This month we had the opportunity to interview artist and creative Carmel, THEZONKYGIRL, about her artwork and creativity. As a multitalented painter, DJ, and photographer, she encourages uniqueness through her work and daily life. You can find more of Carmel's work by clicking here or by following her on Instagram @THEZONKYGIRL -
Let's get to know you first, tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live now? What type of artist do you consider yourself?
I go by THEZONKYGIRL, but I am formally known as Carmel. I am originally from D. R. Congo and moved to California 6 years ago. I have mostly been living in Long Beach since then.
I would consider myself a multi-faceted artist. Although I tend to gravitate towards painting, DJing, sewing, and photography, I enjoy experimenting and expressing myself in other creative ways as well.
What does your typical day look like as an artist? How is your art incorporated in your day-to-day life?
Every day of the week is different for me. Being a full-time grad student as well makes it hard for me to paint as much as I would love to, but I stay creative in between. Something I always make sure to do in a day is to set aside 10 to 15 minutes to sketch, even if it’s small. Whether I’m in the shower, driving, listening to music, or I’m in the middle of a photoshoot, I find that I’m often hit with an idea. Making the time to sit down and sketch allows me to put these ideas onto paper and expand on them.
This past year has been challenging for so many to stay motivated and inspired – you’ve continued to create and inspire through your work – what has been your biggest motivation to continue to create?
This past year has definitely challenged all of us. Outside my daily sketching sessions, making time to walk around the city, people watching and sitting with myself in nature has kept me motivated and brought new ideas into my work. I believe that taking time away from my studio, seeing something outside the same four walls I live in and making memories on my own has really inspired me.
What’s a recent project you’ve been really excited about?
I’ve been really excited about the coffee sleeve I designed for a coffee shop in Long Beach called Vibes Cafe for their One Thousand Hands Project. I love the women I worked with and the cafe has yummy food. If you are in the area, you should stop by and check them out.
We know community and giving back is so important to you as an artist, how do you engage with your audience besides social media?
This past year, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I have mostly been engaging with my audience through social media. As things start to get safer, I am looking forward to connecting with people face-to-face more.
What role does denim played in your wardrobe? And what is your go-to everyday outfit?
Denim is my favourite and the most important part of my wardrobe. It tends to be the first thing I think about when deciding what to put on. I probably wear denim 300 days out of the year. My go-to everyday outfit is an oversized, somewhat distressed pair of jeans, sneakers, and depending on my mood, either a thrifted t-shirt or a crop top.
What is your favorite quote to live by?
“Stand up for what you want even if that means standing alone.”
LIST YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE(S):
Beauty/skincare product (s)
There are so many that I love! My favourites include Bio-oil Skincare Oil, Topicrem Body Ultra-Moisturizing Milk, Black Girl Sunscreen, anything from the brand Alaffia, and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. Those are definitely must-haves.
Cocktail or coffee drink (s)
I am not much of a coffee drinker. I really enjoy tea. If I do drink coffee though, I usually go for a nut milk latte. As for cocktails, my favourite is an Old Fashioned.
My favourite genres would primarily be what I DJ: African music, Urban Latino, Reggae, and Dancehall. I also really enjoy R&B/Trap/Soul.
There are so many incredible books I’ve read and have yet to read, but my all time favourite is “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.
I like to stay active rather than spending time at a gym. My favourite way to move my body is through yoga and long walks.