It’s been a whirlwind of little events this week. Plusss this weather here in the UK has been crazy! I’ve been designing, reading, working, running and organising some cool thaangs. Everything seems to be in full swing, plus I turn 21 next week! Rad!
I’ve started to read Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which is her autobiography (purchase it here). Now, this book has been on my wish list for a good year and I have only just got around to purchasing it. So far, I cannot recommend this book enough! In case you don’t know who Patti Smith is, she is an Artist, Writer and Performer (she’s an all-round creative) who gained recognition in the 1970’s in the Punk Rock movement. I find myself reading it whenever I can (mostly on trains and buses!), it leaves me feeling extremely passionate and driven to do what I want to do creatively through Keep Real, as well as work hard and get to where I want to be. If you’re feeling a bit of a creative block, read Patti Smith’s memoir. I cannot praise it enough.
Also this week, I’ve been working on some designs for the new collection as well as some pieces for other people. It’s been slow going, as cultivating a theme of mandala inspired works has left me with the laborious task of dotworking large pieces bigger than my head! It’s quite therapeutic creating what I’m creating though. I’ve been trying out varied techniques such as cross-hatching, which so far seems to be working a treat!
Last night I had the privilege of seeing Alkaline Trio and NOFX at the 02 Academy in Leeds. The last time I saw Alkaline Trio, it was 2008 and I was the ripe ol’ age of fourteen. I remember them playing at a festival in Sheffield and hearing ‘Time To Waste’ which blew my tiny little mind. So to see them now at nearly 21- brought back a lot of memories of being that awkward teenager who still wore fake converse and studded belts. NOFX however, were incredible. I did get a little battered in the pit- but I LOVED it. Probably the most fun I’ve had at a gig in a long time.
I’m also organising which events I will be running in to raise money for Rethink Mental Illness. I have to calculate how long it will take me to have the justified amount of physical health, in order to for me to feel comfortable in running. I’m thinking of doing a 5k run, then a 10k run later in the year. Plus I want to do the Three Peaks Challenge next year! It has been fairly hot temperatures lately, but doing a tiny mile run round the woods near my home should be sufficient in the meantime every day.
Hope you are well and as always- Keep Real! x
Hello lovelies! Man it’s been a crazy week. I have just one week left until I move out of Huddersfield to go back home after the University life!
I’ve been working on a real cool commission for a living room piece (pictured). It’s right up my alley with the whole botanical/mandala vibes going on. It’s become more intricate than I initially thought, but I cannot wait to finish it! Soooo many detailllsss!
There’s so much to look forward to, I have my 21st coming up near the beginning of July then I have my graduation! It only hit me yesterday I don’t have much time left. Student life over- now I gotta get ready for new beginnings!
Speaking of new beginnings, I want to congratulate my dear friend Ayshe- who got ENGAGED this week!!! I can’t believe she will be getting married! I wish her all the happiness in the world- it was lovely to hang out and catch up after quite a while ❤
This week has ended up being quite an emotional one for me. It’s a fairly overwhelming experience to finish my degree in Counselling Therapy and move onwards. Looking back into the year with working two jobs, finishing a degree, working on Keep Real amongst other things all at the same time, it’s just unbelievable how far I’ve come personally. I work hard to get by, to follow my passions alongside a degree and two jobs. I have become more resilient and determined to get where I want to be.
There is so much more to explore and do! I cannot wait to share with you more adventures and happenings with Keep Real!
So much love to you all ❤
So it’s official, kimmykeepreal.com! ❤
I’ve been designing away and getting down and dotty (heh) with my artwork. Really focusing on key pieces to bring to the collection, from t-shirts and crop tops to notebooks and accessories. At this stage, its all about the grafting and working on finding the right materials and fit for all you guys and gals. Patience is a virtue at this point, so I wanna be 112% happy with the overall outcome of Keep Real’s first positive goods collection.
Last years collection when I first started Keep Real, was just a tester to figure out what products and designs I could ultimately create (you can have a peek at some existing products that are now on sale here!). In my mindset, I wanted to give back with some of the products, such as giving 10% of each art print sold to Mind, the mental health charity here in the UK. I am still working towards raising money and awareness for mental health. This is so important to the Keep Real brand! Promoting a healthy relationship with yourself and others is key to Keepin’ It Real ❤
As well as designing the new collection, I also got another design by the amazing Niall Shannon tattooed! Bit of a celebration of finishing my degree and working so hard. The moth is a wonderful symbol of the soul and its transforming course. It follows the light, and that is where my journey goes too. I just knew I had to get this! A wonderful end to three years and a new beginning.
