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Host (Anais Alexandre): Hey everybody, it’s Anais Alexandre, welcome back to The Jam Garden.

Now, normally on The Jam Garden we interview local musicians or those involved in the South Florida music scene, but what about everyone else? What about the other creatives that make up the fabric of our cultural scene. Guest (Kazilla): My name is Kazilla, and I am an artist. *Sound Byte: Preamble Coffee Banter Host: Kazilla and I met up at her studio located inside Yo Space, in Little Haiti. There surrounded by her art, her story began to unfold. Where you born in South Florida? No, actually I was born in Longmont, Colorado and when I was 11 we went to New Mexico, and that’s where I grew up. How was it like living in Colorado? Colorado is awesome. I lived umm...I lived in a few different towns. The...the last place I lived was right near Snowmass in Aspen, it was in Aspen Valley, so there’s about 2 hours of sunshine a day and there’s lots of snow and there’s very cool temperatures, and Friday for school we’d go to ski school instead of actual school and go play on the mountain. Really?! Yeah.

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How was ski school? Like how was that set up? What did you do? Ski school? Uh...they’d take you on the bunny trail for the uh..ski bunnies, you’d uh...you know put on your little bunny suit and...which is like this full ski suit and um they’d teach you to-Does it really look like-it doesn’t really look like a bunny. It doesn’t have ears or a little tail but they call it a bunny suit because you’re all puffy and padded (Laughs) but uh...they’d uh take you out on the mountain and teach you to wedge, which looks like a pizza slice, so you could slow yourself down on the mountain, and you learn how to tumble and roll and I guess run away from avalanches if they ever come. So that’s just the education that they teach in Colorado? Like skiing is just part of your everyday life? Part of it, yeah, definitely, I think it’s even more so because um..the area that I lived in, in the Rocky Mountains, there’s very mountainous and there’s ski season 8 months to 9 months of the year, so there’s lots and lots of snow, always. So ski school was kind of....relevant. Living near Aspen, it’s definitely a requirement. (Laughs) And did you like that type of weather? Two hours of sunshine and snow most of the year? Well growing up with it, I didn’t really have anything to base comparison on, but I did enjoy it. I used to make lots of snow forts and snowmen and uh sorta eat icicles for snacks and stuff. (Laughs) It was pretty good. I lived by a river and uh..lots of open pastures and there were wild horses and mountain lions and lots of wildlife and it was really beautiful. So you actually saw mountain lions? I never saw a mountain lion, although there was one that lived in our valley. Were there any horror stories with the mountain lion? No. They don’t really bug people unless you’re threatening them. From childhood were you introduced to the creative arts by a grandmother or anyone? My grandma did do a little bit of art, she would...when I would visit her she’d have a few drawings up around her house....but I did fall in love with and was
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fascinated with illustrations from like books and whatnot. I read a lot of books when I was a kid. Like what books? Ummm...one of my favorites which is like..it’s not a really well known book, it’s called Kiyomi. It was about this deer and um and like a giant dragon lizard. And they’re both very beautiful and both of them are very egotistical and whatnot. And they’re like both like, “I’m so beautiful,” yadda yadda. and it was really well drawn. And one day they go up to this lake, and they’re like, “Im more beautiful than the other,” and the other one goes, “I’m more beautiful than you,” and they look into the lake to see their reflection and both of them are like, “Oh, I don’t see my reflection, I only see this little mouse looking into the lake,” and the mouse is so humble and so beautiful, that that’s the beauty that they see. So it was a good lesson or whatever, but, the artwork was really amazing and I still have that book, it was my first one. That’s a really deep book for like a child? (Laughs) It was yeah, totally. So you’re basically the only creative person in

your family then? Right.

Wow, so where do you think that comes from? When did you realized this is something that really interests you? You know, in my younger years, I wasn’t....I don’t know...so apt to knowing what I wanted to do. Like what did you do as a child? Oh I know! (Claps loudly) I went to the library, um...on a field trip when I was a kid, and they were talking about different things that you could do, and writers and what not, and they talked about um.. illustrators, and I remember when I was 5 years old I came home and told my mom I wanted to be an illustrator, because that was the coolest profession that I saw.

