Beautiful Israeli fashion girl, Shira Barzilay, is living her dream working from her hometown Tel Aviv where she returns after her studies in Los Angeles, drawing catalogs for designers and designing T-shirts for Roberto Cavalli and H&M and creating illustrating ads for fashion brands.
I'm following her work for some time so I decided to meet her online. She accepted my invitation for an interview and justified all my expectations I had about her personality that I created thanks to her illustrations: full of life, creative, friendly, beautiful soul, open minded and true.
Why rather illustrator then designer?
I've always felt a strong attraction to illustration. It came much easier than anything else and it seemed to be much more enjoyable. As a child I think I was in love with the idea of being a fashion designer – but it was illusory.
My true love has always been illustrating fashion – and understanding that was part of my growing up from adolescence. It just so happened that my schooling happened before that since I was a fashion student at a very young age. Starting my fashion degree at 17 (which is very rare in Israel), I learned this lesson the hard way. Yet as a student, I was very accomplished and my final project is remembered by many till this very day. After I graduated, I realized I don’t want to design clothes, I want to be a fashion artist.
Is it possible to live out of fashion illustration business in Israel?
The only restrictions one has are the ones they implement in themselves. I live in a world with no limits. It doesn’t matter where I'm from. The key is innovation and observation. Sometimes more often than others – you have to create the business you wish to persue. When it doesn’t exist, invent it!
I had returned to Israel after living in L.A. for a year – after graduating from college - with the determination of becoming a fashion illustrator and make it to be my job. No one knew what that was to be fashion illustrator but I didn’t let it stop me. I was determined. And so I worked. Nowadays, this profession is so wide and broad that one can do anything one wishes – as long as they are not self restricted. With Instagram, Pinterest and everything else – it is easier to put yourself out there more than it ever was.
What do you mostly draw? What techniques do you use in a drawing process?
I mostly draw celebrities and famous people who inspire me. I create a fashion portrait of them which is my personal perspective on how I view them. As an added bonus I enjoy receiving feedback from them.
I mostly enjoy illustrating on my IPAD PRO – with the extraordinary pencil – and I carry it wherever I go at all times. Using amazing apps such as ARTRAGE and PROCREATE – im able to fully express myself freely. Technology is an amazing tool for illustrators!
Please introduce to us your brand KOKETIT?
Koketit started as a blog – I had to name the "girl" I always drew in my sketches. Her characteristics were being petite, big eyes, big lips, very stylish and a carefree attitude. With time the blog expanded into a business. I started to design and produce temporary tattoos which sold on my webstore. Alongside this product, the brand also creates content for social media, and collaborates with different brands in forms of illustrations and design.
My latest venture is Illustrating Live at events. I love creating fast portraits of people and seeing their happy faces once they get their illustrations.
Do you always have inspiration or the ‘creative muses’, like you call them, are needed to be drawn out to the light with some techniques?
I don’t know what force is it, whether it be the muses or combination of events and feelings that create a certain specific mood or outlet – but it definitely comes and goes. I have learned over the years – to accept it lovingly with open arms when it comes, and to let it go when it goes.
What is a ‘Live Illustration’? How could a brand benefit from it?
Illustration live is an attraction I am offering brands to embrace at public or private functions and events. It is a great way to engage audience, to add a fashion and artistic vibe to the room and provide people with lovely memory gifts from the event. I arrive with my IPAD and sketch the guests! I have been doing so since June and it has been so fun.
How would you describe your own style?
I think that it is eclectic and I have many styles, but what defines all of them is a certain ease on the line. Never restricting and never fully finished. I love to leave lines out for the imagination and I love to sketch really fast. My lines are confident and wild but they know where they're going. Like me.
There is never too much order, and never too much chaos.
We both live in Mediterranean. Do you think that Mediterranean style exists or is it only fashion from France, Spain, Italy that is known?
I think style is when originality meets good taste and I think any place that can hold both of those will ultimately find its own signature and voice.
The Mediterranean is such a specific place that holds many inspirations. The people are warm like the sun and the blue skie and sea, with good, good wine and good people – this place cannot not have good fashion!
Is fashion art?
I think Marc Jacobs said it well when he said that fashion is not art – its part of the art of living. Drawing fashion however, can be made into art – just like anything in the world could be expressed through art.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep evolving, creating – reaching new heights, overcoming challenges. And being happy and satisfied along the way.
Good luck and have the best life and work possible! I'll be there to follow it for sure!