Mixer Artist Spotlight: Kimberly Brown wears art on her sleeve
Story and photos by Joe Pellegrino
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Local textile artist Kimberly Brown’s crochet animal creations can frequently be seen peppered throughout Greenville. Brown creates a variety of art using textiles, from crochet movie characters to tie-dye silk scarves and dinner napkins. See more of her work at www.facebook.com/highfiberdesigns.
Mixer: How did you start making art?
Kimberly Brown: I guess I have always been into art ever since I could first remember. My start in textiles was when I was about 8. My grandmother showed me how to crochet. I didn’t take to it right away because we were just kind of making these hideous afghans. But I started to teach myself more from there and that was the start of my art career. I taught myself how to knit and how to sew, and I eventually ended up at ECU studying textiles.
M: How would you describe your process?
KB: I feel like most artists sketch things out, but I almost never draw anything. I normally try to compose it the best I can in my head and I just start working on that shape from there. I guess it depends on how specific I want to get as well though, because sometimes I just dye fabrics with no particular image in mind. I just have a color scheme I want or something. Dying fabrics is a more random and abstract process. I have less control over the end product. When I crochet it is different. When I am going to crochet a stuffed animal or something, I definitely have an end shape in mind and plan it out in my head beforehand. I really like making wearable art because I like making pieces that have some kind of practical purpose.
M: How do you feel your personality affects what you create?
KB: People have told me that I have my own style and that my own personality and myself show through in my art a lot, but I have had others tell me the opposite. A lot of artists stick to one particular color scheme, but I am kind of all over the place. I guess as a person I am also all over the place but still consistent and established in how I feel about certain things. You could say my art reflects that.
In my conceptual art, I sometimes focus a lot on neurodivergency and mental illnesses, like giving a sense of anxiety through repetition. Repetition is a big theme in a lot of my conceptual art. I myself have anxiety, PTSD, I am a sexual assault survivor and emotional abuse survivor and I’m somewhere on the autism spectrum -— which all ends up in my work. I feel like autistic people experience sensory things differently and I feel like that influences my art a lot. I really like busy things and bright colors, so I work in a lot of tiny detail and a pack a lot of visual input into my pieces.
M: What do you hope people take from your art?
KB: I don’t know honestly. I guess I hope they get whatever kind of conceptual meaning I am trying to convey, but even if they don’t get that, I try to make my art aesthetically pleasing. So if you don’t get it conceptually, you can still think it’s a nice-looking piece and be moved visually. With production pieces that aren’t conceptual, I just want people to be able to enjoy them. I get a really tactile experience during the creation process and hope that others get to experience that, too.