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When I was in kindergarten I used to draw all the time. I mean everything that I had in front of me I would draw on. And my teacher recognized uh.. what I was working on and it was I guess more advanced than the other 5 year olds, and they skipped me from kindergarten to uh..or from pre-school to kindergarten....was it pre-school or kindergarten, I don’t know. They skipped me a grade because of my art when I was a little kid. So I guess it was apparent when I was pretty small, but I’ve always been into it, and canvased everything with art work that I saw around me so I guess it’s just in my nature. Were you drawing and being creative when you were in Colorado? I was, yes, I was in Colorado until I was in I think 5th grade, and definitely spent a lot of time doing artwork. I mean I did dance too. I did ballet, and jazz dance and modern dance. By your own free will, or did somebody make you do that? No, by my own free will. I love to dance, and I tried to take as many dance classes as I could when I was a kid. And I took gymnastics also. So I continued to dance. So dancing and my art were, what I had in my bag. (Laughs) *Musical Segue This is Trials of the Past, featuring Sampha by SBTRKT (pronounced ‘subtract’) Host: From Colorado, Kazilla moved to New Mexico. And then you went to New Mexico. Then I went to New Mexico. My mom got married to a guy she knew from Colorado and we moved to Santa Fe. I lived in Santa Fe until I was about 20, and then I hit the road, and spent time, you know, under the stars and camping, hitchhiking, backpacking, whatnot. Wow. But New Mexico is amazing. There’s a really uh....prominent art scene there, Canyon Road is the Worlds
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biggest art road other than the street where the Louvre is. So there’s a lot of artists and artistic people and very knowledgeable and open spiritual people too. So it was a very great place to grow up. How was the transition for you, from moving from an ice country almost to (Laughs) from Colorado to New Mexico? From Colorado to New Mexico? Actually it wasn’t that different, um...in Santa Fe it’s like the base of the Rocky Mountains so it’s still in the mountains. Umm... .and it’s not far from the desert, um...so you kind of had a balance between the desert plains and the mountains. So it wasn’t that big of a difference. Um..the biggest difference was uh...you know having to put salsa and chile on everything that I ate. (Laughs) but definitely, I got used to it after a while and now I can’t live without chile peppers or cayenne or green chile. But uh... it was actually a good transition. I like New Mexico a lot. I saw something on your Facebook about, um... I’m gonna get this wrong...metaphysical healing? Or something like that... Uh huh (Laughs) What...what was that? I went to massage school in New Mexico. I did naturopathics, energetics, massage therapy, Chinese medicine, aromatherapy and reflexology. It was a years course. It was the most intensive course that I could find in the states and it was actually in my hometown of Sante Fe. People from all around the world go to that school just because it’s so good. Their program is really good, but I learned a lot through that. A lot of the stuff I learned there I apply to my art. I mean the anatomy and the structure and organic chemistry and the structure of things, is really inspiring to me so I have a lot of that in my art work also.

