We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaley Hickman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaley, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Creativity naturally fell into my life, as my Dad was an illustrator, graphic designer, carpenter, musician and much more. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an open minded household that nurtured my curious and creative nature, I think that really guided me to pursue a career as an illustrator. I have also always been a sensitive person, like many other artists, and we get bored very easily. So the idea to create new exciting projects and collaborate with other visionaries while making a living sounds great!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My illustration features feminism, retro style, mysticism and vulnerability. I also really love animals, especially horses. They are so majestic. I believe all of our stories are unique, it is just trusting yourself and taking the risk to let out the real you. That is something I have to work on everyday, and I am still growing, but pretty proud of how far I have come.
I got here by trusting myself and the process. I am a firm believer in hard work and time produce results! It is never easy and I think having a good support system, determination and being a little naive is key.
I have learned to not be ashamed of what makes you special. Embrace and lean into what sets you apart, whatever that may be. I have always been really into fantasy books, sci fi and horror movies, learning about new animals and people. I have come full circle, the things I was into as a child are the same subjects that reoccur in my work.
Making illustrations for books, magazines music and other forms of communication makes me feel like I am able to connect with the human experience. I love hearing stories, as a kid, books were a huge deal to me, and seeing the pictures along with the story was just another level of imagination for me. I hope I can provide the same experience for others that I had while growing up.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely the beach, specifically a little restaurant off the 1 highway called Paradise Cove where you can eat and drink on the beach. I have gone there since I was a kid and it is still what I think is the perfect example of a Southern California Beach. Nothing like a fish taco and beer on the beach.
Also, I really love Disneyland and Universal Studios. They are so fun and also visually inspiring as an artist. I always admire all the details that go into rides.
As far as food, we have some of the best Mexican Restaurants in the country. Salsa & Beer and Casa Vega are my 2 favorite though, specifically Casa Vega’s mole sauce.
Last, a new place I love to go walking is the Hollywood Reservoir. I have no idea why I never knew about this place! It is a nice long walk with a beautiful view and honestly every time I see the Hollywood Sign I get excited! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Teen Liu from ArtCenter Saturday High Program back in 2005! It was so long ago, I am not even sure if she would remember me, but it was my first figure painting class and it felt like she opened the world up for me. She was the first art teacher I had that I felt I could relate to and did not make me feel weird about my love for drawing naked people!