September 14, 2015
It was months ago now when I was collabing with Donald Robertson for Bergdorfs that I came across one of Autumn Kimball's colorful drawings on Instagram. She'd sketched me and there was just something so real in what she'd created. She's tried her hand at everyone from Vogue's Grace Coddington to Mary-Kate and Ashley for WWD and her unique technique digitally layers her hand-drawings such that we can't stop looking at them on her insta account (and neither can Leandra Medine, who's taken notice and enlisted Autumn to illustrate some Man Repeller posts, too). I asked Autumn about her background in design, her process and what's next - and she created a crazy cute video just for me. x cv Q: Describe your experience in fashion and design. A: I have been a Fashion Designer professionally for 15 years. My first job in NYC was for Calvin Klein, LLC. Since then I have worked and consulted as a Creative Director for numerous international brands. Q: How did that experience translate into illustrating? A: In College, I studied to be a fine art painter. I always sewed clothing and designed gowns through college to fund my art supplies. When I landed in NYC, I was the spitting image of a starving artist.... lots of art but no money for food. I truly landed my first fashion industry job because after my interview I went home and sketched what I thought should be their next collection. After dropping it off the next day, I got half way down the elevator when my phone rang with the news: I got the job. It was the beginning of a New York dream. Throughout my career in fashion, I have been able to communicate with pattern makers in Vietnam, Korea, and Italy through my ability to draw. Q: How do you think your technique differs from other illustrators? A: Illustration is a career I fell into after trying out Instagram and using it to force myself to do "fast art." My illustrations on instagram are hand-drawn then digitally layered using my phone or ipad. I was the kid drawing quietly in a corner for hours, and as an adult the habit of sketching has never left me. I do Fine art that I don't post, and those techniques and influences always sneak into my illustrations. Q: Living in Colorado, is it hard to be removed from where so many fashion and/or brands are based? A: I have a nomadic spirit and for the past few years have been avoiding settling down. We have lived in NYC, Memphis, Australia, and now at present, Colorado. I still maintain my work base out of NYC and I am expanding into LA. Because of location shoots and how many countries fashion has expanded into, I have always felt you could, and should, live as many places as you can. Q: How does living in CO inspire you? A: I love city life and have loved each city I have lived in. But I have always had a hippie undercurrent that needs the outdoors. We have bought six acres and have the crazy idea of creating a farm. I have begun my first big project of muraling the entire exterior of the rundown ranch house on the property. The exterior, once finished, will be sectioned off, removed and mounted and put up for auction. A portion of the proceeds going to the support of arts in public schools. Q: How does your family inspire you? A: While living in NYC, doing a job I loved, married, and living in our first owned apartment I got pregnant with quadruplet boys. Life ever since has been about navigating a life not many can advise you on. Having my four boys at once created a wave of constant change, and incredible adventure. My creativity has been my lifeline as a mother. There is constant motion at our house and I affectionately call my boys outdoor kids. They find treasures everywhere, climb trees and lay in the field. I borrow their wonder and perspective daily in my work. They are eight years old now and have frequent opinions on my work, and never shy away from letting me know when it is "un-cool." Q: What have been your favorite illustrations to date? A: I think I would say my sketch of Grace Coddington, Yasmin Sewell, backstage at the Orley show, my covers for WWD, and anything I have done of Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller. I’m not sure they are my best work but they have been some of my favorite subjects. Q: Do you seek out things to draw as you did with Clare or do customers and clients come to you? A: As I mentioned earlier I really only reluctantly joined Instagram over a year ago and played with it as a curated art show. I started just sketching ideas: people I saw at shows, things I liked, etc. From that I have become a contributor to manreppeller.com and Lucky magazine, followed by other commissions. Q: What was the inspiration behind deciding to draw Clare? How did you choose that image? A: I decided to draw Clare because she has this wonderful pre-Raphaelite face and calm demeanor, all while helming a fashion empire based on a simple idea of a quality strapless handbag. I still remember when I saw her first bag at a fashion week. A chic young editor was carrying it in a deep periwinkle cowhide with a contrast raspberry exposed zipper. It was brilliant! Blogging was yet at fever pitch but street style photography was peaking and everywhere you looked you saw Clare's bags. It was such a pleasure that she got a kick out of my sketch of her and her collection. Q: What's next? How do you envision building your brand? A: I have two murals in Venice, California I will be finishing this year as well as the Colorado farmhouse mural and auction. All while keeping my job as a Creative consultant and being a mom.