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Host: Sometimes people need to lose everything in order for them to find what really matters in their life. For Kazilla, the choice to lose everything and leave it all behind came willingly. You said when you were 20, Mm-hmm, You left New Mexico to kind of, just step out on your own, and kind of figure out who you are as a person, and as an artist. Can you tell me about your decision to kind of just move out and find out who you are? Sure, I mean the decision was pretty easy for me. I’d always wanted to spend time on the road, go camping. I love rock climbing and hiking and I spend a lot of time out in the woods and when an opportunity arose for me to just drop everything and hit the road, I jumped at it. I went with my boyfriend at the time, and I gave away everything that I owned. I had a few things that I gave to one of my friends to hold on to and then just had our friend take us out two hours away into the mountains and drop us off in the middle of no where. It was really a great way to start our journey and adventure. *Musical Segue This is Brace Brace by Bonobo Host: Hey guys, welcome back to The Jam Garden. I’m Anais Alexandre, and today we’re talking to local artist Kazilla. With nothing more than a backpack stuffed with 2 outfits, some food and a tarp, Kazilla and her boyfriend at the time, made their way into the mountains. Making their livelihood by doing odd jobs like crocheting hats, and selling their paintings in town, when they weren’t backpacking in the wild countryside. How was it like, really living on your own with just, all of your material possessions on your back, and that’s it? Um...getting around was pretty easy. You can walk anywhere on this earth where there’s not water, and then if you need to find a boat you can find a boat or you can swim. (Laughs) Yeah it just depends on how far you need to go. I mean, if you don’t have a ride then you walk. It’s not really a big deal. Umm...one way or another, but you know, being able to catch a ride in between places you definitely get a lot more ground covered. But, you get used to walking a
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lot. You know I could walk over 20 miles a day in the mountains, and then 35 miles on flat land if I needed throughout the course of a day. I mean you get really good at it after a couple of....for a couple of months. Are there any memories that really stick out to you, like in the woods at night, or during the day something happened? Yeah, one of my favorite places was um...in Ashland, Oregon. We were...kinda staying above this reservoir...umm...by a natural spring above Lithia Park. The springs there are really amazing, you know, there’s a couple different kinds of water that come out of the mountain and....the one spring that fed into a large stream and then, you know, eventually a river, we stayed- we hiked to the mouth of that stream. And it was way up on top of the mountain and we’d hike down into town everyday and then come back up to the mountain. And one day we went back up into the mountain and there’s this little....black bear....chillin by our camp. You know we don’t really have any food out, you know, because it attracts wild animals, and whatnot, but there’s this little black bear, and he’s just chillin at the side of our camp, just looking at us, and we look back at him, and he looks back at us, and he just kinda gives us a nod and then walks away. It was really cool. And then that night, you know, we’re just laying out... there’s not really a lot of bugs there so you can just lay on the ground basically and live under the stars. The night was so clear. We’re on the edge of this cliff on the side of the mountain right above this fresh water stream, you know, with wildlife all around us. And I see this big eagle just fly across over the moon. I’m looking at the stars, I’m thinking this is closest I’ve ever been to God, you know, I feel like I’m just in the middle on an atom right now, and I’m just floating about in the universe. It was the most natural feeling I’ve ever had. It felt really free....it was just beautiful. *Musical Segue This is Holocene by Bon Iver

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You know, and after being on the road for a couple of years, I um....really felt the drive and need to more in leu of my artistic side. I really felt driven to created more, and so I decided to go to school. What drove you to come all the way out East? Like were you just googling it? Did you just find information about the Art Institute here? I actually have parents that live on the other coast of Florida and I came to visit them, and fell in love with the water and the ocean out he re. I always loved the ocean in California so this was like a toss up between going back to California or staying in Florida. And you know I don’t have a lot of family...umm....I’m an only child, so it was kind of nice to be with the family, so being a couple of hours away was nice. So, I decided to stay in Florida for that reason. I love the beach here, I love the ocean, I love snorkeling. It’s a great getaway just a mile away from my house. So what about formal training? Did you have any formal training as an artist? Formal training? Yeah I um...I took a couple art classes at a community college, and then I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, following that a couple years ago, and studied Digital Illustration, which is like computer and media arts. Did a lot of graphic design and whatnot, umm....took a lot of painting classes while I was there. I just started paint a couple years ago, while I was in school, I never really...dabbled in it, and now it’s my main focus is my painting. I still do a lot of illustration but painting is key. I had a couple good teachers at the Art Institute that really inspired me, so it was a really good time. Are there any past dreams or goals that didn’t come to fruition for you? Or that you decided, this is something I’m gonna focus my energy on? I did...I was pretty interested in doing....umm...medical illustration. I...I...I’m fascinated with anatomy, and with the way things work, and with the way they’re put together. And I think the complex form of the human body, is the most interesting thing that I’ve found

