Inseam: Frizz Kid
For those that don’t know you, could you explain a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m a 23-year-old freelance illustrator and writer. I’m probably best known for my affirmation art series, which is a fun series of illustrations that are affirming, empowering, and speak to a lot of issues like mental health, trauma, and experiencing systemic violence.
How did you find your way into illustration & creative work in general ? What about your professional work?
Well I went to school for journalism in university and got my undergrad in that. I often drew as a way to destress and to get out of that very competitive and sometimes toxic head-state that university can really instill in you. The great thing is that I was able to take this hobby that I loved dearly and turn it into professional work. So I illustrate for a lot of commissions and campaigns that I really care about, which is super cool.
Your journalistic work is very forward in calling out many contradictions in society. What about your activism is important to you? do you identify as a feminist? If so what have you learned since identifying with it?
My activism is definitely really important to me, particularly because i feel it’s very much about survival. My resistance is my survival, and the work I do whether writing or illustrating is a way of healing myself and also giving healing and survival strength to other communities. I definitely identify as a feminist, and since identifying that way I’ve learned a lot about the stories and struggles of others. I’ve learned more about the systems of oppression that have held me down, and I’ve also become very cognizant of the privileges I have that are really given to me by oppressive power structures at the expense of others. It blows open your world view, and all of that unlearning can be scary at times. Your naivete gets shattered. But it’s worth it. You then are able to access a lot of beauty, a lot of joy, a lot of resistance that’s being carried out by people of all different marginalized identities who are just thriving in life and giving to others.
There is a radical softness to your art, and anyone who browsed your page would understand a bit about how you see the world, where does a piece start for you? Do you have an idea of what you want to say with it when you start?
A lot of it is most definitely influenced by personal experiences. Starting a piece means reflecting. So I have to ask myself “what do I need to hear today?” Or, “what does my friend need to hear today to get her through this difficult thing she’s experiencing?”
Some pieces I’m thinking about other communities, and what they are fighting
for, and what affirmation might bring them solace and solidarity.
Are there elements of your identity that influence your work?
Many. Being a woman of colour is definitely a big part of that. Being someone who has struggled with anxiety, with expectation, with discrimination. All of that is infused in my work. Being an immigrant to this country at a young age, feeling, at times, traumatized by the change and intensity of feeling like the odd one out throughout my entire life is in there.
Many may not know you specifically but they recognize the particular “Healing is not linear” piece that has gone viral. As an arts collective we value and emphasize the artists that are responsible for the work they’ve allowed us to publish.
What is your view on how artists are compensated for their work and what was it like to see your pieces have such success on the internet?
I definitely feel like there’s a lack of respect for artists in how they are compensated. People very much expect artists, and creatives in general, to do unpaid labour. And that’s really not OK. If you are able to give to an artist, then yeah, do so. If you are enjoying their work, the least you can do is give them credit. Seeing my pieces reach that kind of success was surreal, amazing, and even a little scary. I didn’t expect it, but was taken aback by the love and support I was receiving. But also, having my pieces out there means I’ve dealt with people and organizations stealing my art, and so dealing with that can be very energy draining and heart. But the support greatly outweighs the bad stuff.
Moving into more of a craft discussion, what sorts of techniques/approaches/habits have helped you grow in your field?
I talk to a lot of other artists and get tips from them. Since I wasn’t professionally trained in arts, there’s been a lot of self-teaching. So that means, Youtube tutorials, experimenting with different materials, and definitely talking to others. I recently met an artist at Toronto Comicon (Sanya Anwar) who was super nice when I was asking her questions about how she colours. I told her I’m an artist too and what I struggle with, then she gave me a few simple, but highly effective pointers about which paper to use to get a nice bleed, how to do a simple gradient to create shading. So I took that advice and practiced a ton. I’m slowly, but surely, getting better at colouring now.
Do you have inspirations? People that have influenced your work? (could be from any sort of genre or outside of the art world altogether)
Lots of inspirations. Ranges anywhere from classical artists like Caravaggio, Reubens, Gustave Courbet, Frida Kahlo to bands like Le Tigre, Rage Against the Machine, and Nine Inch Nails. There’s also lots of amazing current artists I’ve discovered lately that I absolutely adore like Repeal Hyde Art, Luba Dalu, Heleena M. and more.
Many young artists have come to me wondering about the validity of pursuing something creative, do you have any thoughts or advice for young creatives?
My biggest advice is to see your worth. See worth in your work. It’s worthy, it’s important. Yes, pursuing creative careers is very risky, the pay isn’t great and there’s a lot of rejection. If you need that day job to sustain yourself, that’s OK! I have a day job too! I work part time at a small shop on weekends. Nothing wrong with that! But any downtime you get, practice, practice, practice. Take care of yourself, and see you worth!!
And, to conclude this great discussion we like to ask all of our artists, What do you do for self care?
Self-care is definitely time with friends, movie marathons, and long baths. Sometimes self-care is more simple and it’s staying hydrated, eating a good meal, or washing four-days old greasy unwashed hair. And other times it’s a night out with my bestie.
Frizz Kid can be found at :