Instagram: @k.illustro
Website: www.keatonflowers.square.site

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I currently live in Lawrence, KS, USA. Growing up, my family really encouraged my sister and I to be creative, so I have always had my own little world in making things. For a long time I felt that a creative career wasn’t the path for me, and I relegated visual arts to a hobby while I focused on humanities research. But I soon realized that I have always had a calling to do visual arts. I just needed to find the confidence to pursue that path.

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

Anything that feels genuine to the point that it appears naive. So I am really drawn to bold colors and marks, wobbly lines, and simple forms.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I do most of my work digitally and I use a lot of watercolors and acrylics as well. But I think I get the most joy from just drawing in a really dark pencil on toothy paper. The Apsara Matt Magic Extra Dark is wonderful. Pencil drawings are so uncomplicated and don’t have the pressure of refinement. And using a dark pencil helps me worry less about little details and just have fun.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I try to always warm up with mindless sketching before I attempt to make something. For any piece that I do, I start with pencil sketches to figure out the basic composition I want. And I always do a pretty final pencil sketch before I move to my medium of choice. I typically finish my work digitally, so I paint over the sketch in photoshop and work out the final details there. I sometimes paint in grayscale and then add the color at the end, but it just depends on what I’m working on. A lot of the personal work that I do starts from my doodles and casual sketching, and then I try to refine it and add more story.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

I am really inspired by folk art and outsider art, and the art that children make. I really admire work that is direct in its purpose, and that purpose flows into how the image is composed and the perspectives used. It looks simple, but it can be really hard to make images like this without overthinking it or doubting yourself.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

For a long time, art was my way of processing and documenting my life. Even when I was making comics about characters I created, it was really just me trying to puzzle through my own thoughts or represent something that I had experienced. And it was really personal, I almost never showed anyone my drawings. I think that now I try to do this in a more abstracted way, because I really dislike making directly autobiographical work, but I want to capture moments and feelings in a way that is still very personal.

7. Where did you study?

I am currently studying Visual Communication at the University of Kansas. I actually also have a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of Kansas. 

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I have a lot of varied interests within visual communication, and given how dramatically I have redirected course in my life already, it’s really hard to say where I will be in five years. But I would be happy doing graphic design or illustration for a studio in the Midwestern US.

9. What about in ten?

I would love to be collaborating on making physical objects, like packaging or textiles, with small companies around the world. Or really any opportunity to travel and collaborate on a lot of different projects.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

My hope is to capture how a moment or place feels when you remember it. So capturing the qualities of something that go beyond its literal form. This concept is really inspiring to me and also really challenging. 

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I love tempura and udon. Any noodle soup is my comfort food, though.

12. Favourite book?

The collected journals of Lou Sullivan. I typically read more technical nonfiction, but reading Lou’s collected journals is a really powerful and intimate experience that I hold close to my heart.

13. Favourite genre of music? 

I listen to a lot of genres, but can’t go wrong putting on samba, bossa nova, and exotica. 

14. What are your hobbies? 

Watching and reading about movies. I have a special love for visual comedy in particular, especially Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Jacques Tati. I also sew as a hobby, and recently started incorporating that practice into the work I sell online.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I’m overwhelmed by all the things I would love to do, but I think that writing about and doing research in digital humanities would be my other dream job.