Hailing from the coastal area of Taranaki on New Zealand's North Island, Michaela Snowden, or “Kai”, studied textile design in Wellington before journeying to Byron Bay, where she has fed her artistic appetite for the past three years. Like many local artists who draw creative stimulation from the boundless natural beauty of the area, Kai sees her personal artistic process as a form of meditation and reflection. She often spends time in nature with a pen and sketchbook firmly in hand: “With all the magical, serene places in Byron Bay ... it has lent itself perfectly to this style of work and has been such an inspiring place to be based for the past couple of years. All the different creative courses or classes that are available have also kept me inspired ... Friday mornings slinging paint around at Dynamic Drawing classes in the Scout Hall with Ron and Liz is a personal favourite.”
Calling herself a “designer/illustrator/creator”, Kai attributes her mish-mash of titles to the “short attention span” that has led her to constantly explore different mediums. Her strong illustrative style and “weakness for clean black lines,” has seen her develop a crisp graphic approach that transitions smoothly between her signature black and white aesthetic and her more recent work. Traditionally partial to Posca Paint Pens and fine-liners, pieces like Horn show Kai delving into colour and texture with acrylic paints. “I like to explore my creativity in whatever medium holds my focus for long enough or pushes me out of my comfort zone,” she says. She jumps from painting artworks on surfboards to hand crafting unique leather wallets and leather cut-offs sourced in Byron Bay.
Currently travelling around Central America, Kai is documenting her travels through sketches. She says that travel - and reminding herself of the paradise we live in - is one of the "best forms of inspiration," for her art, and her life.
For more on Kai's art, or to follow her visual travel diary through Central America, visit @kaisnowden on Instagram.