Checking in with Kim Dylla


 What are you working on right now?

I just finished a large painting commission inside the Darden School of Business. It’s sort of a continuation of my machine painting series, but this one actually features users interacting with the machine—more of a custom commission than a new line of thought. I’ve been doing work on some music videos for my friend’s band in Norway. I work with the theme of mannequins a lot. I think they represent this interesting idea of the template human, resembling humans but they also have this totally creepy, otherworldly aesthetic.

Visual artist and metal singer Kim Dylla says her favorite hidden place was “this old graveyard on campus. I used to go there at night, which I think in Virginia is technically illegal. Not many people would go there at night, so it was one of my favorite places to be alone.”

What were you doing when we called?

I work at UVA at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where I’m a computer graphics programmer. I do 3D modeling, and also some web programming on digital archaeology or humanities initiatives. That’s my day job. Then all my artwork I do at home. I live alone, and have a studio in my house, so when I get home I work until all hours of the morning.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?

I’ve never really collaborated with anyone on artwork, outside of things I did in college that were distinctly collaborative initiatives. Collaborative painting isn’t something I’m interested in, but if there were anyone in town working on something like an interactive video installation, I’d love to work on something like that.

What music have you been listening to lately?

I’m a huge metalhead, and I play in a local metal band called Thismeansyou, so I really have been on an old thrash kick, bands like Possessed and Kreator, plus a lot of black metal.

What is your first creative memory?

I’ve been drawing and making things ever since I could remember. I’ve been painting seriously with oils since I was 12 or 13. As for formative memories, I remember being three or four and making giant crayon/marker murals. I think a distinguishing point was when I learned not to copy images. I’d always draw from observation, or from old master paintings. It took me a while to draw content from my own ideas.

Do you have any pets?

No, I’m allergic to most animals, but I do have a plant named Klaus. And sometimes I forget to water him.

If you’re cooking a meal for one, what do you make?

Steak. I love steak. How do I like it? Still mooing. 

If you’re on a blind date, what’s the dealbreaker?

I’ve never been on a blind date, but…I only like guys with long hair. Guys with short hair just don’t seem interesting.

What artwork do you wish was in your private collection?

Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” I went and saw the painting last year, and I wanted to stay there for three hours and just stare at it.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who and why?

Robert Goulet, because he is my hero. My bandmates and I sent him a letter while he was still alive, telling him how our band was really inspired by his music, and he sent us back a signed picture with the mustache and everything. 

What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?

First, I’d go for broke with my band. If I didn’t have to worry about health insurance, I’d try for rock stardom. Go all in, tour all the time.

Outside of your medium, who is your favorite artist?

Cindy Sherman, the photographer. I really like the ideas that she throws around. She dresses up as different female characters and photographs herself in various scenes. She works with the idea of the gaze in the photograph, and women’s identity in relation to the Hollywood female image.