My Life - Evie Kemp
Meet Evie Kemp, an Auckland based artist, designer, and stylist who has an amazing eye for beautiful prints. In this Q&A, she talks about her favourite living icon, Fluorescent Adolescent and pink cat tattoo.
Tell us about you.
Hi! I’m Evie, I’m an artist, designer, and stylist based in Auckland. New Zealand. I’m originally from the UK - born in Sheffield and brought up in North Yorkshire and then the Fens. I moved to NZ as a nearly 15-year-old for my dad’s job. It was really hard at that age, but I love my life here. I do need to make my work include more trips back somehow. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Sam, who is a Doctor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology...we’re pretty much the opposite in every way, besides our love for our pets! Oh, and each other.
Tell us about your business.
I’m a self-employed “Multi Hyphenate Creative” (to use Emma Gannon’s term!) and have had my own business and been making my fulltime living from it for 10 years this year. I initially started out selling my illustrations and prints; through the powers of Instagram. I’ve expanded that to cover a lot of creative bases that I love to tie together - interior design, textile design, and art. I love to inspire creativity and to be inspired and am passionate about filling our lives with colour and pattern (so no wonder, I love Kemi Telford so much!). I also like to use social media to talk honestly and openly about mental health, body positivity and share things and people that are doing good.
Who is your favourite living icon?
Lizzo! I was so lucky to see her perform here in Auckland a few weeks ago and it was electric. I see the influence she’s having in the world for both plus size women and women of colour. The world is changing and maybe a performer in a leotard doesn’t immediately seem like the icon we all need - but I really think she’s something exceptional. Seeing an audience full of people who never felt like enough, dancing and singing their heart out and feeling worthy
What is happening in your life at this minute?
It’s the middle of summer here in New Zealand, and Auckland is mostly at 100% humidity - so trying to keep cool is a big part of it! We’re also just coming back from our summer hols so work is slowly easing in. I have a couple of textile designs I’m working on, which is something I want to do more of this year
What is your favourite TV show that is currently on?
I just finished the latest season of Sex Education on Netflix and I’m so sad. I love that show so much, so funny, but important and the whole setting and cast and everything about it is perfection.
What book have you read that positively shaped you?
Oooh, this is a great question. I have two, both fiction. Apologies for getting longwinded here, I love reading.
Firstly “This is how it always is” by Laurie Frankel, tells the story of a family navigating having a transgender child and the difficulties, prejudice, love, and worry they face. It was such a fantastic book, and so engrossing, and raw with how it addresses that even with all the love in the world you can’t protect your child from everything. I don’t yet have children myself but it gave me such a new appreciation of parental love, and that we all have to work harder to truly make this world a more accepting place. No matter what your motivation to read it, it’s a brilliant read and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
The second one is “The Power” by Naomi Alderman, which is a kind of a utopian world where women have “The Power”, a physical evolution that means they can harm men. It’s basically a reversal of the world we have now - where men won’t walk home alone at night for fear of being attacked. It’s both very entertaining and also so frightening. By flipping men to the victims It brings a shock value to the realities of life as a woman that in many ways we’ve been dulled against as we’ve never known any different. The author was mentored by Margaret Atwood, and in some ways, it is the reverse Handmaid’s tale, but so worth a read (and I think it’s going to be a movie too).
Photo courtesy of Flash Studios for Dulux
What is the coolest thing about you?
I’m really not very cool really! Possibly my second-hand shopping skills!
What is your favourite food?
I love Japanese food, especially sashimi! But day to day it has to be pasta, I’m a total pasta fiend, any and all.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
My mum once gave me a card that said: “We must absolutely do what we love, or we risk doing nothing at all”. That’s something I live by. I realize it’s a luxury, and not everyone has the opportunity, I never take it for granted and if I find myself feeling down about work I try and change it.
Name five people you would invite to your dream dinner party?
What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
To believe in yourself a bit more and stop caring about the opinions of others. Take better notice of the people that matter and don’t waste any more time chasing the approval of those that don’t. Kindness is everything.
What is your greatest fear?
Honestly, it’s a bit sad but my biggest fear is letting people down, especially the people I love.
What is your best quote?
“You change the world by being yourself” - Yoko Ono
What are you most proud of?
That’s hard, and the best thing is that I mostly just find my latest project is what I’m proud of. I think, ultimately, I’m really proud of myself for carving this really quite a weird niche and making a career from it.
What has age taught you?
To accept myself and love myself - it’s an ongoing process but each year I like myself more. I’ve realised how much of my life I’ve spent thinking I need to change myself, and how that is the worst possible use of my time. The more I like myself, the more present I am for the people and things I love.
If your life was a song, what would the title be?
If you had a tattoo where would it be?
I do! I have a pink cat on my left arm and some little colourful emotions on my right to commemorate the book I created with my dear friend Jenny Palmer, “Feel A Little” - a children’s book about emotions and feelings.