Karing Vibes

selected works by Kari van den Eikhof


Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work.
Kari van den Eikhof: Currently, I am doing a lot of commissioned astrological constellation pieces. My constellation idea came from wanting to create a gift for my friend who was having twins. I knew roughly when they would be born, so I created a Sagittarius constellation for them with the hopes that they would be born within the time frame of November 23rd and January 21st. And they were! I put the piece on my Instagram, and people were really into it. So, I added the listing to my shop. Now people who are much more well versed in astrology than I am are ordering them. And they want to customize their inscriptions with zodiac characteristics, ruling planets, and elements. It's great. I learn something new every time I create one.

AM: What is your biggest inspiration?
KV: My inspiration changes all the time. And different areas of inspiration spark different pieces, which is why I have these very distinct series. I like to acknowledge synchronicity, and that’s probably my most prominent form of inspiration. If I notice something showing up over and over again, I take it as a sign that it’s something I need to give my attention to. I first noticed synchronicity when I was starting my Wildlife in Footwear series. I was seeing specific animals multiple times a day, and once I would acknowledge and paint them, then the next animal would show up. It was awesome.
The same thing happens with my constellations and my feminist illustrations. My life is unfolding in ways I would have never anticipated, and with that comes new forms of inspiration. I am allowing myself to go with the flow, and I’m letting my art evolve naturally. There was a time when I was rigid with where I wanted my art to go. But with that rigidity, I lost steam and creativity. So, again, I had to acknowledge where my heart and mind where, and what forms of synchronicity were showing up for me. Once I let myself grow in different directions, my creativity was sparked again with my constellation pieces and then my feminist illustrations.

AM: We love your wide range of subjects. Can you tell us a bit about your process for conceptualizing a new piece?
KV: When I do my best work, it feels like I’m just a channeler. My work just flows, and it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it. That’s how effortless it feels.  Sometimes I’ll get an image flash in my mind, and I will have this urge to immediately put it to paper. So, in those cases, I don’t have to think about it too much, and the process and conceptualization time is super quick. I credit these experiences for my wide range of subjects. Then there are other times when I plan out my work. For my Wildlife in Footwear pieces, I really have to think about out what kind of shoes each animal can wear. What is the personality, what is the logistics of the foot and shoe type, how would it fit, and so on. The conceptualization and sketches take the longest, but once I start to paint, I am able to get into a flow.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
KV: I don’t know if I can say the city of Los Angeles plays a huge role in my work. I tend to get overwhelmed with LA. My spirit thrives in a more open and slow paced environment. I’d say the largest role LA plays in my art is through my school. I attend Antioch University, Los Angeles as a Clinical Psychology graduate student, and the people I’ve met there have been so kind, inclusive and authentic. I think that space and those connections have inspired my work. The school is progressive and social justice oriented, which has certainly influenced some of my illustrations. But more than that, Antioch has provided me with this amazing space to really look at myself and challenge the boxes I put myself in. The way I view myself has evolved, and that has undoubtedly influenced my artwork.

AM: What themes do you typically pursue in your work?
KV: The themes I pursue are different depending on what I am creating. My Wildlife in Footwear series started as a form of self-care. I started purely for enjoyment, so my theme was simply animals with shoes. Now I am drawn to themes such as: inclusion, social justice, universal consciousness, spirituality, and all things feminine. So those are the themes I invoke when painting my galaxies, constellations and illustrations.

AM: What music is currently inspiring you?
KV: I’m a huge BØRNS fan. I love the gender ambiguousness of his sound and image. He have a couple songs that have spiritual themes, which I love. I am also a huge fan of The 1975, Tove Lo, Years & Years, and, surprisingly, Willow Smith. She has this new album called Ardipithecus, and it kind of blew my mind.  I was listening to her song 9 when I received the flash of inspiration for my Sisterhood piece. It’s one of my favorite pieces, so thanks Willow!

Kari van den Eikhof is an LA-based illustrator and painter. You can view more of her work and shop her prints at etsy.com/shop/KaringVibes.

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