Skye Kember is a Brighton-based illustrator. Identifying as non-binary, I met Skye to discuss how their own self-expression interplays into their digital and hand-drawn illustrations. From mental health to nature, Skye talks to The Badger Artist Focus about how these aspects shape their illustrations, and how their personal narratives aim to inspire.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m a non-binary artist, and I’m in my second year of Illustration at the University of Brighton. I am inspired by personal feelings and narratives, and I enjoy drawing from abstract shapes in the natural environment. I try to find ways of expressing my own experiences of gender, mental health and environmental issues.
Where do you find inspiration for your illustrations?
A lot of my work reflects my personal feelings of dysphoria, and the feeling of being trapped within the confinements of a binary society which we live in. Yet sometimes this is more subtle. I love drawing creatures and androgynous figures with trees and snakes to express these feelings and experiences. I find nature very inspiring and good for the soul, so I try to draw outside as much as possible. Recently I’ve been focusing on drawing without overthinking, and I have been prioritising the notion of drawing lots of ideas, trying to obtain perfection in every drawing. I love to see where the lines of my drawings take me, so I find illustrating in this way very therapeutic and fun.
What attracts you to illustration over other forms of art?
Illustration is about creating a narrative. It is really exciting to see how illustation is constantly evolving and exists within practically everything. I think this makes it a more accessible artform, which isn’t so removed from its context.
You’ve worked in mono print before. Are there any other forms of medium which you would be interested in working in?
I love painting, but every time I get out my paints, I always wonder why I don’t use them more! I have tried a wide range of medium, such as clay and lithography.
Do you prefer working digitally or by hand?
By hand. I always get sad around deadlines when I spend all my time staring at a computer, although it is fun to bring drawings into photoshop, and to also use my drawing tablet to refine them. Recently I learnt how to animate which is exciting, as it brings my drawings to life. However, the digital could never happen without the freedom of exploring my ideas by hand.
What would your dream project entail? Have you got any upcoming projects or plans, regarding your artwork?
I would really like to open up a shop to raise money for top surgery, but my priorities lie with developing my work. I would really like to educate others on non-binary genders as well, and I would like to create affirming work for those struggling with gender or mental health. Having such personal narratives means it can be very emotional, and there are very few non-binary artists at the moment, so it is quite daunting but very exciting that I can influence, and expand people’s understanding of gender.
To discover more about Skye’s work, head to their website: https://kembersc.wixsite.com/mysite
If you would like to donate money to Skye’s top surgery, follow this link: ko-fi.com/skyekember
Skye’s Instagram: @spinningoutoftime
Words: Grace Sowerby and Skye Kember
Photo Credits: Skye Kember