REDMILK TALKS WITH INDIA K, AN ARTIST LIVING IN BROOKLYN, NY, ABOUT HER ART, LETTERING AND FASHION.
Let’s talk about your artistic background.
I grew up telling people I wanted to be an artist. In college I was lucky to have the space and opportunity to explore what that meant to me. I had a very typical concept of what “being an artist” meant – that I had to go to school, graduate, get into galleries, and that would be it. But everything changed once I moved to New York and I met a lot of artists here who inspired me and showed me there are many different ways to be an artist.
What are the concepts of your works?
My work is about vulnerability and tenderness. It’s a strength to be open with your feelings. The ability to be hurt, to be affected by others, is an advantage. This is not how society currently views it. We value a certain hardness, the ability to deflect and move on. But allowing yourself to feel emotions deeply and share them with others is so important. In my work I strive to champion that idea and promote it through tender, soft thoughts.
You choose the art of lettering, why?
I had always struggled with the combination of photography and writing, my two mediums in college. I felt captions to photographs weren’t working for me, that they were too literal of a translation. I started to play around with installing my signs in public and using the photograph as the frame and background. From there, my work just became more and more about placing these words in an environment that makes sense for them. Intimate spaces, soft spaces, natural surroundings.
What is for you the meaning of the “word”?
Words are subjective. We all think that when we speak the same language as someone, we will be understood. But it’s not true. Words carry different meanings for different people. Additionally, “intent” isn’t everything – if you don’t intend to hurt someone with your words, but you do, they are hurt. That is a fact. You hurt them. The intent behind your words doesn’t matter in that scenario. That’s why I love the medium of signs and banners in my work – everyone takes different things from my phrases and to me, that is the whole point. We all see different things in the same sentence.
If you could represent yourself with an installation what would be?
Any of my work with soft material like sheets or curtains feel very close to me.
What’s the phrase that you repeat more?
It changes. Right now I am very fond of my “A Feeling That I’m Okay” banner.
What is your relationship with fashion?
I am extremely unfashionable and my goal in life is to only wear clothes that are as close to pajamas as possible. I’m currently phasing out items of clothing from my closet and replacing them with pajama like clothes, slowly but surely. I do, however, love supporting small brands and labels. I’m very inspired by them and the more I saw other people do it, the more I wanted to do it for myself because I just love that industry specifically. And t-shirts are awesome and fun. Some of my favorite small independent brands are Art Baby Girl, Tuesday Bassen, Monsters Outside, No Fun Press and Big Bud Press.
What do you want to transmit with your works?
That there is strength in openness. And you should tell people how you feel. That includes good feelings too. If someone makes you happy, tell them.
What represents for you social media?
Social media has essentially given me everything I have in my work. I’ve met other artists, begun collaborations, been in online shows – it’s an amazing space. At times it can be mentally exhausting – you feel like everyone else is more successful than you. But I try to balance that by being very open and vulnerable in my own social presence. Being honest about the hard parts or the shitty days. Not everything is perfect. At times I make it seem that way but it’s always hard, all the time, to be online and so connected always.
Do you think that in our contemporary world we have lost the value of words?
I’m more interested in the alternative ways we have begun to express ourselves, like emojis. Emojis are amazing! It’s a whole new language. Without words. I don’t think the value of words has been lost, but I think words have become more complicated and their meanings are way more vast.
If you could represent your life with a work (not yours) what would it be?
“Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring” by James Ensor.
India’s playlist is:
A mix of Kate Bush, Jawbreaker, The White Stripes, Beach House, Fleetwood Mac and Billie Holiday.
What are the positive and negative aspects of being a young artist today?
The internet is both positive and negative. It gives you a lot more opportunities and tools. In a way it’s easier than ever to do a lot of things, but at the same time it definitely makes you compare yourself more and some times I fear that I’m making work too much in the context of the internet.
Official website www.indiak.tictail.com
Photos courtesy of the artist