collage. I get excited when those mediums can overlap.
What do you need to be in a creative headspace? (for me it's ice cream and to be left alone!)
It depends on the task. Things like drawing or textile prep work go better with a soundtrack. During those projects I usually put on music (my go to is the artist tobi lou) or a cartoon I’ve been meaning to watch in order to get started. But recently I’ve crocheted in silence a lot. It’s sort of meditative for me to just sit alone with myself and get in the zone.
Looking through your work, it looks like you do a ton of different types of art. Is there any craft you're itching to try next?
Yes actually, recently in fibers class my professor showed us a process where you layer fabric and any other flat material between two sheets of water soluble stabilizer and then quilt them in place on a sewing machine. After making my first sample I’m already buzzing with ideas of what objects I could collage together next, how thread choice can play a role in the design work and what embellishments I could add on afterwards. It’s exciting stuff to me.
Where can people see your work and support you?
Instagram! My page is @kalilacrochet and I post there most often. Any school projects, updates about markets I’m vending or creative pursuits I’m trying out go there. It also has my linktree and other social media pages in the bio. It’s like a home base for all things Kalila!
Describe the art piece that you're the most proud of
My birbigan! It’s this huge patchwork blanket-like cardigan that features 23 “birb squares”. The squares are 2D versions of birbs from my physical collection as well as of other art objects/ characters I’ve created. Additionally, it boasts some brand new characters that had never been seen before. I usually do more quick paced projects so to spend several months working toward one piece was big for me.
Is there any advice you have for young artists or people just getting into art?
Just keep going! Try not to get caught up on projects looking a certain way or being “masterpieces”. When learning a new art form it’ll be more fulfilling to just focus on developing technique or on yourself. Especially in such a commodified society it can be easy to lose sight of that. That’s how you fall in love, when you do it for yourself and that inner child. I hope that my art can help people see what comes of that pursuit.