<3 Love Kareena

An Interview with Kareena Zerefos
J: Hey Kareena, congratulations on last night’s MTV Solo show. You have been running around doing so many shows lately, I have personally lost track with how many you were involved in. One thing is for sure each show that I have seen of your featured works is frequently packed with people. Can you tell us about how your illustration career begins?

KZ: Thank you. I have been involved in a lot of shows already this year – grrrls, curvy, cause we can, kids today and at the moment my solo show… it’s definitely been busy!

As for where it all began, well, basically before I can remember – I’ve been drawing forever… but it wasn’t until after I finished doing design at CoFA that I realised that I’d much prefer to move into illustration rather than designing.

It took me a few years of working as a graphic designer and moonlighting as an illustrator to make it happen though and it wasn’t until a few months ago that I left my stable, well paid and reasonably fun design job, to become a potentially ‘starving artist’ working in my lounge room. it has turned out to be a good decision so far, working on great projects with clients including mambo, sewn, sparkadia and jeremyville.

J: Your illustrations are really nostalgic to me, they all have an intimate child like quality to them either in the characters’ personality detailing or in the setting of the piece. Have you always had this style with your work?

KZ: There has been a sense of nostalgia coming through in my work for a while now, but my style has evolved quite a lot in the last year as I have been using different materials and mediums to what I started out with. Recently I’ve also been illustrating on pianola scrolls, I like to think of the boxes as little memory cases in a way, which I guess has taken the nostalgic thing a little further.

J: What are your some of your inspirations to your drawings?

KZ: Visually, old photos and film that I’ve collected, and other bits and pieces around my lounge room – like vintage children’s books and my collection of delicate, colourful tea sets. Conceptually, I’m inspired by the desire to escape and live in a dreamland. I look at childhood to reflect this – a time of no responsibilities or fears, innocence and endless imagination.

J: What do you love most about what you do?

Not having to get dressed in the morning and being able to sit in my lounge room drawing all day!

J: Do you have any artists or personalities that you look up to for your own ideas and work?

At the moment I love Carson Ellis’ work, for the colours and fine details. I always look to Egon Schiele and Sara Moon too, I’m quite inspired by their use of white space.

J: What gets you through the day?

Green tea. Mix tapes with iron and wine, the church, sebastien tellier, flock of seagulls and sigur ros. The photocopier. Chocolate coated liquorice. 1 pm yoga. Ebay. A lounge room with endless distractions… and spoonfuls of milo.

J: How do you normally work on your shows, where does it all begin?

It all begins with lots of drawing. Then I stick them to my walls with masking tape and decide which ones I should finish to show.

J: Any tips for other aspiring illustrative gurus?

Its going to sound clichéd but I think the most important thing is to stop talking about what you’re going to do and just start.

J: Last words, what do you think the future holds for Kareena?

More drawings. A solo show in Melbourne… and hopefully, Christmas in Scandinavia.

Thank you Kareena!
*All images from http://www.kareenazerefos.com/

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