We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Lowe-Rebel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsten, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I’m not sure if I’d suggest this for everyone, but at this junction (after 7 years as a Pittsburgh based business) a literal separation of the two has open my mind immensely! I have hired on a studio manager to run my day to day operations back home and will return once a quarter for my most important in-person shows and book appointments, but mostly to keep up with family and friends. I moved to the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA in July 2021 with my partner which has allowed me some serious freedom to think differently, create a work/life balance as I’m limited to what I can do here with inventory etc and my drawing desk is wide open, which is a very exciting thing! I’ve been encouraged to put more boundaries in place since Covid and saying no to things leaves more time to think bigger picture. For me, that took a physical move to see what was possible and to get out of my own way in particular areas as a creative business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I work in pen and ink, a very traditional method but feel my style has a boldness and whimsy that sets it apart. There are no shortage of illustrators drawing architecture in space and time but I have been told that I draw a particular life into my line work and otherwise permanent and motionless structures. I love connecting with a place that I’m drawing, it helps me to make sense of the landscape around me or capture places I’m particularly proud of, like Pittsburgh, or new travels. Place helps to make up who we are and what we love. I also am always considering the format and product line while drawing. I love the originals, but think the work takes on another life when it gets to be used as a towel, pillow – especially a large structure on something small that you can hold, gift and reminisce on. I’m most excited about drawing some of the new textures here in LA, less brick and more NEON.
I built my portfolio one drawing at a time. I love when coupling happens and certain drawings feel like they are partnered with others. I really enjoy drawing family homes, small business store fronts and venues which are great wedding and anniversary gifts.
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.
We would definitely hike Griffith Park. I go to the top of the Observatory every week by foot, bike, and stairs! Moving during Covid has been challenging, but I think I’d be a really good tour guide as an observant person who really likes to eat and appreciates historic buildings! The old theaters on Broadway are the best and my partner and I love the Frolic Room in Hollywood. I’m getting very familiar with Thai Town and K-town for delicious food and happy hours spots like the Prince. I actually started a drawing journal log that I’m calling the bar book which could serve as a nice guide. My first drawing is of the LoveSong bar downtown which is connected to the Regent theater, we’re I’d take my guest to their “Scenerio” event they do every Wednesday. We would go to the Makers Market LA that I’ve now vended at twice (every other Saturday at Nossa on Hillhurst) with a visit to Big Bar at the Alcove after for all the drinks and cake. I like spots like the Silverlake Lounge and Tiki Ti. I’ve mostly been exploring the Eastside if you can tell – but I can’t wait to go to the Baked Potato. The other sketches I’ve done are the Gold Line in Highland Park, Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village, Crane’s downtown (that I found randomly which happened to be a Pittsburgh bar). The world can be so small. To be continued…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Many Many people, but my family was the main reason that I started my business. I wanted to spend time with my Grandparents (who raised me) and didn’t want to be caught working a shift job I couldn’t get out of if something were to happen to them. Though my Grandpa passed away a few years back, I’m grateful for having had several memorable years as he taught me metalworking techniques late into the night in his garage for my jewelry line and other guidance even down to paper filing and organization. He was an engineer who also owned his own company with my Grandma. My Uncle does my textile printing, Artist-Tees in NJ. I am able to produce one offs and small batch runs which don’t crush my manufacturing capital because of him. Uncle Tom and other small manufactures like my coaster producer, Karen are big pieces of my success. I’m also involved with an entrepreneurial group called eforever and two creative business accelerator organizations back in Pittsburgh called Monmade + PG&H that have all helped my growth and confidence over the last few years.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/klorebel/?hl=en @KLoRebel and also @KLo_West for more LA drawings
Mural Pics – Ryan White Drawing Headshot – Brian Volinic