Artist - Koketit
OCCI: Hi Shira! Can you give us a quick introduction to yourself?
KOKETIT: Sure. Hi, im Shira Barzilay but most people recognize me by my brand name: Koketit. It’s the hebrew equivilency to the word coquettish – which means flirty and stylish. Im a digital artist – which means that I use digital media to create – which affects context as well as technique. My weapon of choice is my Ipad Pro and I take it everywhere I go. I've been drawing all my life, and my background is in fashion and illustration. I grew up in Israel, South africa and the US and today I live in Tel Aviv. I'm a vegan, animal lover.
OCCI: Your career path has pivoted from fashion design, to graphic design & illustration, to now being a full time artist. What’s been the most challenging transition + what’s been the most rewarding?
KOKETIT: Through out the years, there were a lot of little realization one can only achieve as life lessons are learned. A lot of AH HA moments as a consequence of experiencing the good and the bad
Becoming an artists depends only on your self proclamation – that you are one, and that's a fact. For a long time – I did not have this confidence. I grew up in a very arty home. My aunt is an artist and I have a huge appreciation to the art world. And so I never thought I was deserving to call myself one. I felt I needed to earn it.
I was interested In fashion. I felt the aesthetic of that world took my capabilities to the most extreme and demanded of me to be the best. I started to discover that this definition of fashion illustrator was limiting me. I looked at my body of work and understood iminvolved with many projects that have nothing to do with fashion, and that the term was limiting. I wanted to free myself of limits and proclaimed myself just as – illustrator. But then I realized, that was limiting me as well. Once I started to sell my art prints on my website and seeing people hang my drawings on their walls, I agreed with myself it's time to finally call myself – "artist"
OCCI: I read that “koketit’ is French for “stylish girl”. Are there other elements of French language or culture that inspire your life/work?
KOKETIT: KOKETIT means stylish but also flirty. I really relate to the notion that life shouldn’t be taken so seriously – and that flirting – not necessarily in a sexual way – but flirting with ideas, flirting with experiences, flirting with life is playful, fun, light but not lacking in depth and strength. Im not necessarily connecting this to a french mentality – but a more universal one – where everyone can tap into this cheerful disposition and live life this way.
OCCI: Your digital canvases span from clothing, architecture, landscapes, etc. If you could cover any physical object in the world with your art, what would it be?
KOKETIT: The more original, the less un-expected surface I can think of – one that will drop jaws to the floor. When I turn a toilet paper into a canvas – the element of randomness is the reason people get excited. Originality and creativity is the air "Koketit" breaths. Without it, it's nothing.
OCCI: What does a typical workday look like for Koketit?
KOKETIT: It's not so glam as it would maybe seem. Koketit is a one woman show. Even though I am represented by Storm Managlemts – I still handle a lot of my own work and so im always answeing emails, working on my computer on my collaborations and securing my live sketch gigs.
OCCI: Your live illustrations are so fun to watch! (you can find them at @koketit.live on ig) Can you tell us more about your plans for this year in regards to live events?
KOKETIT: My live gigs are awesome - I create on-the-spot stylish portraits of guests at business and private high profile functions. It's very hard and demanding so I try not to over book events and only do about 5-7 a month. I am working on something new which involved live animation. Its super exciting but still very fresh and new.
OCCI: What are some activities outside of art that you really enjoy?
KOKETIT: I have a lot of interests: animals, astronomy, music, ASMR, politics (especially USA), pilates, and spirituality. My favorite sport is Ski and im counting the seconds till I'm on some mountain, gliding and sliding down that white fluff. It’s the best feeling in the world. Tel Aviv Is such a happening city – the food, the night life is incredible. I love just chilling with my girlfriends at our favorite spot – "Cicchetti" and drinking a good bottle of wine with amazing food.
OCCI: What’s your favorite compliment to receive about your work?
KOKETIT: To have people tag me on artworks they have created inspired by me – is the best compliment I can get.
OCCI: You have a beautiful line of @koketit temporary tattoo’s available here. Do you have any tattoos yourself? Have you seen any genuine tattoos of your artwork in circulation yet?
KOKETIT: I have no real tattoos. This is the reason I've created a temp tattoo line. I never had the courage to get a real one but always appreciate the aesthetic. I realized that if this would make my dream come true, it would surely make others as well. I have a lot of people tag me in real tattoos they got from my drawings. It moves me, I love it!
OCCI: Where your favorite place to ski:
KOKETIT: Val Thorens!
OCCI: What is Bono’s favorite snack:
KOKETIT: Tennis ball!
OCCI: Most memorable piece of advice you’ve received:
KOKETIT: This too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever.
OCCI: Signing off: What’s next for koketit? Any upcoming events fans can come see your work at?
KOKETIT: I have a lot of fun collaborations up the pipe. Im excited to share them all with my international followers. Stay tuned. Love you!
(Readers of this interview can get 20% any order in store with code “interview” at checkout)