An artist that found inspiration in hand-me-down house paint has taken to the small business route. Kally Peterson picked up a paint brush, and from then on her brand, Kith & Whim, has grown to reach multiple industries. Her wearable art to commission pieces are being recognized all over the United States.
Peterson is from Fruitdale, South Dakota. Her work has been shown in South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, and more to come. Coffee shops are a huge fan. A couple shops that have featured her work are Open Bell Coffee Shop in Dallas, TX, Foolish Things Coffee Shop in Tulsa, Cotton Wood Bistro in South Dakota, and Stella Collective in Nebraska.
In my interview with Peterson, she explains her artistic process, her history, and a peak into Kith & Whim’s future:
1) How old were you when you first started your art? What was your original inspiration?
Since I can remember, art has been a part of my expression and life coping; Drawing on notebooks, painting old blinds, anything you can think of! My mom always incorporated art growing up and my great-grandma, Vilora, did the same with my mom. I guess, in some ways, it is a family thing.
2) Are you inspired by a specific art period?
No. I actually did not go to school for art, nor have I studied it much. Many of my pieces are simply a self-expression. I suppose what you see is a little expression of my soul unbiased from studied techniques.
3) Why did you want to combine art and fashion?
Well, let me start with the obvious answer: I love the art of fashion so mixing that with my paintings seemed like a no brainer for me.
It is standard for artists to offer prints (typically on paper) of original artwork. [However,] putting my “prints” on clothing…that offers a whole new niche of fashion expression. The prints on clothing have been received well at art shows because it is not something that many artists offer. [It is] perfect if you don’t have any wall space; you can just wear it!
The one struggle I am facing is that my personal style is repurposed, thrifted, and eclectic. [I am] trying to find a way to mesh those two. [I am] hoping to release some one-of-a-kind, repurposed/thrifted line with patchworks of my paintings on it to incorporate more of my personal style into each piece!
4) Why are animals your main subject?
Because everyone has a spirit animal; some animal that speaks to them or represents their school or their personality. Animals are really such an open and non-controversial subject that I feel as though anyone can walk up to my work and be able to connect unbiased.
5) What are some of your favorite moments in your artistic career?
Aside from the friends made while hanging my art or doing art shows, I would say finally getting serious enough to create a business and website is an obvious one. Early on, it was finding my style. When I transitioned from doing it as a hobby to having companies buy multiple paintings, a town purchase an image for a their city run shirt, or being paid to do a mural was surreal.
The momentum of it all has been moving fast, and it has been a wonderful whirlwind.
6) Was this something you always saw yourself doing?
I am quite indecisive and bounce back and forth so many times about what I see myself doing. Art, more specifically painting, was something that was always a part of me. It would only make sense that I grow into art as a business.
7) Do you have any personal tips, tricks, or practices when creating?
Do less. In the beginning I found myself trying to be too rigid, too perfect in my painting. The more I let go, the more my work got better! The mixing of paints, eclectic stippling and globs of paint that get dripped on the paintings really give them personality.
If I get in an artistic bind I go on walks!
8) How did you get into art?
I don’t suppose my mom giving me crayons is a solid answer?
Really though- no school, no art club, no art study. What you see on canvas and clothes is a simple trial and error to better my skillset and expression.
9) Does your brand reflect your personal style?
Absolutely. My paintings are a small glimpse into me, so subsequently the fashion that follows is absolutely part of my personal style!
10) If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?
11) What is your brand message?
Just like I learned with my painting style, do less and sometimes it is more! I think we try to hit home with part of our name, Kith & Whim. Whim as in whimsical. You can see it in the paintings, but really it is to remember the whimsical side in all aspects of life!
12) What was the most interesting commission piece you have been asked to do?
I was once asked to paint this couples spirit animals to hang over their bed. One was a lion. The other was an octopus. So that was fun! I am finding myself starting to really enjoy the back stories behind the commission pieces that I do for people.
13) Fun facts!
-All paintings are painted using gifted house paint from family and friends. Acrylic to offer the bright colors you see. And sharpie!
-Many of the animals you see have been painted multiple times over until I get it just right!
-Kith & Whim is looking at manufacturing our own clothing, creating makeup bags with our prints, and maybe featuring other artists so be on the lookout!
Looking at Kith & Whim’s Instagram page, I instantly saw the organic lifestyle that Kally embodies through her work. All of her posts are filled with women enjoying the present moment. This was the emotion that inspired me to create looks with her garments that can go from West to East Coast.
The look with the Buffalo Cropped Sweatshirt is very L.A. or festival. It’s laid back, comfy, and you get great movement in the clothing. I always feel more grounded and connected with my surroundings in something that allows my body to move freely.
Fish have always been a creature of mystery, edge, and beauty to me. This Fish Shirt was the product that pulled me into Kith & Whim. Pulling the New York staple, a leather jacket, and some wide leg, minimalist pants together with the color and detail of the shirt gave the ensemble a little life. It is still professional and suitable for a street style photographer’s camera, but it is not completely sterile. The pom-pom earring with each look give the utmost personality.
Shop all products that were in this post with this link.
Thank you Kally Peterson for this lovely collaboration!