Kilo Kish, Blanda and Silke Labson On Their New Must-See Exhibition
Where were you this Saturday? We were at KNOWN Gallery, celebrating the opening of I / YOU / HE / SHE / IT / WE /THEY. If you missed it, not to worry—the show, featuring work by self-proclaimed female alliance, Silke Labson, Blanda and Kilo Kish is open through March 18. The three artists work in different mediums, yet clearly see eye-to-eye in terms of aesthetic and philosophy—afterwards, we caught up with the girls to chat about some of their inspirations, challenges of installing, and the music that keeps them going.
How did you guys come to choosing the KNOWN space for this exhibit?
SILKE: This is one great and recognized space that I have been to multiple times and have always had a great time! It’s also centrally located and I’m friends with the staff—which made the opportunity for all of us to have our first show here much more accessible.
It’s interesting that you guys all work in different mediums—did you plan the show like this? Have you worked together in the past? How did each person’s work inform the other?
KISH: Silke and I have worked together with some of the same brands and as a result, she has shot a lot of photos of me. Blanda and I know each other from New York. I jumped at the opportunity of collaborating with them in a new artistic way. The three of us are very different artists, but through our individual work we bring a unique but harmonious perspective to the show.
BLANDA: We are all showing work through mediums that are closely related to our respective professions. What’s great about this particular mix is that the work is all very different yet it fuses well together and really reflects the three of us as individuals!
SILKE: The show was put on super last minute! We had 4 weeks total to complete work and put it all together. So, nothing was planned, we just made everything work. I had photographed Kish for her latest album cover and have also shot Blanda for press and for Vans, but we had never combined our work before or collaborated our works. Our work had something in common—it was about capturing people and emotions. We really did our own thing and stayed true to our work while maintaining the underlining theme that was already there without any prior planning.
Who are some other artists you guys are influenced by?
K: I love Egon Schiele and conceptual artists like John Baldessari and Sol Lewitt.
B: The list is long, but I’m reading Lucian Freud’s biography right now, I’m a big fan of his paintings. On a more contemporary note, I recently discovered Winston Chmielinski’s work, which is absolutely stunning!
S: I’m really influenced by the people I interact with and their experiences and personalities that I like to follow and capture. Some artists that I like right know are Parra (Piet Parra) and Jen Stark.
What was the hardest part of putting this show together?
K: We had a pretty big time crunch because we were all so busy working on other projects simultaneously.
B: Making the work for the show is one thing but in this case we were in charge of producing absolutely everything. It took a lot of organizing and logistics to tie it all together.
S: Money. If I was able pay people to do a ton of the physical labor that was needed and little things like scanning film (this literally takes days!) then I think it would be a bit easier. Outside of that it was just making phone calls and coordinating everything. I knew I had the body of work together it was just all of the technical stuff and finding ways to stay cost efficient that I found most challenging.
What was your original goal for this exhibition, and how has that changed (if at all) while putting the show together?
K: My goal was just to take time for myself and to make visual art, which is part of my background and another creative medium I enjoy. Especially, as music has been much of my main focus in the last couple of years—so far I’m happy with the outcome!
B: It was an incredible opportunity to collaborate on this project and support each other in our individual visual expressions. The collective body of work is diverse and alive and the fact that we pulled this together holds meaning in itself. We are all females in different creative fields and we’re able to make something amazing happen within a very short time frame. The message here is—if it’s possible in your head it is possible in reality!
S: The goal for me personally was to do something I had never done before, a gallery show. To put myself out there to strangers, friends, fans, etc., and show a body of work that was strictly my own on my favorite format—film photography. It’s super scary to do and takes a lot of effort and dedication to really put it together. Even though the things kept going wrong—I was literally getting photos printed 30 minutes before the show opened—it all worked out! I made it work and I showed my photos to a ton of people I knew and just met for the first time.
What music did you guys listen to while making the work and/or installing the show?
K: I had to sit at home and attach over 30,000 pom-poms while working on my doll sculpture! Let’s just say I completed three audiobooks and the third season of “House of Cards”!
B: My Spotify playlists from this year…and Stevie Wonder all day yesterday.
S: I was always shooting around outside so never really had music playing. While installing, I think we listened to rap the whole time. To wake myself up when I had to run around for the show I was listening to Jeremih. I have never listened to him but Spotify told me to. Oh, and I listened to Jake Bugg. He’s rad!
All photos courtesy of Stephen Paul