We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiran Joan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kiran, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?

I was born in Muscat, Oman and then moved to a coastal city in India, Mangalore. Since it’s a small city, there weren’t a lot of opportunities in illustration apart from traditional art classes. I was surrounded by lush greenery growing up. There were always fruit, vegetable trees and coconut trees (!!) growing outside our home. This gave me a strong feeling of abundance and community. I like to channel this energy of abundance in my work as well to manifest more of it in my life and give back to my community. It was also great to have parents who encouraged me to do what I enjoyed the most. I wasn’t forced into a cookie cutter profession.
I would also consume a lot of art history and was inspired by the surrealist movement and big feminist ideas. Graphic novels were also a huge part of my journey of learning storytelling. Some books I enjoyed were Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Alan Moore’s Lost Girls and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.

Creative Alliance is a Baltimore-based community organization that hosts theater and music events for locals. I worked with them recently and their internal organization is so dedicated to supporting the community that they deserve a lot of credit and recognition!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My story isn’t as linear. I didn’t know I would become an illustrator! My journey has been more explorative – I pursued sculpture and then worked as a designer. During my time as a designer, I realized I wanted to pursue illustration professionally. This led me to study my master’s in the Illustration Practice program at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. A huge challenge was figuring out my voice and how I can use that voice to communicate other stories. A fun project I worked on recently was animated stories narrated by religious people who explored their sexuality growing up. It has been recognized by ADC Young Ones and 3×3 Mag!

I have also been exploring ceramics and have a page dedicated to it called @studiomediumspicy

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.
Patterson park and Druid Hill park are the sweetest places to visit! After that I’d invite them over to mine for a warm cup of chai.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Creative Alliance 🙂

Website: https://kiranjoan.com

Instagram: @kiran.joan

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