I am delighted to present the incredible works of Linett Kamala!
Kamala trained at Univerisity of the Arts London, and has been self-taught for much of her career. She is now a lecturer at the former university, teaching BA and MA Performance, design and practice at the Central St Martins campus.
Kamala is currently working on her Recipe for a Happy Mind Project, which involves soundscapes, painting and workshops.
Of experiencing the works, Kamala says: ‘I want the viewer to take their time with the work, reading some aspects and filling in the gaps for sections where the text may become difficult to read.’
Thank you for speaking to me Linett.
Tell me about how you were trained?Formally trained at art college. Foundation course, then 1991 Bachelor of Arts – (Graphic Design) University of the Arts London, United Kingdom and in2018 Advanced Diploma in the Therapeutic and Educational Application of the Arts – IATE, U.K.The rest has been self-taught / experimenting with different materials, such as spray paints.I'm now a lecturer at the my former university teaching on the BA and MA Performance: Design and Practice at the Central Saint Martins campus of University of the Arts London.
What is your artist story? How have you arrived to where you are in your career?Lifelong love of art, especially graffiti/ street art.Started off figurative painter, and over the past few years have focused solely on abstract expressionist text based pieces.I’ve become more interdisciplinary when aspects of expressing my ideas, experimenting with a range of media from VR to sound. I enjoy collaborating with other chilled out artists too.
What was your earliest memory involving art?In nursery school standing at my easel painting something using powder paints.
Tell me about your studio? What are your artist essentials, and what does a normal day working look like for you?My current studio is a residency in Kilburn. It's inspired by a Caribbean kitchen and is filled with colour, plants and artefacts.Boombox - music (essential - I paint whilst playing loud music)Tidy space - I’m an super clean, and can’t create in a messy space.Acrylic paints, oil pastels, water soluble coloured pencils, Posca pensI tend to be most creative at night.
You have described some of your expressive text based artworks ‘freestyle calligraffiti’. Tell me about the inspiration behind these works and what you hope they get across to the viewer?I’ve always love calligraphy since primary school when I was first taught italics with a pen, ink & feather in the 1970s. Then fell in love with graffiti art as a teenager in the 1980s when the scene first came out. Then discovered about 3 years ago a whole group of artists, predominantly male, working in a style called ‘Calligraffiti’. I labelled mine ‘freestyle calligraffiti’ as a nod to the 1980s hip hop culture of my youth and that my work is more freer / looser than most calligraffiti pieces out there.My inspirations include artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Adam Pendleton, Jose Parla, Jenny Holzer’s Truisms and Bisco Smith.I also enjoy working with college, ripping up documents. As a former headteacher who used to have to constant read lengthy documents, very therapeutic!I want the viewer to take their time with the work, reading some aspects and filling in the gaps for sections where the text may become difficult to read.
You have previously developed artworks in response to Olive Morris’s activism, and with a focus on mental health in young people and outreach programmes. You have done so much, involved in the UK school system. What are your great passions for schools and working with young people?Simply doing my best to impart my enthusiasm and love for art, supporting, guiding and providing opportunities for young artists, set the example to them that art is literally life and relates to what’s going on in their lives and the world around them right now. Art is a wonderful means of expression which is essential for your wellbeing.I have dedicated my life to working with young people in the arts & education.
What are some values and beliefs you live your life by?Be kind to animals
How do you stay creative and keep working?I have non-stop ideas, I get excited by new projects, not knowing what they might be or how they will turn out.I use art in a therapeutic way - it is literally my medicine.
What are you working on now? And what would your dream project be?Currently working on:Recipe for a Happy Mind Project which involves soundscapes, paintings and workshopsMy dream is do a huge immersive experience at the Notting Hill Carnival on the street where my sound system is based.
Looking ahead, what do you think could be your biggest challenge?How to continue to deliver community based / outreach creative projects during the era of Covid19
Favourite historical female artist?Louis Mailou Jones
Favourite current practicing female artist?Jenny Holzer
Who should She Curates interview next?One of my art mentees Maya Campbell or Yasmin Melius
Is there anything else you wanted to say?Thank you for taking an interest in my creative practice and take good care of yourself during these wild times!