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AS IS | Koketit (Shira Barzilay)


From Tel Aviv, Israel

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel

You may have heard of Koketit: she creates minimalistic and simple, yet striking paintings and illustrations using a multitude of techniques. One of her recent favorites is using photographs as her canvas

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself.

K: Hi all, my name is Shira. Im an artist from lovely Tel Aviv. My artist name is Koketit which means coquettish.

My background is in fashion. I was a fashion illustrator and graphic editor for a fashion magazine for many years, then I had my own temporary tattoo shop and did a lot of freelance work before becoming an artist. The road was long but fun. Today I’m working as a full-time artist, working from my home studio, collaborating and exploring all the great ways to make art.

A: What brought you into art?

K: I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with fashion and went to study and get a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. After many years of freelancing in the fashion world, I felt it was contriving and I wanted to break free.

I went on a search to find my own voice. I knew it was somewhere in there and I knew that I will never feel truly satisfied or fulfilled until I tap into that truth within me. It was a journey of looking inward and discovering myself. It was a long process of elimination where I had to discard the mannerisms I clung too as a freelance illustrator. I found a lot of inspiration in Pablo Picasso, who quicky became my compass for finding the truth. I realized the strength in simplicity and in minimalistic expression.

I became an artist simply because I did not see any other way in which I can exist and be happy. There’s so much to express in this world and finding the path to do so has been and continues to be my greatest goal.

A: What inspires you the most?

K: The female is my ultimate subject and inspiration. I get inspired by strong, smart and willful women. Art and life go hand in hand for me, so any energy I pick up on goes straight into my work. It’s important for me to be surrounded by people I love and admire.

Picasso, Matisse and Calder and my artistic inspiration, with emphasis on Picasso. I feel we may have been connected in a previous life. It’s some sort of a mystic connection.

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?

K: I always tidy up before I begin to work. I need my space to be prepared and clean, otherwise I become anxious. Then I just clear my head and get in tune with the moment, be in harmony with the flow of things. It’s a practice and like any other, a warm up is needed. Music is a huge part of what gets me in the mood. I even have specific songs that steer me to into a creative state. At the moment it’s Kelsey Lu, Crosby Stills and Nash.

A: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (whether artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

K: Being an artist is so amorphic. There is no set of skills or rules on how to do it. It’s very individualistic. What works for one is horrible for another.

I think it’s important to find a balance between the fantasy - the space for dreaming and conjuring - and the practical - the space for managing, planning and manifesting. This is true in life and in art it’s just the same.

A: What are your favourite adjectives related to art?

K: Imaginative, childish, transcendent, intuitive, feminine.

A: The best angle to look at art is from ...?

K: Art should resonate. Connection is the only measure. Ask yourself, is what I am looking at and experiencing touching something inside of me? Art exists to make the world a better place.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ...?

K: Art is about letting go. Art is not something that can be confined and any attemps to do so is a discouraging act. Art is about experimenting, breaking barriers, thinking differently, seeing what is beyond the obvious. It’s about reaching the truth.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art).

K: “When I was a little girl I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally, I'd just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me.” - from the film Under the Tuscan Sun.

To me, art is the practice of freedom, and as funny as it may sound - the sense of freedom and all that comes with it is something that needs to be practiced sometimes. We as human beings hold so much care and judgment over our own heads and others' that we create limitation for ourselves out of fear. Art is about letting that fear go – discarding the judgment and critical thought. It's about being, and connecting to something higher – that connects us all. It’s beautiful. Something to aspire to, every single day.

Thank you!

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