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yet....umm...other than the cosmos because...the universe around us is pretty interesting also. But the training you have to go through to get your degree to become a medical illustrator is kinda like going to school to be a doctor...Is it?...You have to have a Bachelor’s in Illustration and Fine Arts, then you have to take another four years in a medical college. And work strictly with cadavers, and....you know other forms of anatomy, so it’s a very intensive program but you know, I might do it in the future. Host: were your always supportive of this lifestyle for you? Or this career path? Pretty much. Umm...you know when I first got out of school, I got a job as a producer and it was a great job. I worked with a lot of great clients like umm...Sesame Street, and Reebok and Audi and all these other things. It was a great job, but umm...there was a really high stress level and I decided that after a couple of years, I wanted to work as a professional artist instead of a producer or a real corporate job. And that was kind of a hard transition, going from making a good amount of money to just nothing at first. (Laughs) So my parents weren’t really...didn’t really understand, I mean they understood enough that I definitely needed a job that was less stressful and more creative....but they’ve always been behind me...being an artist for sure and developing my career from what I create. I noticed geometry plays a really strong role in your art. Can you tell me why that is? The intrinsic value of structures really inspire me. I mean even if we look behind us right now. Can you describe what this piece means to you? Yeah this piece behind me is uh...it’s a piece with some sacred geometry in it. The sacred geometric shapes are Metatron’s Cube. Metatron was suppose to be the messenger between...our creator and our creative side. So the
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symbol is meant to inspire and help you to produce more from within you. You know, trying to reach into your roots and pull out a tree. So the symbology I put on this piece was really personal to my friend Yuval who started this space. You know he really took off with his artistic interests after we had met, and he bought one of my paintings, and we developed a friendship and he’s just a really great guy, and I’ve really enjoyed watching his interests in culminating and curating and promoting the arts so...when I came to the space that he’s built for artists, I wanted to do something that would really enhance um...the nature of the space, so I thought that would be a really good thing. And then, you know, through me being here working on this piece, I really started to enjoy the energy of the space and kept looking at the studios and I was like, “This is gonna be a really good space for me to start off,” so I got a studio here after I finished this piece. So it kinda worked out both ways, cuz it works for him and it works for me, and everyone that comes in here, you know, can kinda pick up on that vibration. Something else I noticed in your art, is you focus on indigenous people...places and things. And I kinda wanted you to tell me where that inspiration comes from also. I definitely had really strong roots with um...Native American cultures and whatnot growing up in New Mexico. I had a lot of Native American friends from different tribes. And you know this whole South Western art is very...um...very centered around indigenous stuff and Native American culture. The time that I spent on the road I think I definitely reached out a lot more to my own roots as far as culture goes. I found a lot more pride in relation to people that live a more simple life. People who live with nature you mean. Right, right exactly. They wake up in the morning and wrap their head around with cloth and strings and metal facets and you know they really have more pride in what they do and what they wear, which I appreciate.

