An interview with KaloolaJay Studio

CATEGORY Illustration, Miscellaneous

Muralla Roja print - KaloolaJay Studio Interview -
Owner of KaloolaJay Studio

I am a big believer that if you like someone’s work you should shout about it! Now more than ever is a time where we need to support small businesses wherever we can, so I would like to introduce you to Kate! She owns KaloolaJay Studio and is quite possibly one of my favourite creatives I’ve ever stumbled across on Instagram – and just so happens to come from the same city as me! If you’ve not seen her work before, Kate’s illustrations often combine dreamy architecture with beautiful pastel tones and summery blue skies. Her attention to detail, colour and texture is incredible! The warm climates of dreamy places like Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Santorini truly comes through in her designs.

You can purchase her prints on Etsy – and you absolutely should! I honestly love everything she creates and would happily just have a gallery wall filled with these prints. I was lucky enough to do a little interview with her a while ago, you can learn more about her journey as a creative below!

KaloolaJay Studio Interview - 01 -
1) Where did your creative journey begin?

I’ve always loved art and drawing and can remember planning out my dream home in so many sketches from a young age. However, I think my creative journey truly began when I started my architecture undergrad course at the University of Sheffield. Since then I’ve been drawing, collaging and using CAD to explain building projects and this has allowed me to develop my graphic design skills. I’m fascinated by being able to blend architecture and illustration in a bold and contemporary way in my prints.
2) How do you get inspired?

I find inspiration in many places but I’m a huge fan of travel documentaries and find them so captivating as I’ve been struggling to find the time to travel myself recently. However, photographs are my biggest source of inspiration. I’m obsessed with the #accidentallywesanderson feed on Instagram and have a new found love for Japanese packaging!
3) How did designing prints specifically come about?

I was nearing the end of my final year in architecture education, which comprised a degree heavily focused on the legal and professional aspects of practising as an architect, so I became bogged down in reading contracts and writing essays and really missed being able to express my creativity. I also wanted some new artwork to hang up around my home so decided to try designing my own prints. Friends and family then encouraged me to think about selling them commercially and KaloolaJay Studio grew from there.
4) What does your work process for a print design usually entail?

I mainly work digitally, Photoshop is my best friend! I love the freedom of creating digitally as there is less pressure and you can make more mistakes with less consequences. I really struggle when I’m faced with a blank sheet of paper to draw on and get overwhelmed that whatever I draw has to be perfect first time. Working digitally takes this pressure away. Saying that I always start my designs with a sketch to visualise how the composition will turn out on the page, I then turn this into a digital line drawing using CAD software that I am familiar with through my work as an architect. My favourite stage is the last one where I colour up the image in Photoshop and pour over colour schemes from images that I’ve collected over time. Once in a while I do get the paints out but this is mainly as a personal hobby.
Miami - KaloolaJay Studio Interview - 01 -
Motel - KaloolaJay Studio Interview - 01 -
5) Palm Springs features quite heavily in your designs – and rightly so, it looks like a beautiful place! Are there any other places in the world that you would love to visit purely for the architecture?

Yes! I’m obsessed with the mid century modern architecture of Palm Springs it’s just perfect mixed with the palm trees and cacti.

This is such a hard question as there are so many places in the world that I would love to visit for the architecture… I mean I would travel everywhere if I could as I find it so inspiring learning from different cultures as each one has a different take on what they consider a “home” or a good building to be.

But if I had to pick a few places that I’m really inspired by at the moment I would choose San Francisco for the colourful suburbs, Kyoto and Tokyo for their beautifully minimal coffee shops, Santorini for it’s white and blue island buildings and Miami for the art deco architecture.

6) How are you finding balancing a full time job with your own business?

Honestly it is hard work but so so rewarding. I use my evenings and weekends to work on KaloolaJay Studio projects but because I’m so passionate about being creative it doesn’t feel like a second job. It also really helps that my full time job is relatable to what I’m doing with my small business.
7) What are your future plans for KaloolaJay Studio?

I really want to get out there with my prints so I’m starting to sign up for places at fairs and markets, locally at first and eventually further afield.

I also really enjoyed working on a recent collaboration with Hostgator for the Alt Summit conference in Palm Springs and I designed a postcard which visitors to the event could write motivational messages to themselves on and display in their homes. Being a small part of such an inspirational event which empowers women across the world was fab and I’d love to be involved in more projects like this in the future.

8) Do you have any advice for others that are thinking about starting their own little creative business?

There’s no harm in giving it a go! I started KaloolaJay Studio thinking that I’d just sell a few prints now and again on my Etsy shop not really knowing the full potential of opportunities that could come my way. Instead I’ve been extremely lucky to be involved in some amazing projects already and I’ve met brilliant people along the way.

There is such a supportive creative community out there so my advice would be to get involved on social media, especially Instagram, and never be afraid to ask for advice. I also think it’s important to understand the basics of business such as how to manage your finances and write up contracts, although I’d rather spend time creating these things are essential.

Bondi - KaloolaJay Studio Interview - 01 -
Palm Springs - KaloolaJay Studio Interview - 01 -
9) Where can people buy your prints?

My prints are currently only available on Etsy, however, I hope to do some markets and craft fairs in the near future. I’m also in discussions with a few online retailers at the moment so my prints may be more widely available soon.
10) And finally, since we are both from Sheffield, what is your favourite brunch / coffee spot in the city?

Ahh do I really have to pick one! This week I’m going to say it’s Tamper for their amazing poached eggs and smashed avocado but if you ask me next week it may be somewhere else! ? We are quite lucky in Sheffield for great places to grab a coffee.

I’m so grateful to Kate for letting me do this mini interview! It’s always great to connect with other like-minded creatives.
You can see what Kate’s currently creating on Instagram and buy her prints here!


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