We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayleigh Efird and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayleigh, what makes you happy? Why?
Being an artist makes me the happy! Having a creative practice motivates me spiritually and makes me feel accomplished. I have a sense of reassurance after I finish a project because I’ve contributed to the tradition of making. I often remember Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to young people: “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get any money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a multidisciplinary artist with a dual background in fibers and illustration. I currently work as an illustrator for Astound US Inc. and I just finished illustrating my first young adult novel! I received my BFA in 2020 from the Maryland Institute College of Art and I’ve since worked in multiple capacities for both the fashion and illustration industries.
Being a 2020 graduate had its fair share of challenges. I was discouraged to not only have to complete my degree remotely but also reorient my entire studio practice into a digital space. Despite this, I remained devoted to my work and eventually was able to ground myself in my creative practice again. I learned a lot about my own creative philosophies working through the pandemic. I discovered how I want to make and distribute my work, where I need my work to exist, and how I want it to reach others.
I would like people to know that makers are everywhere. We are here and your attention and patronage means the world to us. Shop small where you can, spread the word, and reach out to creators you know and admire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
London, England is one of my favorite places in the world! My partner lives there so I try and visit as often as I can. We have a little routine when I visit that involves checking out all of our best haunts. We love to meet up with friends for a film viewing at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. Afterwards, we go celebrate at a small bar called Garlic and Shots (which is a riot to visit if you are an 80’s hair metal fan). Another place I love to visit is the Wallace Collection. It’s the perfect art museum to visit all of your Renaissance and Baroque favorites. I also like to book an evening at Wigmore Hall to enjoy London’s circulating orchestral recitals. The last tradition I like to conclude my trip with is to ride a bike through central London and end the journey at the Viaduct Tavern for “toasties with ghosties”. Nothing beats a haunted tavern!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to elevate the platforms of four amazing creatives that I know and routinely collaborate with. This group of artists are dedicated not only to their own craft but to the communities they live in. I could not be more honored to know and work alongside them.
Eden Manresa: Owner of Eden the Label, a wearables brand that specializes in sustainable accessories and collaboration between makers.
Katherine Shark: A fashion scholar and designer working to create her own aesthetic manifesto and re-evaluate the histories surrounding beauty rituals.
Abigail Bloom & Laura Huie: Owners of Bloom and Huie, a social media marketing and screenwriting duo. Their work focuses on disrupting hegemonic screen narratives and centering intersectional womanhood.
Photography Credits: Quinn Marvin Ais Lopez-Gochez Model Credits: Moses Jeune Joe Miller Kaylani Brown