Kazilla: Miami’s Sweetheart Street Artist
By Dawn Dubriel
Kazilla, Miami’s sweetheart street artist, has been “decking the walls” all over southeast Florida, making it a more beautiful place with her pronounced style of street art.
Originally from New Mexico, she moved to Florida and fell in love with the art scene. She especially loves painting live on murals during music performances. Internationally renowned, I first learned of Kazilla through Miami’s esteemed promoter of artists, Renda Writer. Since then, Kazilla’s non-stop hustle has gained her recognition and commissions across the globe, and she is just getting started. Every piece of her art is absolutely wonderful with its vibrant colors, style, and subject matter. Thalo caught up with Kazilla to ask her a few questions, you can also check out the pictures of her latest series: Crystals and Ish.
thalo: After college, what was the defining moment that catapulted your success? Was there a magic moment that set it off?
Kazilla: Locally in Miami, I would say it came after a few years of painting live, for some of the coolest cats in the industry. Nationally, when I started laying walls down and touring. On an international level, I would say my solo showing in Dubai was definitely a springboard for my steez (stylistic credentials).
thalo: When painting your awesome murals, what music do you like as your "creativity vibes" soundtrack?
Kazilla: I am a total audiophile. I need a constant and various array of music to keep my mojo going. When getting into my work, I like hard-hitting, bass heavy, grimy beats. Then, as the work progresses, I get into more melodic and chunky beats with lots of soul, typically hip-hop and old school funk do the trick. As I’m wrapping up, usually more soothing, haunting bass beats with a lot of synth and inspired lyrics bring me to that place. But, throughout the process, I always switch it up - always looking for new songs and producers that get my blood pumping. Check out my soundcloud: kazillathevanillagorilla - you'll see what I mean.
thalo: Where do you get your inspiration for your murals? What inspires you to paint?
Kazilla: Lots of my inspiration comes from the sciences, math, and cultural studies. I constantly fill my life with research and discovery, everything from biology and mineralogy, to sacred geometry and physics. I watch a lot of documentaries on history and nature, plus read on many subjects like philosophy and science fiction. I’m also hugely inspired by the unique ways that each culture embellishes their dress, from indigenous tribes to the lofty styles of royals.
thalo: Besides your murals in Miami, what other works have you done in other locations?
Kazilla: I have walls all over Florida. I’ve made many stops around the country, especially around NY and California. Plus, I have a few places abroad in Costa Rica and Dubai.
thalo: What advice would you give to those artist just starting out?
Kazilla: Do what you love and love what you do. It's not about what anyone else wants or what sells. If you have a passion for what you do, it will show, and you will shine for it. That’s where the appreciation is, in the arts. Social media is a great outlet too. When you are active and working constantly, share it with the world. It’s like starting a fire and watching it spread; it will inspire you and countless others.
thalo: What would you say is your favorite creative work, and what do you love about it?
Kazilla: Recently, my favorite piece I’ve made is called Flower Bomb. It’s edgy, fashion forward, full of patterns and gold embellishments, and tuff as nails.
thalo: What artists do you admire or derive inspiration from?
Kazilla: Ernst Haeckel, Takato Yamamoto, Gustav Klimt, Jean Paul Gaultier, Juan Gatti… to name a few
thalo: Where do you see yourself in seven years from now, regarding your art work?
Kazilla: More sculptural works and 3Dimensional works, a few art books under my belt, leading studio classes, world street art tours every summer, and a line of apparel I can experiment with.
thalo: What is your dream or biggest goal, regarding your art?
Kazilla: I want to teach. It’s always been a passion to share knowledge, but I think as an artist, it’s the only way to grow. I’d also love to start a self-sustaining and green arts community - at first somewhere in the mountains of the southwest, where I used to romp about - then start a bunch of communities every where I travel. I’d like this to be a place for any creative to come and grow in their arts like in a residency program, but also learn how to live in symbiosis with the natural world around us, using permaculture and other tools that enhance the earth and ourselves.
For more information visit Kazilla’s web and social media sites:
All photos courtesy of Kazilla