INTERVIEW: KYLIE KNIGHT
Interview: Kylie Knight
Epidemic Collab Artist
Kylie Knight has been a huge inspiration to me over the years. I consider her the forefront of the local art and music scene in the Coachella Valley. I am BEYOND excited to re-introduce you to her with a soon to be released series of decks she has produced for Epidemic. Please take a second to read her interview and visit the links to her other works below.
To purchase the Kylie Knight x Epidemic boards click HERE.
Glen Coy: What’s your relationship to the Coachella Valley? Where could we find you on a Saturday night?
Kylie Knight: I grew up in the Coachella Valley and now I work and live here as an artist. My relationship to the desert is constantly changing and growing based on where I feel I’m needed. I make paintings, flyers, zines, comics, music, and lately I’ve been collaborating with outside promoters to create a bigger influx of bands through our area. I think it’s important to bring and welcome outside talent into the Coachella Valley in order to inspire and ignite our small scene with new interest.
On a Saturday night I’m most likely drinking tall cans with my friends at some show or party. I love going out to see and talk to people, and I get a lot of inspiration through such interactions.
GC: How did art become a part of your life? Any standout influences?
KK: I’ve just never been able to imagine myself doing anything other than art, and it’s all I’ve ever surrounded myself with. I suffer from anxiety and depression as well and art has always been therapeutic to me. When I am creating I feel like I am part of something bigger than myself, it’s a humbling and meditative process which breeds self-acceptance and joy.
My mom is probably my biggest influence. She is the most determined woman I have ever met. Her work ethic, creativity, and willingness and capability to solve any problem thrown at her is the best inspiration I could ever ask for. As far as visual aesthetics are concerned I am inspired by Basquiat, Picasso, Miro, Remed, Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, The Date Farmers, Keith Haring, Willem de Kooning, Dali, Allison Schulnik, Raymond Pettibon, Ralph Steadman, and tons of others I’m probably overlooking. I’m also very inspired by literature. There are certain sentences that I’ve found to be amazing works of art in themselves. Inspiration and influence come in many forms for me.
GC: What’s your background in art? Any formal education?
KK: I’m entirely self-taught.
GC: How would you describe the desert art scene? What keeps it going? Is it healthy?
KK: Currently, the desert art scene is flourishing more than previous years. There’s more bands starting up, more venues, new galleries, more female artists, more doing altogether, it’s refreshing, although I think things would be running a lot more smoothly if there was a legitimate all ages music venue. Almost every show is at a bar, which broadens the gap between the artists and the fans while simultaneously ostracizing a younger generation of creative individuals. This breeds an uneven playing field because of the disconnect. I think the only thing keeping the art scene running is ourselves; the support we choose to show, the events we choose to go to, and the positive feedback we carry to friends and peers. The scene’s health is maintained entirely by what we feed it.
GC: Not only are you a well established member of the local visual arts community, but your band Greasetrap has been making quite a name for itself around the desert. Want to tell us a bit about that?
KK: Greasetrap is a fast, fun punk band which is also a side project to my art, it gives me a chance to have a physical presence with an audience which is difficult to satisfy through my painting. I write the lyrics and get to speak my mind to friends and fans which is very therapeutic. I started Greasetrap hoping to inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and collaborate with others in new ways. When the current line up came together it started out as an experiment and now these guys are my best friends. Basically, Greasetrap is about having fun, being whoever the fuck you want to be, and taking no shit from anyone.
GC: What made you want to do a skateboard graphic with Epidemic?
KK: Because Epidemic fucking rules! Epidemic has continuously proven itself to be a generous supporter of community and local talent and their aesthetic is very relatable to me. I feel as though their message is just as important as their product and that seems so rare to find nowadays.
GC: What’s your favorite place in the valley to watch a show?
KK: Although there are a few bars out here that I could mention, I prefer all ages shows when it comes to performing and watching performances. With that said, there’s a house in Cathedral City which is rapidly becoming well known amongst the hardcore and punk communities. Shows there have been happening steadily for four or five years now and are unparalleled in energy and intensity as far as events go in the Coachella Valley. Dylan Arseo and his family host the bands and audience in their living room which, despite a few damages to the drywall, go over without a hitch. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’d recommend looking into it if that’s your scene. Any house show or backyard show is exciting to me, its a raw portrayal of art which can’t always exist at a bar venue.
GC: Where’s your favorite place to grab a drink in the valley?
KK: I’d have to say my favorite bar would be Club 5 in downtown Indio, it’s a little brick building shaped like a shoebox which is family owned and operated. Their hospitality is overwhelming and they probably make the best chavelas in town. Stay long enough and they’ll start cooking you meals and handing out quarters for the jukebox.