What other artists do you admire?
Philip Guston comes to mind. His pursuit of genuine expression and following his own path is inspiring. RIP. The works of contemporaries like Geoff McFetridge and Margaret Killgallen (RIP) have been a source of motivation for me continuing to look inward and find my own voice. When we're young we are encouraged, expected even, to imitate the works of those we admire. Somewhere along the way we all have to decide whether we will follow in someone else's footsteps or dare to carve out our own path.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Don't ask why, but find out where. In other words, don't give too much concern for why we're creating but look inward and find where your motivation for making comes from. For me, it's this deep place of being. I am always on the slow and steady build. This is my life's work. It isn't about getting "that one project" or being labeled as "current" or, god forbid, an "influencer" but rather taking it all in stride and keeping focused. Everyday I wake up with the hope that I will keep practicing and improving myself and my work.
What do you do when you need inspiration?
Show up. Sit down. Get to work. Take a break. Take a nap. Take a walk. Don't do anything. Do everything.
Why did you want to work with Better Booch?
The taste. The design. Attention to detail. These were the first impressions I had when I picked up my first can of Better Booch off the shelf. I knew something was different here. And I'm so glad I found y'all. Also so happy that you all said yes when I reached out.
How did you first become interested in art?
The uncertainty of who I was in my youth led me to spend more time drawing and less time paying attention in school. I've been on my path since I was five. Many years walking in circles, many not doing anything, and many years doing what wasn't creative at all. I spent 4 years in active-duty Air Force and that time really forced me into some uncomfortable situations. Through it all though I have tried to stay open and open to learning from every experience life throws me. Life imitates art they say, and I believe this is more true than ever. My art has evolved alongside my evolution as human being.
Tell us about the approach you took when designing the can?
Fun. Playful. Meditative. It was actually 35,000 ft. above the earth when this design came off. Sitting there, in seat 12A, glued to my seat for the next 2 hours I opened my iPad. The path I choose in my design isn't one of predetermined plans or drawings. The colors, shapes, movement all happen in the moment. Taking in the landscape around me helps guide my hands. The curves and intersections are about every place I’ve been, and about the place I come home to everyday. It pays respect to the natural world that I love exploring, as well as my practice of cultivating love and awareness on the inside.
Who along the way was/is critical to your success?
So many people to name here. The list is long. And some are not with us any longer. And yet, I am here sitting writing this down. I am proud of showing up for myself everyday in my work. Continuing to challenge and push myself. I have been lucky in both love and vocation. My mentor, Kirk Whalum, has been a source of great inspiration for me as a man of great talent and integrity in his work and home life. My wife, Amanda, has been nothing but love and support for me. She holds me down. My dear friend, Jillian Johnson RIP, was and still is a source of strength for me when I start to feel overwhelmed. From beyond this life, the way she lived and created is a constant reminder for me on how to embrace the unknown with open arms.
What are you excited to be working on this year? Share with us where we can follow along! (IG handle, website, etc.)
New mural projects for lululemon are in the works. Fine art that is seeking to open up my heart and have fun. You can keep up with all my shenanigans on Insta @kylesteed and on my website http://kylesteed.com