Hustle Chat with Kim Salt
We had a chance to sit down and talk to Kim salt, who is a New-York based illustrator. Keep reading to find out about city dwellers as a source of inspiration, the importance of resiliency, and the influence of Miyazaki films.
LH: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
KS: I’m a freelance illustrator living in New York. Most of my work is editorial, with a few commercial projects. I’ve been illustrating professionally for a little over a year now. I also augment my income with freelance graphic design work, which I’ve been doing since I graduated in 2012 with a degree in communication design.
LH: What is your hustle?
KS: My hustle is making a living by making art, as well as the art itself - trying to get it to a place that I am satisfied with (though in all likelihood, this will probably never happen!).
LH: Where are you from?
KS: I was born in Manhattan, and I grew up on Staten Island.
LH: How would you describe your illustration?
KS: A bit whimsical with an emphasis on organic shapes. When I was younger, my biggest influences were Miyazaki films, a bunch of Disney animation and Don Bluth.
LH: What was your favorite animation when you were little?
KS: I had a few. My Neighbor Totoro, The Land Before Time, Lion King. I was also obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid.
LH: What inspires you now?
KS: Walking around in the city and coming across a sea of different faces and different body types, the way people dress and interact with each other. Even if I just sit in a coffee shop and look out the window, or walk around Prince Street, there are so many different people. Sometimes I’ll try to memorize someone and then draw them later, or I’ll go to a bookstore and flip through a fashion magazine and draw people from there. I really like houseplants a lot - if I can’t think of anything to draw, I draw plants.
LH: There’s a particular illustration I want to ask about, I believe it was a part of a bigger project - it shows a character getting crowned.
KS: It was a zine called Atlanta and the Footrace. I was starting to build a portfolio, and I gave myself this project. I took classic Greek myths and gave it a more modern face. I didn’t necessarily intend it as such, but it became a somewhat feminist narrative without any words.
LH: Do you keep a sketchbook?
KS: Yeah, I actually have them with me. One is a looser one, and one is for the more finished concepts, slightly tighter sketches. Sometimes if I meet people in a bar and I have nothing better to do, I’ll take out a sketchbook and start scribbling. I guess it’s a good conversation starter sometimes.
LH: What are you into? Hobbies, cartoons, books, you name it, anything.
KS: I take a lot of books out from the library. I’ve been trying to get into older artists. There’s this artist called Ivan Earle, he did a lot of the background work for Sleeping Beauty. He has this graphic style, I don’t know how to really define it. Although it can be simplistic, if you zoom out, if you go a little closer there’s a lot of detail, and I find it really impressive. Most of it is nature based without any people, so it’s pretty different from my work.
LH: What comes to mind when hearing the words “lady hustle?”
KS: Women working really hard to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. It’s a pretty broad application, but whatever industry you may be in, women inspiring women.
LH: Do you have a preference for what medium you like to work with?
KS: It depends on my aims for the piece. With the sketching, I am most comfortable drawing with a mechanical pencil. If I want to make something quickly, digital is the way to go. You can also be more precise in how you adjust shapes and scale them against one another. It allows for a pretty good playground.
LH: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
KS: So far, my biggest challenge has been the initial decision to pursue professional illustration, as well as maintaining the belief that I have the ability to do so.
LH: What is something that you've learned in your journey so far?
KS: How important it is to have support! Having people to run ideas past, who also have goals of their own, who are excited about some of the same things I’m excited about, and believe in me even more than I believe in myself has been so helpful in maintaining momentum.
LH: What is advice that you would pass on to fellow lady hustlers?
KS: Be honest with yourself about what you want in life. Set goals. Have resiliency, but try not to be overly hard on yourself. Sometimes you just need a respite from the world.