Meet the Maker: Kim Onyskiw
Kim Onyskiw from Konyskiw is an artist based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire – and she is also part of Team Folksy! In this last edition of our Meet the Maker series for 2020, Kim talks to Tracey from Stitch Galore about her cute, colourful, cartoon-like style of painting, becoming part of the Folksy team, and why her proudest moment was seeing her artwork on the shelves of HMV as the cover of an album by former Bluetones frontman Mark Morriss!
Treat yourself to 15% off all Kim Onyskiw art with code TREATME before Sunday 3 January 2021. Shop Kim Onyskiw on Folksy – https://folksy.com/shops/konyskiw
I love to paint cute animals and colourful landscapes, and generally like to bring a lot of bright colour to walls.Kim Onyskiw
Hello Kim. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do.
Hi, I’m Kim and I’m very excited to be a featured maker! Mostly I paint cute animals and colourful landscapes, and generally like to bring a lot of bright colour to walls.
Your artwork and cartoon animal characters are such fun. What made you start up your business and where do you find your inspiration?
Thanks! It’s always my aim to make people smile with my work. I’ve been creative my whole life and always wanted to be an artist. When I left sixth form I didn’t want to go to university (some professions really require a degree, but I don’t believe art is one of them), so I decided to spend the years I could have been at university trying to sell my art instead, and haven’t given up yet.
A lot of my inspiration comes from nature, and I’ve always had a house full of pets, so watching their antics along with the wildlife that comes into the garden provides me with lots of ideas.
I understand that you have some Ukrainian heritage and I can see that you incorporate elements of folk art in your work. Can you tell us a little bit about this.
My paternal grandparents were born in Ukraine and moved to the UK after the war. I didn’t really pay my Ukrainian heritage much attention when I was growing up, but 10 years ago I visited for the first time and fell in love. The country is full of so much creativity, now I try to go at least once a year and consider it an important break to find inspiration.
A particular favourite of mine are pysanky – the traditional decorated eggs (along with more modern versions). I find these give a great way to combine elements of Ukrainian culture with my cute animals.
I’m inspired by the Ukrainian tradition of pysanky – decorated eggs – and like to imagine what it would be like if these eggs weren’t decorated by hand but were laid by beautiful birds, with the eggs hatching into birds that take on the pattern of their egg.Kim Onyskiw
Where do you create your work and what materials do you use?
I create my work from my home in West Yorkshire. I don’t really have a fancy studio set up. I work from the smallest room in the house and then store all of my work and supplies in the spare room. Although that’s a much bigger and brighter room, I don’t like to work in the same space as the finished paintings because I have a habit of getting paint everywhere when I’m working on the backgrounds. I use acrylic paints so it can be a pain to clean if it splatters on something important.
Can you tell us what your typical working day is like?
My day starts with sorting out any orders for the post office. After that it can vary depending on if I have commissions or an event coming up, where I’ll mostly be focused on painting, or if it’s a quiet period where I might spend more time working on my listings or designing new cards. My days tend to be a little backwards though, I always feel at my most productive and creative at night, so most of my work gets done in the evening and early hours of the morning.
I’ve posting on the forums and the Folksy Clubhouse Facebook Group since I joined Folksy, as I always like to help people out when they have a problem. It seems I must have offered some good advice because earlier this year Folksy asked me to become a member of their Support team!Kim Onyskiw
As well as your own creative business, you’re part of the Folksy team too. Tell us more!
Back in September I received an email completely out of the blue with a job offer! Since joining Folksy a couple of years ago I started posting on the forums and the Folksy Clubhouse Facebook Group, as it’s nice to have people to chat to when you’re working alone, and I always like to help people out when they have a problem and I can think of a possible solution. It seems I must have offered some good advice because when an opening came up at Folksy I was who they thought of, and I’ve now joined the Folksy Support team.
My favourite thing has to be when the lead singer of my favourite band – Mark Morriss from the Bluetones, asked if I’d like to do the artwork for one of his solo albums. I felt very proud when I saw my CD on the shelves of HMV.Kim Onyskiw
Do you have a particularly proud moment relating to your business?
My favourite thing has to be when the lead singer of my favourite band, Mark Morriss from the Bluetones, asked if I’d like to do the artwork for one of his solo albums. Of course, I jumped at the chance. I had to do a bit of research to get all the layouts ready for the printers, as I’d never done anything like that before, but I managed to produce three different versions of the album artwork and an EP cover. I felt very proud when I saw my CD on the shelves of HMV – a big achievement for someone with no musical talent!
Mark Morriss wanted cutesy animals for the front cover of ‘A Flash of Darkness’, with the animals turning a little evil on the back. I managed to produce three different versions of the album artwork and an EP cover. The winter version was used on the front cover of the vinyl album, with alternative autumn and spring versions being used for the pledgers’ CD and general release CD.Kim Onyskiw
With the challenges of 2020, can you tell us how you’ve managed running your business.
I think it’s affected me a lot less than most people, and I feel lucky that my work is so well suited to staying at home. At the start of lockdown I closed my shop for a couple of months, which obviously stopped any sales, but did mean I finally got around to redesigning my website, which has been on my to-do list for years. Since then, my work life hasn’t been much different to normal, with most of my sales being made online. I usually only do a few events a year, so missing these hasn’t had as much impact on me as those who are at fairs every weekend.
Thanks for your time Kim, I really appreciate it. What’s next for Konyskiw?
I don’t like to plan too far into the future, which has come in quite useful this year. I never know when the next commission is coming or how big it will be, so although I might have vague ideas about what I want to do over the upcoming months, these are never definite so that I can prioritise any commissions that come in. I’ve got one to work on at the moment and then it’s time to start planning what to paint for (hopefully) my next event – Holmfirth Artweek. This is a local exhibition I’ve taken part in since I first started selling, and I’m now on the committee for them, so there’ll also be some less fun planning of how to run an event at the moment.
Get 15% off all artwork by Kim Onyskiw with code TREATME – valid until Sunday 3 January 2021
Shop Kim Onyskiw on Folksy
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this week is Tracey Startin from Stitch Galore. Tracey is a textile artist based in Staffordshire who makes handmade embroidered gifts and accessories. You can read our interview with Tracey here and shop Stitch Galore on Folksy >