A chat with the cute and evil creator of Devil and Mouse jewelry!
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Current Location: Los Angeles, CA
How did your interest in jewelry making and painting begin? The painting part comes from my art background. I had never made jewelry before and always wanted to try it. It led me to explore and play with different materials to find out what worked for me. Initially I was going to sculpt pieces of jewelry but I quickly realized I’m no sculptor! Painting was my forte so I combined that with jewelry making and it worked out in the end.
What motivated you to start selling your designs and what were your expectations when you started? Several years ago, I was working a full time job at a travel agency and day in, day out I was sitting at a desk in front of a computer with a phone glued to my ear! It was really the wrong kind of job for me. The travel part was exciting as I got to learn about different parts of the world and talk to people about it. I even got to do a bit of travel myself. But sitting there on my butt everyday not doing anything creative was very draining for me. I would daydream of being my own boss and doing what I loved for a living. I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly but having an art background made me certain that it was going to be something artistic and creatively satisfying. These thoughts motivated me to start up a business within 6 months or so. In that time, I started designing the jewelry that I make now. Once I made the decision to do that, I quit my job and never looked back.
When I first started making and selling my pieces things were REALLY slow and I was very discouraged at first. I admit that in the beginning, I thought things would take off , but I learned very quickly that building your own business takes a lot of time and involves many different factors. You have to really invest in your craft and work at it until you become very good at it. Also things like networking, advertising and timing are important factors in creating a successful business.
Do you have any formal training in fashion, art or design? Yes, I graduated with a Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting. Many years of being immersed in color theory, composition, design and hands on art making is very helpful to me now. Those days in university were amazing. Getting up and going to school in your grubbiest clothes and making art all day was like summer camp. So much fun.
Is Devil and Mouse your primary job? Yes it is!
How many people are behind the scenes at Devil and Mouse? Two. I am the one that makes all the jewelry and work on online promotion, customer service etc. My husband Marc works on all the advertising and graphics work for the business.
What are some of the best and worst aspects of being an independent designer? One of the best things about being an independent designer is the freedom. I get to work on my craft based on my own inspirations and sensibilities under my own terms. There is something very satisfying about creating something that comes directly from your own strengths, skills and thought processes. And having others appreciate it is a bonus.
Besides making the designs, I have to work very hard in order to get my work promoted and seen by the public. This requires many hours on top of the hours that I spend making my designs. It sometimes feels like that part robs me of my studio time!
Where do you get inspiration for your designs? I am influenced by a wide range of artistic styles: contemporary, lowbrow, tattoo, medieval, renaissance, ethnic, fantasy, anime…it depends on what mood I’m in. While I can’t say that all of these influences show up in my work I’d like to say that they are very helpful in keeping me inspired and motivated in my artistic endeavors.
How would you describe your designs? My most popular designs I like to call “Cute and Evil” because they are fun and playful with bright, saturated colors and whimsical yet dark imagery, greatly inspired by punk and pop culture. But at the same time I am also inspired to create pieces that reflect a darkly romantic, moody and gothic nature. I enjoy exploring that “tug of war” of inspirations in my design ideas and they help me express the particular mood that I’m in.
Any advice for aspiring designers? Keep doing what you love. The more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. Don’t be discouraged by other people’s successes. Just concentrate and put all of your passion and energy into your work and success will come your way.
Do you have any interesting hobbies? I love food, books, music and travel, exactly in that order. You will find me on any given evening cooking up a great tasting vegan meal, reading a great book (particularly historical fiction), plugged into my iPod (favorite artists are Opeth and The Gathering) or dreaming about traveling to exotic places (like Morocco, Egypt and India!)
You can find more of Kim’s designs on her website: devilandmouse.com
in her Etsy shop: devilandmouse.etsy.com
Or say hello on myspace! myspace.com/devilandmouse