Shira Barzilay is the world-renowned artist and Instagram sensation behind the alias “KOTETIT”. The Tel Aviv based artist counts close to half a million followers on Instagram. 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 such as Cartier, Elizabeth Arden, Vogue Portugal, Harper’s Bazaar, Lenovo, Roberto Cavalli, and Zara.
Looking at her works, we can immediately think of Pablo Picasso. Shira creates line drawings and digital art of distorted faces and female bodies, inspired by the precision of minimalism.
Shira also recently launched her first NFT collection, called “Koketit Elements”. The digital innovations offer an additional dimension to her creative work.
We got the chance to talk with her.
Koketit is derived from the word coquettish - originally from French - and it means flirty girl. My work is very much about having an open mind and a curious imagination, ultimately flirting with ideas about life and the world. My point of view is always female and so I imagine this silhouette of a female called Koketit. She is free and limitless and can do and be everything. I thrive on storytelling and so it helps when there’s a narrative that helps carry me through the journey. Koketit - the alias - is the figure by which I tell my story.
When I was a child I fell in love with art through my aunt the painter. She nurtured me and encouraged me to explore what seemed like an artistic ability or talent. Growing up to my teenage years, I turned my attention to fashion and dreamt of becoming a huge fashion designer. Then I became an illustrator, a graphic designer, an editor, a business owner of my own temporary tattoo online shop, and so the road to becoming a full time artist was a long and complicated one. It was only during COVID that I realized that I can become an artist. I needed to believe in myself that I had what it takes. I needed to grow up a bit.
How has social media impacted your career as an artist?Throughout all my creative adventures, the one thing that stayed constant was my attention to social media presence. I took it very seriously because I knew it was the key to my success. I loved how democratic it is that I have my own platform to present my art to the world without relying on any gallery or other outlet. I can say with absolute certainty that my career as an artist was possible due to the path I took on Instagram.
So when I am creating, I am immersed in my own personal feelings and emotions. I am tapping into a deep place and communicating it outside - hoping that honesty and authenticity is received by the viewer. I am also very aware that the media in which I mostly present my work is on a screen, allotted one second to command the viewer’s attention before it scrolls down further. So I mean to be as clear as I can about the message so it hits you the second you see it. In the end I do not wish to impress anyone, rather move something inside them.
Shira, thank you very much for your precious time and the interview!