Her Own Two Feet: Dylan Kendall’s Design Story
Dylan Kendall says that she’s always anthropomorphized objects. Take a look at her footed bowls, with their round “bellies,” comical legs, and cartoonish feet, and you’ll see exactly what she means.
“I’m stuck in a visual wonderland, ” She explains. “I’m an adult who grew up begrudgingly. I like to think about that world where we don’t leave behind our childhood games, our imaginations, our wonder and awe. My work occupies that space that respects we are adults but doesn’t forget that we need to play!”
Dylan didn’t give up her appreciation for whimsy or childlike sense of wonder, but she did learn many life lessons on her road to adulthood. Dylan’s journey to becoming a designer started with a trip to Europe, and included starting her own ceramics studio and founding a non-profit organization.
It started when she was 17. After graduating from high school early, she went to London to study at Richmond College. She says that didn’t last long and a few months later she was traveling around Europe. Eventually she ended up in Paris, where she “unofficially” attended Parsons School of Design.
Dylan says, “I wasn’t a student at the school but I hung around in the studios…working with my hands felt good, motivated me.” A few years later, when she was back in Los Angeles, she started her first ceramics studio in her apartment.
Her work was a success, and as galleries started carrying her pieces, she realized she could make art a career. She decided to give it her all and headed to Oakland to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts.
During her time in Oakland she lived near a low-income area, and was saddened by the poverty and despair she saw every day driving through rundown neighborhoods on her way to school. She ended up moving back to Los Angeles to finish her degree (and earn a Masters Degree) at UCLA, but the memories of the Oakland neighborhoods stuck with her.
In 2005 she founded Hollywood Arts, an organization that helps at-risk youths and young adults through art–giving them the opportunity to work with their hands, experience the feeling of creating something, and even participate in performance art.
“[Hollywood Arts] was a success,” she says. “We were proving that we were able to reach kids who had checked out of other efforts.” The organization now offers 22 theater, art, and music classes a week at no cost and works to help students find internships and jobs in the creative sector.
Although Dylan has passed the Hollywood Arts torch on to a new executive director , she says the organization will always have a special place in her heart and is the designated charity for her design company.
Through helping kids to get involved in the arts, supporting nonprofits and the arts in her Huffington Post articles, and creating designs that make us feel like kids again, Dylan is definitely doing her part to inspire creativity and encourage active imaginations.