Interview by Zakkiyyah Najeebah
Illustrator, designer, animation artist and ceramicist Kenesha Sneed is limitless when it comes to her creative endeavors. Her ceramic business Tactile Matter (peep how dope it is) hit the ground running and is all things we love about driven creative women! Kenesha’s ceramic creations are thoughtfully engaging and beautifully designed. From her studio practice to collaborating with Solange, Kenesha hopes to inspire others to follow their ambitions.
Zakkiyyah: Why “Tactile Matter”? We’d love to hear about the beginnings of your dynamic ceramics business.
Kenesha: I feel the name represents what I like to create in both ceramics and on the computer designing. I pretty quickly fell in love with making things with clay, having no idea that it would grow into a business, let alone that people would actually want to have my work in their homes. Before spending so much time on the wheel, I was an art director at a motion design studio. I eventually decided after many weeks of working in an office 9 hours and going into the studio immediately after, I needed to switch focus and make a change in my work-life. After leaving my design job almost a year ago, I now split time between illustration and ceramics here in my Los Angeles studio.
ZN: What’s the most fulfilling aspect of being a creator and owning your own business?
KS: Being able to come up with different ideas and see them through from start to finish is a constant sense of accomplishment. I’m always learning from mistakes and making adjustments to the way I navigate through being a business owner. There’s so much process to creating, so if there’s no joy in making things or if it starts to feel like a chore then it’s not worth it. I’m passionate about everything I make so it keeps things fresh and exciting.
ZN: I’m absolutely in love with the artistic direction of your Tactile Matter collection, what’s the inspiration behind your design and color decisions when creating pieces?
KS: I really wish I could say there’s a method to the madness but I’m always inspired by new things. I draw inspiration from experiences and everything around me so I’m constantly absorbing new ideas I’d want to try out. The fun and often times challenging part is taking those ideas and making it happen!
ZN: As a creative person who wears multiple hats, as well as owning a business, I’m sure your schedule can get hectic. What are some self care rituals you engage with when you’re not creating?
K: It can be challenging at times keeping up with all the many things that need to be checked off the list from day to day. I try as much as possible to balance my studio time with personal time, catching up with friends, watching movies, going to local garden nurseries, whatever gets my mind right after a long day. My younger self didn’t care as much about eating right or working out, but now that I’m in my early 30’s I have to keep myself in check from the way I eat, sleep and challenge myself physically. I know these don’t always apply when meeting deadlines but not taking care of my body always reflects in the creative process and how I feel mentally throughout the day. I make better work when I work on myself first.
ZN: You’ve recently collaborated with Saint Heron on the launch of their new online shop, Congratulations! What has that experience been like for you?
KS: Solange is an inspiration to a lot of women, particularly women of color including myself, so having the chance to collab with her was beyond a treat. Everyone who made that happen from Armina Mussa, Andrea Franco, Solange and I’m sure many more, made that experience one I’d never forget. Any opportunity to work with someone I’m inspired by to hopefully inspire others is always worth every second.
ZN: What other upcoming projects do you have up your sleeves? We’d love to know how we can further support you.
KS: On top of continuing on the wheel and computer, I’m excited to be designing merchandise which will be added to my online shop soon so stay tuned!