Interview with Shira Barzilay

Shira Barzilay is an artist whose iconic work is globally recognized through her influential @koketit platform. Her unique and captivating style of drawing and mixed media art has brought her to the attention of some of the world’s leading brands. To date this includes art collaborations with Cartier, Elizabeth Arden, Vogue Portugal, Harper’s Bazaar, N’kd, Lenovo, Revlon, and most recently a design collaboration with Zara. In May 2022 Shira launched her first cover collaboration with international publication Elle Norway. Her distinctive style is recognized for it’s evocative and philosophical musings on our world. “The world is her canvas”

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Shira Barzilay but im mostly known by the name KOKETIT.
im an artist. I live in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in art?

My original plan was to become a fashion designer. I got my bachelor’s degree in fashion and after I graduated I became a fashion illustrator. For years I worked freelance for different designers and brands and eventually expanded into other fields outside of fashion. I started to develop my own signature style and found my voice by posting daily artworks on Instagram, with a series called “the world is my canvas”. There, I would draw minimalistic female drawings over images that inspired me – creating a whole new narrative for the image. As an artist the only desire I really have is to create. And I do everyday. I wanted to express myself in a free way – to a listening audience.

How would you describe your creative process?

My work is very intuitive. I begin with a raw and unrefined line. I tune into a certain rythem and flow occurring in the now  - trying to empty my brain or at least let it be preoccupied with other things. The process is one of letting go – without any judgment or thought involved. It’s purely about feeling and just going with whatever is happening now. So – sometimes that feeling isn’t there and that’s ok too. It’s all part of the process. It’s never forced and never planned.

How much does your city and surroundings affect your creative output?

Everything is affecting everything all the time  - especially through our subconcious. I try not to think about.

What do you struggle with the most in terms of working and living in a city like Tel Aviv? 

Even though TLV is extremely cool and cosmopolitan city – it still feels a bit contrived and small. It’s not near anything and so it can feel quite secluded.

The responsibility of the council in every city is to provide a solid foundation of design, art and cultural facilities, is that evident in Tel Aviv?

I think TLV does a great job in providing cultural outlets for it’s citizens. There are always concerts, shows, gallery exhibitions happening. Young artists are thriving here. My favourite spot in the whole city is the Tel Aviv museaum of art. It always holds very interesting exhibitions.

Do you think it is also the responsibility of the artist/creative to improve the quality of people's lives in their city?

I think myself more as a citizen of the world, or even, a citizen of the Instagram community. We belong to many communities and they don’t always comply to where you dwell physically. Generally speaking, I think the job of every artist is to communicate truth outward – so that it may touch people and move them.

Can you tell us about any current or future projects that you are particularly excited about?

I have a few exciting collaborations in the fashion, ceramics and NFT spaces. All exciting. I love working on a few things simultaneously, because I feel the creative juices flow from one project to another – nourishing each other.

If you could add or change something about Tel Aviv, what would that be?

Less humidity please! Also – it’s way too expensive.

If you could choose any artist/creative to collaborate with, who would that be and why? 

I’ve been exploring animation and also art in the VR space – so collaborating with perhaps musicians to create some kind of fantastical experience could be extremely interesting – artists like J.Views or Iro.

What do you do to switch off?

afternoon naps.

What Does Home Mean to You?

Home is quiet, it’s a woman cave. It’s a safe space. It’s where my beloved Golden retriever – Beri, hangs out with me.

Describe the perfect day for you in Tel Aviv.

Any perfect day would begin by getting a good breakfast at a local neighborhood coffee place. Then either pool or beach. Followerd by sunset drinks with friends at a rooftop bar.

If you weren’t living in Tel Aviv and could choose any city to live in where would that be, and why?

Barcelona – art, beach, good energy.

tel aviv by Shira Barzilay

A selection of places in Tel Aviv - recommended by artist Shira Barzilay. See Shira's citylikeyou profile page here

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