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Can you talk to me about your choice in color palette? I find that most of your art has very bright primary colors and off shoots of that. The best way to describe it is when I see things...when I see the light around me and the color around me I notice the different shades and whatnot and when I go to put it down on paper, I always see the images passing through me like a prism, and the light that shines on me and through me comes out like a rainbow... (Laughs)... most times, which is why my colors are so bright. It’s also inspired by the world around me. I mean right now I’m in Little Haiti so there’s a lot of color in the culture around me for sure. And living in South Florida, in the jungle, the beach, the swamps even, the birds...everything has such bright colors..it definitely influences my color palette. There’s lots of blues like, turquoise and yellow in all of my pieces. I even go through phases where I use different colors a whole year...I had magenta in every single piece. Then the next year I had turquoise in every piece. So I think I go through moods where I just surround myself with a certain color or certain palette. As an artist, do you have to, physically train your mind to be unrestricted? And to not hold back when you’re painting? I think so, definitely. It’s very easy to be structured and to paint a still-life. It’s easy. You know...there’s an apple, there’s a glass, there’s a flower, there’s my painting. But when you do stuff that’s outside of reality, then you definitely have to release the structure and confines of what you see around you and let it be more about emotions or inner vision or your dreams...or the vibrations or energy that you see around you. My work definitely streams from my subconscious, my emotions and the things that I have in me, not the things that are outside of me. I focused on photo-realism for 5 years, so I can make a picture with my hand. I mean I can basically make whatever it is in front of me on paper, but I got kind of bored with it because it was just like taking a picture with my hand. And there wasn’t any
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creativity to it, it was just duplicating what I saw. So, letting go of that sense of realism and reality was a process. Once you let go, it’s almost like letting the flood gates open. *Musical Segue This is In Ear Park by Department of Eagles Host: If you take a look at Kazilla’s artwork, you’ll find the world she paints is a blend of dreams and reality. Something else I noticed about your pieces is whatever the focus is of your art, it kind of bleeds into something else. Um..for example one of your paintings is of a woman whose hair turns into a cherry blossom tree, and I was wondering where that came from to kind of blend...two entirely different things into one image? That...is a good question. Do you just start painting her hair and go, ‘You know this would look really good as a tree..” Well...the one you’re talking about in particular, I really wanted to bring out something special for that piece. It was for a magazine cover and I wanted to pull the creativity out of myself...and think when trying to envision that I saw my thoughts as...like a tree...growing out of me...And so (claps) when I painted, when I was painting I just...that’s what I saw. I hadn’t even started yet and I already saw the tree branches coming out and flowers growing and everything blooming, and then roots growing out of her feet, which I didn’t go that far...but I did have the tree growing out. I do like incorporating a lot of organic elements into my pieces. Since I have such a fondness for nature and all living things...it definitely comes through me... umm..which is why I think it comes out of all of the people that I draw and I paint. There’s just stuff kinda sticking out of their head or their skin, or morphing into something else. You can probably see my thought process on literally everything that I do cuz it just comes out. Are there any other local artists that you admire? There’s a few local artists that I like for you know, personal reasons and professional reasons. I have a lot of good friends in the scene. I really admire my friend Oscar ‘Trek 6’ he’s got a huge hustle, he’s a great street artist, he’s got pieces everywhere, he works as hard as any artist I know. I also like Ruben Ubiera. He also went to the Art Institute. He’s got a beautiful style...I love the way he incorporates 3-d elements with his um...kind of realistic paintings. It makes that balance really nice. I like a lot of graffiti artists too, like my friend Remote, he’s really...really good. And my boyfriend does graffiti, he’s awesome. Um..my friend Tubz, he does great stuff...like the whole FDC Crew, Recal, Junk, Traggic, Grabz, Tubz are all really awesome. And they’re all based in South
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Florida. They’re all based in South Florida. Yeah, I mean I could list like 50 people that I appreciate around town, but I think the people that I appreciate the most are the people that I know personally, just because they’re awesome people as well as being awesome artists. So the last question I want to ask you is...what does art mean to you? (whispers) what does art mean to me? um....Art comes from within and is a reflection of what we see around us and what we see within us. So my art is personally is um..like I said before it’s the light that I see around me..the beautiful energy, vibrations that I fuse into my life my lifestyle and comes out of me in these radiant colors. My art is a spectrum of all the things around me. Art in general is kind of a reflection of the creator. Host: Thanks to Kazilla for talking to us today. If you wanna learn more about Kazilla or check out some of her masterful art pieces, go to Kazilla.biz. The song you’re hearing is called Lamb on the Lam in the City by Band of Horses. Coming up next I’ll play some Nick Drake, Cat Power and Zomby. You’re listening to The Jam Garden on Jolt Radio. Stream On. Host: What’s up guys, this is Anais, and you’ve been listening to my show The Jam Garden. Special Thanks to Kazilla for talking to us today. If you wanna learn more about other local musicians, artists, filmmakers and other creative locals, check out TheJamGarden.com. You can also find The Jam Garden on twitter at twitter dot com forward slash The Jam Garden and on Mixcloud, where you can hear previous podcasts, just go to Mixcloud dot com forward slash The Jam Garden. Thanks guys, you’re tuned into Jolt Radio. Stream On.

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Photography Index

Longmont CO, USA Pics

Ben Canales

Snowmass, MyColoradoLife.com

Audobon Of Florida News

Rosewood Hotels

Destination 360

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