Q: What’s your educational background and how did you get into creating art? I studied studio art in college. I have my BFA in Painting, Print Media with a slew of fun minors like Art History and Women’s Studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2007. I really enjoyed the experience but must say that my background in craft and gift giving, from WAY earlier on, is what is fueling my work today. I do a lot of paper cutting, taping and Mod Podgin’ and see where that connection is coming from now! Every year for Christmas I would make my family and friends gifts. It was always a really big deal, like “this years gift is pottery, or painted glass plates”. It eventually turned into more adult gift giving but handmade, always. A few years back I made X-presso Liquor. Now I feel that I am gift giving for a larger audience which I really appreciate and love!
Q: What inspired you to turn your passion for art into a business? I guess it’s always been the ultimate goal really. I’ve been supported by a lot of wonderful people, emotionally and creatively. I was always encouraged to do what I love and the rest I was told would follow. At some point though, you really have to put in a lot of work to make it happen! I feel like taking “the plunge” per say, into art as a business…. full time, was my turn to support myself. Giving myself a chance to succeed, this is still really new for me, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. I like to read “how to survive as an artist” type books and surround myself with people who are or are wanting similar things from there lives!
Q: If you could describe KLoRebel Art in one sentence, what would it be? Home, Bar & Accessories… 100% Hand drawn + Handcrafted in Pittsburgh, Pa (a little more like a slogan rather than a sentence, but I like that!)
Q: Where can we see and purchase your art? My kind-of-sort-of website is now up and running at www.klorebel.com and My Etsy Shop is www.klorebel.etsy.com . Locally, my designs can be found at 14 shops, galleries and museums around Western PA, including The Mattress Factory, Contemporary Art Museum, Wigle Whiskey Distillery, Scribe Fine Papers, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 3G Gallery, Boutique 208, the soon to be Artsmiths of Pittsburgh and more, phew! My goal is to sell at a few more unique shops and boutiques nation wide. But for now, there are plenty of PGH shops to choose from!
Q: Do you accept commissions/custom orders? Absolutely! I started a series of still life drawings or illustrative, kind of wonky, bottle drawings that are all about total customization. They are a kind of self-portrait of your favorite booze labels and bottles. I hope to have the site www.home-bar-art.com up soon to have this idea come to life, but for now you can order your own boozy bouquet from my Etsy shop, which you can see examples of, here. I’ve also been working on a lot of bridesmaid and groomsman gifts which are really fun and open to personal messages, names and dates for your groups own handcrafted set of: money clips for instance, or flasks, cocktail cuffs and/or earrings! Another popular gift has been my line drawing house portraits. People really love them and I like to connect with these families in this way.
Q: What inspires you when creating new illustrations and designs for your shop? Pittsburgh architecture, of course, old and new - line work, Music! I listen to a LOT of pod casts too, which are always really inspiring and informative!
Q: What do you love most about your work as an artist? I’m happy to see and hear about my work being worn around town. It’s starting to pop up, and I get really excited about that! I think it’s a very simple idea, using my drawings as fabric or pattern to be worn, and people are responsive to this new work, of course it makes the creator feel good. As someone who painted abstractly, in layers of color, it’s fun to take a step back and be minimal and stick to the basic line drawings. It’s also given me the chance to learn new skills and spend time with my Grandfather in his garage. I’m between his shop, my studio and the print shop, all day every day! When I am actually getting a solid day of working on pieces or new drawings, aside from administrative things (which I am discovering that there is more time spent doing those types of things, unfortunately) I like the quiet time. I can be a homebody and take pleasure in seeing an idea I have begin to take a life. It’s so rewarding to be excited by something you’ve made!
Q: What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own business? The simple thing to say (which I always hear a lot) but stick by is to just start and figure it out as you go along. I am one for security and a steady paycheck, but that is not realistic for the type of career I am shaping for myself! I am starting to feel okay about this, and I’m learning to look at the work year (not work week) a little differently now, I think it’s going to work itself out. If it does that will be great! But taking the leap is really the scariest part.
Q: Why should readers shop KLoRebel Art on Small Business Saturday? (i.e. are you doing any special promotions, events or discounts?) I WILL! How about 10% off My Etsy Shop prints, original illustrations and stationery sets (all paper goods) + I will add a bonus art print card to your order, a surprise treat! I made holiday card sets, with eight Pittsburgh themed scenes this year. And also classic cocktail recipe card sets. They would both be great gifts or perfect for your own holiday card writing! I’ll be working hard to keep my site up to date, with new designs, drawings and some brand new surprises (home goods) type things for you to keep an eye on all season long!
Kirsten Lowe-Rebel, KLoRebel Art