Kirsten was another lucky Pinterest find – fell in love with her scissors illuatration (see below – I have a thing for scissors!) and with everything else after that! I think what I like most about her work is that her personal style is evident throughout all her pieces, but each one is still unique and different – this is one seriously talented lady!
Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
I am Kirsten Sims and I make pictures. I am also a student doing my postgrad in illustration at Stellenbosch University, and an illustration teacher at PJ Olivier Art School.
Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
No, not really. When I had to stop playing Barbies I started drawing these long necked stick characters, mainly because I still needed people to ‘dress up’. I did a bit of art while at school though never as a school subject. I learnt the rules – how to draw in perspective, how to mix colour and that sort of thing. It was only after 3 years of travelling and working that I ended up at the Stellenbosch Academy where I first learnt what illustration really was. I had an amazing lecturer who really encouraged humour and storytelling in my pictures. I never thought I could make a living from art – I was going to study journalism or teaching – I guess that is why illustration is great, every project has a purpose and whether you are illustrating a cd cover, poster or coffee cup there is always an element of storytelling.
What makes your work / products / services unique?
Well, I don’t really know, perhaps that I do almost everything by hand in a very digital era. I’d like to say that I bring a lot of personal experience and observation to my work – but I think most illustrators do that. I guess it comes down to having a unique mark and a sense of not taking my work too seriously.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Movies and books. Obviously I am influenced by day to day life and the people that come in and out of it, but if I specifically need fresh influences I tend to immerse myself in the work of other storytellers by looking at pictures online, watching movies, listening to music or reading.
Who are your creative idols?
Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, André François, Laura Carlin, Maira Kalman, Jon Klassen, Edward Gorey, Quentin Blake, Pierre Bonnard, Joni Mitchell, David Hockney, Leonard Cohen, Audrey Hepburn, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss…I’m sure that’s enough for now
Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
You can’t really beat a fish braai and a glass of wine on my parents stoep overlooking Mossel Bay. Most of the time you can find me in my studio or drinking tea in the garden. Libraries, harbours, cinemas and gardens are also places I find great comfort.
Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
I’ve just got back from an amazing holiday in Tanzania – next up, probably New York.
How does a typical day for you play out?
At the moment it’s a case of juggling. Mornings are spent at lectures, doing admin and spending too much time online. Afternoons are spent teaching (Gr 11 and 12 Illustration at PJ Olivier Art Centre). In the evenings I try go to yoga and then sit up to the early hours working on freelance and university projects. Weekends are great because I can just paint without interruption.
If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
A folk singer or actress
Where can we stalk you?
What does your workspace / studio look like?
At the moment it is a sweet cosy space on the mezzanine level of the house I’m sharing in Stellenbosch. It’s full of books and paint and mess.