My Interview with Emily Griffin and Her Wonderful Art.

Twitter is one of those places on the internet where getting lost either takes you to something really terrible or presents something really interesting or fantastic. A few weeks ago I was browsing through my feed where a lot of really terrible stuff popped up (fight videos, political discourse, depression, etc.) as it often does - when all of a sudden, a nugget of wonderfulness appeared; it was Emily's art.

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I'm always on the look out for interesting and talented people to interview for my Koonagi's World Blog, so I reached out. I love to learn about what inspires different artists and what drives them to create. I explored her website, Day Brighten, and her art. I dug it and most of all, I connected to it.

She messaged me back a couple days later after getting back from a trip and the rest of this article just sort of fell into place. Without further ado, here's my interview with the talented Emily Griffin.

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What are your earliest memories of creating art and how did that translate into being a passion?

I’ve been creating art since I was super little - it’s always something I felt really comfortable doing, especially as I realized I didn’t really like playing sports as my mom tried getting me into different hobbies when I was younger. It helps that you get to draw a lot for projects in school, so I could do it for a grade and for fun all at once, and even help my friends that didn’t like drawing.

When I was in college, I was encouraged to go a “safer” route and studied business, but I still minored in watercolor. That + getting an iPad Pro was what really kept me painting and drawing as an adult, and then got lucky enough to find some opportunities for commissioned projects and to work with HelloGiggles on my weekly feature, “A Wednesday Cute”. Word of mouth from Twitter was truly the catalyst for most of my work today.
— EG

 What artists or things in everyday life inspire you or your work?

I follow so many artists on Instagram and am inspired by bits and pieces of their work constantly - color, texture, humor, the way they illustrate emotion with cartoon styles. I’ve been a longtime supporter of The Sad Ghost Club and their focus on mental health (I also love ghosts). I also find everything about Hiller Goodspeed’s work incredibly charming. A lot of my personal work feels close to these artists, in that it’s cute and generally has a lot to do with feelings and small, special moments (even goofy ones).

I also tend to use a lot of muted pastels in my work, which is very much tied to the way I dress and accessorize. I like to keep things soft.
— EG

Do you have any art pieces or art-related achievements you're particularly proud of creating?

My final watercolor series at the end of college is still one of my proudest achievements. I painted seven space scenes and really love how they look, and how much time I dedicated to them. Each little star is hand-painted!
— EG
More recently, I’m proud of several pieces that I made last summer. I was going through a really exhausting and heartbreaking time in my life and still kept drawing through it. I feel like I achieved the level of emotional clarity that I wanted to with these - which is cool, because I’m usually hard on myself and only see where I could have illustrated something better.
— EG

What projects are you working on now?

I just finished a lot of illustrations for some awesome tech talks.
— EG

Some of Emily's Brilliant Tech Talk Illustrations:

Now I am “relaxing” a little bit with pet portraits (and a moose!) and couple portraits, which are my typical projects. I’m also working on a pin design for a local meetup :)
— EG

Where can people follow you and your work?

You can follow me on Instagram @daybrighten for most of my work, and I’m also super active on Twitter @emilywithcurls. You can also view more of my work on daybrighten.com or on Tumblr.
— EG

As you can tell "Day Brighten" isn't just the name for her website, but really describes her personality and art as well. Art can make you feel a lot of different ways, but Emily's seems to always convey a positive vibe, even when the subject matter may not be. I think that's what drives me to her work most; it quite literally brightens my day.

I'd like to thank Emily for taking the time out of her busy schedule for this interview. I can't wait to see what she creates next. Whatever it is, I have no doubts that it will bring more joy into a world that desperately needs it.

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Kabbobin: Dallas' Newest Online Art/Clothing Shop.

Today's interview is with a close friend of mine, Kabbakeh Bangura, and one of his best friends, Robin Hayes. We're focusing on their new company called Kabbobin; a clever mixture of both names. For this article, I asked each question to both of them for each's unique perspective. Let's dive in.

How long have you been interested in art and who/what inspires you?

