How did you get started doing what you do?
I liked the idea of illustration before I started studying but it was only in about my 2nd year of Applied Design that I really grasped what I could do with it. I had a ball experimenting with different mediums and just enjoying the freedom of making pictures. After graduating I tried my best to hold onto that feeling – I didn’t want to work in an agency out of fear of that kind of work squishing my freedom. So I started a blog called A Drawing a Day where I would post a new drawing online every day. I think that first year of making the kind of work I really loved was incredibly empowering. It also helped give me a bit of an online presence and attract the kinds of jobs I wanted to do. At the end of it I had an exhibition of my favourite pieces from the project which then lead to further exhibitions and finally my first solo in June 2015. At the moment painting is what keeps me satisfied, but I also still do freelance illustration jobs in-between. I am an illustrator who paints.

What’s your inspiration?
Beauty in the mundane. The way light changes things. Stories – real and imagined. Memory.

Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz
Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz

What is art to you?
Being able to express myself freely.

What does your typical day look like?
I share a studio with 5 other super creative women – we drink a lot of tea and chat about cats and feminism. There’s generally a lot of staring into space (both real and cyber). And snacks. Sometimes I take naps on the floor behind my table.

Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz
Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
Anything that takes me longer than one sitting usually gets boring. I rarely spend more than two days on a painting.

How do you keep motivated?
I make the work that I want to make, work that excites me. My motivation is a desire to keep making more and doing more.

Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz
Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz

What do you want others to take away from your work?
I feel like we’re living in a bit of a state of sensory overload – we want our visual fixes the same way we want our information; as quickly as possible. We scroll through hundreds of images every day – it’s so easy to just scroll past, so when an image makes me want to stop and really engage, that is powerful. I hope my work does that. I hope viewers find humour and pleasure and joy and stories that they can connect to. I hope it makes them slow down and get lost, even for a minute.

What are your thoughts on art school?
I did my undergrad in Applied Design and absolutely loved it. Being able to study anything in the creative industry is such a luxury because it really gives you time to focus on experimentation and discovery which I believe is so vital for finding your visual voice. I felt so lucky to be able to study something I really enjoyed. I was a lot older than my classmates when I started, and I think because I’d had quite a few years of messing around and doing my own thing I walked in there quite determined. I knew what I wanted to get out of it and I loved every minute.

Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz
Interview with Illustrator, Kirsten Sims on Jung Katz

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I’ve written my very first picture book. It’s about a polar bear called Henry who escapes the circus and has to make his way up through Africa to the North Pole. The book comes out in March which is super exciting. I’m also working towards my next solo exhibition at Salon91 in Cape Town. It opens on the 30th of March.

What’s your dream project?
Publishing my very own children’s book has always been my dream project. Now it’s happening, I’ll need to find a new one :)

Follow Kirsten Sims on Instagram and Facebook.

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Posted by:Casey Webb

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Jung Katz, as well as Editor for ZIIBRA.

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