Makers for Makers: Antlers + Honey (Now Kira Gulley Art)
Kira's intricately detailed illustrations inspired by nature are soul-softening-ly beautiful. You might be wondering what that means (since I've just made that word up)—you know that feeling you get when all the stress releases from your body? You feel soft, free, and able to breathe. Light. That's what I mean. Now back to what we should really be talking about here—When I look through her work that she creates through her company Antlers + Honey, my eyes and heart feel at ease. They're simple yet full of something special—something unique comes pouring out of her passionate soul into each one. I discovered Kira's work some time ago (and even won a little Instagram contest to get one of her temporary tattoos! I'm saving it for one of our summer trips. It deserved a special occasion.) and I am so every glad I did. Not only is her work beautiful, but she's a great person to connect with and have on your side. I love following her journey and seeing where she treks out into nature to pull her inspiration from. She recently took a trip to Big Sur (instant swoon) which she laces the imagery from throughout this interview so I encourage you to read on as I know hand it over to her...
TELL US ABOUT ANTLERS + HONEY.
Antlers+Honey is a gathering of botanical artworks from a SoCal native with an ever growing wanderlust. It is a collection of delicate details from several adventures on the trails. Each botanical explores a moment of standing next to the tall lush trees, swimming in turquoise blue lagoons, and wandering around the golden deserts. Every water colored paint stroke is meant to capture the organic nature of plant life. Keeping a minimalistic approach with shape, form, and color to unify the flora and bring a peace to the artwork. The works are journaled keepsakes to bring a little of the clam, connected, and rejuvenating feeling of the outdoors into the everyday life.
WHAT MADE YOU REALIZE YOU NEEDED TO BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY?
I have always known that I wanted to have a creative career. Finding which one would be best for me was a series of trial and error though. I have tried being a graphic designer, running my own artist zine, working in children's photography, and teaching children art. Through all this I eventually realized that I needed to create for myself, not be creative for someone else.
It wasn't until I went on my first real trip to the great outdoors that I felt I had found my calling. My husband (then boyfriend) planned a trip for us to visit Yosemite National Park. I remember the moment we rounded the corner through Tunnel View like it was yesterday. Towering granite mountains, lush green sequoias, and raging rainbow waterfalls filled my view. Yosemite completely took my breath away and stole my heart in one blink of an eye. It was here that I fell wildly in love with the outdoors and needed to collide its beauty with my art immediately. Before this trip I didn't have any defining artistic style. But after this trip I left understanding what it meant to find your passion in art. I knew then that all I wanted to do was capture the magical detail that surrounded my experiences. There was this feeling of completeness where I just knew I found my voice as an artist.
Deciding to start the A+H journey wasn't an easy choice at first. In fact, it was one of the scariest choices I've ever made. The thought of sharing what I created seemed daunting to say the least. But in the end I decided that I'd rather fail at something I loved then to fail at something that made me miserable, so why not try! And so a I opened my shop and started an Instagram to jump in with both feet. Although it's been a bumpy ride, it's a choice I would make one hundred times over again.
WHAT ARE THE CORE BELIEFS BEHIND YOUR ART?
Clean, minimal, modern, and earthy are words that I hold dear to my heart each time a create a new piece. I take pride in my inspirations stemming from my travels with my husband. It pushes me to find the beauty in the little things and to try to express that so others too can sense that same beauty I find outdoors.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE WHEN STARTING OUT?
Confidence. It can be really intimidating starting out and trying to run with the bulls of the creative world. I found myself in a puddle of self doubt as I constantly compared my art to others who maybe had a more realistic style or a large following. When you let yourself into that negative headspace it can really pull you down. I had to change my perspective and choose to enjoy the ride. I learned to be inspired by those who are further along in their career and to lean on the outstanding support of other makers for encouragement to keep doing what I love.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MAKERS YOU ADMIRED THAT HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
How long can this list be?! There are so many girls that shock and awe me with their talent. Several of which constantly surprise and inspire me to keep creating. But to name a few;
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY AS A MAKER LOOK LIKE?
There definitely isn't one specific type of typical day for me. My to-do lists often vary from day to week with the various growing amounts of new projects I embark on. Each project is often unique and requires different tasks for me to fulfill them. Plus working from home allows me to set my own schedule as far as my artist time and my personal time. So often there is no recurring structure to my work day.
However there are a few routines I keep to bring some form of normality to my schedule. Every morning I start with a cup of hot tea and work through my emails and updating my social media. I also plan for daily walks and at least a dedicated hour to my yoga practice. Finally I try to break down my never ending to do list into attainable goals to finish each day. Other then that I try to ebb and flow to whatever my current projects may be.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MAKER?
I love that I am able to connect with so many people through my art and my travels. It's been such a humble experience being able to share my growth as an artist in front of so many and to receive such positive interacting. Deciding to pursue art has opened up so many unexpected doors and relationships that is something I will forever be grateful for.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKERS JUST STARTING OUT?
The best advice I could give is to not give up when things are not going so perfect. I find it's easy to feel like you are on a roll when everything's going good for you. But the real challenges arise when you are in a slump and what you choose to do about it. If doing something creative is what you want then put the hard work in one hundred percent of the time and do not expect things to happen on their own. You are in control of your own success, so set yourself up to thrive in the good times and the hard times. Find a good support system in your friends, family, and in the several amazing maker communities online. Learn to do your homework and don't be afraid to ask for help. If you can learn to stay positive and motivated through the many ups and downs in your journey, then you'll be sure to be happy and successful in your business.