I have bee interested in art since I was a child. I lived in Europe for a few years as a child and the architecture and just history...I grew up being involved in art and as I got older I discovered the craft side to it.
— Robin
I came out the womb holding a pencil and sketch pad I think. I get my inspiration from my life experiences whether its interactions with family, friends, strangers, etc! I tend to find art in everything!
— Kabbakeh

What sparked your interest in starting an Etsy shop with your designs?

I’ve been branching and experimenting with making new things with a new device I received as a gift from my husband. From there, Kabbakeh reached out to me and pitched this awesome idea for us to start an Etsy shop. We figured between the two of us, we really had something to work with.
— Robin
After a random sketch, I decided that I wanted to illustrate more since my design style is so structured. The “punny” animal shirts are just the beginning and I thought who else to do crafts with than Robin?
— Kabbakeh
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What can we expect in the future for Kabbobin as an online shop?

You can expect great things from Kabbobin. Custom, witty and just one of a kind pieces.
— Robin
You can expect weird, but great designs. You can also expect perfection in our crafts and products!
— Kabbakeh

If you can't tell by now, I love to write articles about Dallas locals and interview small businesses because they feel like they still have that passion that a lot of big box stores lose after becoming too large. Speaking with Kabbakeh one-on-one on lunch breaks (we work together) I can see his passion for design, art, and creation in general. I have no doubt these two will go on to do great things with Kabbobin. Now go check their clothes out and...

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Visit them online for more designs at their Etsy shop and through social media below!

Meet Artist Joanna Winograd and Our Children's Book Collaboration

About 3 years ago, I wrote a short children's book about a star named Herbert. The story covers his life while explaining how a star and its orbiting planets form and die in space. After the story's completion, I went on a hunt for an illustrator.

Over the years, artists have come and gone. After a long arduous search, I posted the collaboration idea to a website called Art Connect. This website connects artists with other artists to create joint projects. After a couple days of posting, I received quite a few inquiries, but none as amazing as an artist named Joanna Winograd.

I instantly fell in love with her art. After looking through a few pages on her website, I knew she was the person I wanted to team up with for this book. In addition to our collab, I wanted to share Joanna's past work and provide a space where you, the reader, can get to know her and her amazing creations. Even though we're separated by roughly 5,200 miles, through the magic of the electronic internet machine, I sent her over some interview questions. Let's dive get to it, shall we? 

What are your earliest memories of creating art and what fueled your passion for it?

It is difficult to find a particular memory, but since I can remember painting, drawing and creating is what i like the most and the way I feel most comfortable to express myself. But I think is not exactly a passion, is the way I am, I need to create the same as I need to eat.
— JW

Are there any artists or things that inspire you or your work the most?

My inspirations come from everything around me, starting with the religious art from the Middle Ages over traditional Latin-American art to actually every comment or behavior of people around me.
I like to observe everything and to think about everything, even to develop sociological theories about our time and people’s behavior. And I like to tell some of those thoughts in my artwork.
— JW

Do you have any art pieces that you're particularly proud of creating?

I am proud of the children’s book « les monsters au plafond » that I made together with (Sevrine Loison who wrote the text) and the menus and the illustrations I made for Candelaria (a famous cocktail bar and taqueria in Paris). I think those are my favorite projects.
— JW

For my last question, I wanted to inquire about her past collaborative endeavors. I know for me, this is my first collaboration with an illustrator, so it was interesting to find out whether or not she is seasoned when it comes to teaming up on a creative project. 

Do you normally collaborate with other artists or is this your first big collaboration?

The book « le moistures au plafond » was my first collaboration, and I really like to draw the stories that someone else writes! So I hope there are many more to come. :) 
— JW

I'm incredibly blessed to have found such a talented artist to not only interview, but work with on a children's book. Joanna and I want to give everyone a small preview of an early design for the book entitled, "The Life and Death of Herbert the Star" and the art style she's illustrating it with.

Page 7 From Our Children's Book

Page 7 From Our Children's Book

The Life and Death of Herbert the Star will be out later this year/early next year. I hope to collaborate with Joanna on a bunch of projects like this one in the future and I thank her for allowing me the time to interview her. I will keep everyone updated on our book's progression and publication as time goes on. In the meantime, explore her website and let her know how awesome her works are!