I’ve had a crazy week of working, designing and seeing some beautiful people. I’m ready for another wonderful week and I hope you are too. Let’s do this!
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.- Arthur Ashe
So my little cherubs, I’ve officially finished my degree- and how lovely to have been given a First for my dissertation! All that is left, is to graduate in July! Hard work has definitely payed off and I’m ready to start my next journey.
With my business Keep Real, I have now signed all the papers so I am now based in the Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, contracted for a year. A place to do my work and focus on building up KR as a brand of positivity! You can also write to me too which is rad! I have my own little pigeon hole where I get post from folk or notes from my business advisor (you can find the address here on my Facebook page).
Designs are also in full swing and I plan on creating plenty of mood boards and quirky little look books to get an overall theme for the new collection. I’m so excited to start up!
So many ideas ready to get going on with and I really hope you guys enjoy the products as much as I have been designing and cultivating them. It won’t just be garments for guys and girls, but other goods too. I’ll be posting everything on my Instagram, so keep a close eye over the coming months for sneak peeks, design processes and rad snaps!
I also want to say a mahooosive thank you for following my journey of positivity, light and Keep Real. Stay golden lovelies and keep those eyes peeled! ❤
Firstly, Happy Women’s Day folks! It’s lovely to see the achievements of women around the world. If you’d like to take a look at how far we’ve come- click the link here for a timeline all the way back to 1908! Such an inspiring day!
Feeling empowered, I thought to finish off some artwork that has been taking a back seat while I’ve been writing my dissertation. Oh the woes of a final year University student! Alas, if you have a passion- you’re going to do everything you can to get where you want to be. So this Sunday, amongst all my research papers, I have completed some designs.
I’ve started using the Micron Pens (which you can find here on Amazon) which have yet to disappoint me at all! I’d go so far as to say they are the best pens I’ve used. Plus I have the ailment (especially when it comes to sketching and art) of being left-handed. So you get the annoyance of smudging quite a lot, but these pens satisfy my needs. If you’re wanting to start dotwork illustration or need good pens for fine or thick lines- Micron is your best bet.
The reason for finishing some pieces is the fact that I’m designing a new collection for Keep Real (eep!). For a sneak peek, here’s the mandala I’ve just completed. Notice the tiny moths within it! It’s my favourite mandala so far within the collection, I cannot wait to get started on more ideas. I haven’t given away the theme of it, but the mandala is a slight giveaway. But not too much of one!
I would absolutely LOVE some feedback from my followers on it. If you haven’t checked out my Instagram, please do. I post most of my artwork up on there and give little previews!
(P.s, please do not use or copy this image without my permission! It is Copyright Protected!)
Oh yeah, you read right.
Friday afternoon I travelled down to London to attend the Art Exhibition down in Chelsea. I got an oh-so-fancy special guest invitation, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Originally, I was asked if I wanted to show my work down at the Exhibition- however the prices to rent the space for the few days was too expensive at the time. Plus the boyfriend and I had tickets to see Fightstar with Mooseblood on the Friday evening in Brixton.
On my way down, I sat next to a man who I had an solid two hour conversation with- and after two hours I never got his name. I seem to have the ability to make friends with strangers travelling quite often, but his story was a lovely one.
He told me he had travelled to the UK on business from Nigeria. The last time he had travelled over here was in Aberdeen, Scotland. We spoke in deep discussion about work and marriage. The customs over there in Nigeria are different towards marriage. His wedding ceremony last over two days and he had over a thousand guests. 1,000. holy moly! From what we spoke about, a wedding isn’t just about the church and an afterparty- invitations are not even considered important. The whole of his village will turn up, then they will tell their friends and so on and so on. Plus his wife’s village will turn up, and tell all their friends too. He told me how he had to feed all of the people that attended. Imagine the cooking pot!!
We also spoke about work- as I said I worked two part-time jobs, as well studying and running my own business. In Nigeria, unemployment is severely high. This lovely chap told me he worked over 12 hours a day, 5 days a week- and sometimes on weekends. He loved the fact he could travel, but he missed his family. He said he was lucky to even have a job, so working so much was a given. I loved how he spoke of his family and what his view of the British were ‘You are so polite! Yet you are so reserved!’
I gave him directions out of Kings Cross Station to a hotel and he went on his way. No matter where you’re going- just be kind. I could have just sat next to this man for over 2 hours ignoring his story and his existence. This nice chap was thousands of miles away from his family having never been to London before. He worked hard, he stayed positive and did everything to provide for his wife and child. This guy was a pleasure to talk to- so where ever you are man- I wish you all the best!
