Meet Your Artist: Kayla Gerrits

Who are you? What do you do?

My name is Kayla Gerrits. I graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in May of 2014 where I majored in Illustration and minored in writing. I primarily do pattern design and I love doing maps.


Why did you want to be involved in ARTiculture?

I initially found out about ARTiculture because my mom shared it with me and I figured why not? It looked (and is) a lot of fun to be doing. I’ve been looking at my ARTiculture project as what my college thesis should have been. Because of that way of looking at this I’ve really been working hard at it and trying to make the pieces the best I have done so far.

Wisconsin Pattern final     Regular circles

What are you creating for the CSA? How do you make it?

What I am doing is making patterns from bird skulls. I’ve selected 10 different birds and will be doing 5 different color variations of each. The hardest part so far has been whittling down my initial selection of 33 birds down to 10. The ones I have chosen are:

  1. Ruby Topaz Hummingbird
  2. Peacock
  3. Ostrich
  4. Atlantic Puffin
  5. Chicken
  6. Helmeted Guinea Fowl
  7. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  8. Eastern Screech Owl
  9. Common Potoo
  10. Common Nightjar
I selected these birds because of how different and interesting each of their skulls are. I wanted to get a wide variety of birds from more exotic ones such as the Helmeted Guinea Fowl to an ordinary Chicken and bring out the beauty of their skulls.
How I’m going about making everything is I work digitally. I started out with my initial skull sketches in Photoshop and then brought those pictures into Illustrator where I cleaned up and redid my line work. Then I add in extra lines to enhance the skull and figure out my color schemes. I pick 3 colors straight from the birds themselves and 2 more complementary colors to go with those. This upcoming weekend I will be sending my final illustrations to the printers where they will be printing them on canvas. I’m working on assembling the stretcher bars this week so that when I come home with my canvas prints I can stretch them over the stretcher bars and have them ready to go!
RTH BW-01-01PC BAW-01-01

What role do you think artists have in society?

We have a very important role that most people don’t always see. Somebody has to design your cereal box, the patterns and designs on your clothing, the storyboards for movies and TV shows, etc. Art is something that is necessary for our world because without it it would be a pretty damn boring place to be. It’s also how our history gets passed down. Art can help express what people were thinking, doing, wearing, and how life was lived. We know so much of our human history because of the art that was made in that time.

How has your practice changed over time?

Well, when I first arrived at MIAD, I had never even touched a drawing tablet and now it’s my baby. In high school I painted with acrylics and oils a lot or drew with my ebony pencils. I now work mostly in Photoshop, Illustrator and I’m learning Manga Studio 5. When I’m away from my computer I’ve been working with Micron Pens in my Moleskine sketchbook which I have come to love.
Day 17

What other interests do you pursue?

In my spare time I play a lot of video games. My 3DS comes with me everywhere. I just recently got my Gamecube back so I’ve been replaying The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess when I need a mental break from staring at bird skulls all day. I also love to read and am a huge sucker for any kind of fantasy book. Ever since the 2nd grade I’ve also been super interested in Ancient Egypt. Becoming and Egyptologist was a career choice I had seriously been considering but I changed my mind when I learned you had to learn 4 or 5 languages. I’m terrible with learning new languages. Also I couldn’t afford to get a Doctorate degree.

Follow updates on Kayla and the creation of her beautiful ARTiculture pieces on Facebook or Tumblr!

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