Currently based in Margate, Kent, Kavel spent eight years living and working in Barcelona. She collects record sleeves and loves flea markets, 60s and 70s Soul music, mid-20th century design and vintage signage. At least a few of these influences crop up in her work which spans fashion, food, maps, editorial and hand drawn typography.
The paper and ephemera that Kavel loves to collect often feeds through into her artwork alongside photos she’s taken, painted textures and, of course, the hand drawn focal points of her compositions. She works on finding interesting and unusual colorways, and combines all these elements in her images.
Kavel’s style is modern, friendly, charming and versatile. She often uses rich colors and, where it suits the brief, introduces a hint of nostalgia.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Kavel: I trained in textile print design, my work was always very illustrative so a natural progression I suppose, I still design a lot of t-shirts. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Kavel: Northbrook college in Worthing. Question: Where are you originally from? Kavel: I was born in Brighton, grew up in North Wales in the shadow of Snowdon, London and then a commune as a teenager in the Buckinghamshire countryside, Milton Keynes of all places and then London, Brighton and Stockholm, I'm a bit of a gypsy! Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Kavel: I am very lucky, I live in Barcelona! My best friends live here and I have always loved the city, I was offered a flat to live in and being a freelance illustrator means I can live almost anywhere with an internet connection. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Kavel: My studio is part of my small gallery. The window looks out onto a sunny Barcelona street! Question: How do you get your ideas? Kavel: Flea markets, music, books. Question: Do you collect anything? Kavel: I collect generic record company sleeves, fabulous design from the 50's and 60's. I have quite a bit of Swedish china from my time living there too. Vintage stationery bits and bobs for work. I try to be minimal but it never lasts long! I photograph old shops, signs, found type, thankfully that hobby doesn't take up any space, it's all digital - oh and silly names from the Internet sp*m, see below. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Kavel: I love soul music, 50s R'nB, Northern Soul, 60's and 70's soul, I have travelled all over Europe to go dancing!
Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. Kavel: I made a book with NoBrow last year, Sp*m Head, it looks great. I created SP*M HEAD; portraits based on the strange and sometimes wonderful names that arrive uninvited in my email inbox every day, trying to sell me designer replica watches and other such nonsense. I was so happy to work with them, they do such lovely things and I love a collaboration, it gets lonely being an illustrator sometimes! Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Kavel: Ohhhh I'd love to do shoe boxes with shoe illustrations, paid in shoes, yeah that would be nice! I would also love to do a recipe book. Question: Who are your art heroes? Kavel: I love outsider art, non design, accidental design if that makes sense, mid century design, Swedish designers like Stig Lindberg. My latest like is a photographer, Joan Colom from Barcelona who captured the seedier side of 50's and 60's life in Spain. Amazing. Question: Who are your musical heroes? Kavel: Soul stars! Question: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into illustration? Kavel: Work hard, put yourself about a bit! Question: If you could live anywhere, where would you go? Kavel: I'm happy here in Barcelona, it's a great city. We'll see, maybe another Spanish city in time. I get itchy feet! Question: If you could travel back in time which period would you visit & why? Kavel: Dickensian London, got to pick a pocket or two. Question: What’s your favourite scene or line from a film? Kavel: A Taste of Honey, "And what is my usual self? My usual self is a very unusual self!"
Selfridges, The Guardian, The Times , Topshop, Time Out, Levi's, Penguin books, Conde Nast TravellerFavourites
: Las Guindas Bar in Barcelona
: Encants Market in Barcelona
: Carson McCullers