That night, we travelled to Brixton to see the almighty Fightstar perform at the o2 Academy. I bought the tickets ages ago as Josh’s christmas present. Just incredible, I can’t believe how amazing they were. Plus, I’ve always wanted to see Mooseblood- so wizard!! Had an amazing time at the gig (even though one pint was a fiver, and for a Yorkshire girl- parting with that dolla’ was insane).
In the morning we suited and booted for the Art Exhibition. We’ve never been to Chelsea before, but it’s a beautiful place. As we went in, we got free red wine and walking around the different pieces. There were three Artists I absolutely loved who are Michela Antonello, Hepzibah McLeod and Elena Abessinova. Incredible work, and noticed how Hepzibah McLeod’s work specfically is quite similiar to my own work. It was a lovely afternoon in Chelsea and I really urge you to check out their work!
It has been a wonderful weekend, with last night I attended a Charity Quiz at the Picture House for PAPYRUS– prevention of young suicide. Although my journey from London to Yorkshire prevented me from taking part in the actual quiz, I donated and spent a great time with my friends there! Well done Shaun for putting on a fantastic event!
I hope everyone else enjoyed their weekend and your monday is not too dreary.
Tomorrow marks a crucial day for my dreams with Keep Real. This hobbit will be rolling in business plans, meetings and designs before the eventual stroll up to Mordor to conquer all (defeating evil and opening a really cool Store is my aim).
I’m meeting with a Business Advisor to talk business (ahem, clearly) tomorrow and discover what my first steps are. I’m exploding with ideas I haven’t shared, and only sneaked one post in concluding the initial Store ideas in my blog. For now, that’s how I’m going to keep it- as the ideas and themes I have are long to be made a reality. Plus, I want to do this right and not rush into posting every lil’ detail. Gotta have a bit of mystery surrounding it!
Of course I realise that opening up and running a store successfully will take a few years. Plundering through plans/ permissions/ costs/ premises etc. will take time. But I truly believe that with the determination and mindset I have now to make it come true, nothing really is stopping me at all. Unless my idea sucks of course (which it hopefully doesn’t).
It got me thinking, what drives you? I’ve been so consumed in talking about my dreams, I haven’t asked about yours! So what dreams do you have? What would you love to do? I would LOVE to hear what makes you wonderful folk tick. Please comment if you have any!
Enjoy the rest of your evening ❤
So, as some of you lovely people may know- I run my own small business I set up last year called ‘Keep Real‘. Providing goods and illustration to all who seek a positive place. At the tail end of 2014, I had the delight of being interviewed by an independent magazine website called ‘Sheffield Unchained’ where they stated very accurately, ‘Kimberley decided to combine interests in design, illustration and mental health with the launch of what she terms a ‘positive illustration and goods movement’, which is less about selling objects and more about promoting meaning and positive messages.’
I couldn’t have put it better myself. I want to create a store that people can just hang out at and shop. No rushing in, no rushing out if you don’t want to. You wanna sit and talk to your friends about your day? Do it. You wanna buy a present for a relative, and hang out on the sofas reading a book? Do it.
There aren’t enough places when you’re shopping, to make you feel like you’re welcome to stay as long as it pleases you. ‘If you’re going to stay, you have to buy something’. I don’t want that bullshit for you. Shopping is hard enough, then when you want to rest you feel you have to go to a coffee shop just to sit down and take a time out. So you have to pay extortionate amounts for your Americano, which you didn’t really want in the first place. If you’re gonna hang at Keep Real, just throw your loose change into a jar- where it contributes to raising money to Mental Health Charities. Just don’t abuse the freedom (I’m flattered that you wanna stay from 9am til 5pm but really? really?!)
I have so many ideas with Keep Real, creating a positive environment for all you individuals out there. They’ll be sofas, throws and chairs around, where they’ll be loads of books that you can just pick up and read. Artwork on the walls for sale, clothes, accessories, bags, prints and homeware.
Shopping is hard enough, then when you want to rest you feel you have to go to a coffee shop just to sit down and take a time out. So you have to pay extortionate amounts for your Americano, which you didn’t really want in the first place.
Who knows what the future holds for it, but after I graduate- that’s where I will make my dreams come true (ultimate corny thing to say, right?). ‘Staying True’ and ‘Keeping Real’ are the traditional sayings that prove a foundation for what I really want to create. It will happen, I just can’t wait to see where it takes me and who follows the journey with me.