0 In Cast of Creatives

Wedding Industry Mental Health, PTSD and Healing Through Psychedelic Abstract Art with Kibbi Linga

James Pearson
Hello and welcome back to Cast of Creatives, the series dedicated to exploring creative work and creative thinking and the impact that this has on mental health. I’m James Pearson. I’m the founder of Wedding Industry Mental Health and Wedding Espresso. And I’m really delighted to be joined today by Kibbi Linga, who is a psychedelic abstract artist from Los Angeles. Kibby how’s it going?

Kibbi Linga
Hi, James. Thanks for having me. Hi, everyone. Things are great. Things are good for me. It’s the morning over here so I’m ready to enjoy the day here with you guys. How’s it going with you?

James Pearson
Pretty good. We’re wrapping stuff up here in the UK. So it’s the end of the day, but hey, that’s how it works. That’s why I’ve got my coffee which I’ve been looking forward to all day long. It’s been one of those days! A very needed coffee. So yes, I was really astounded and astonished when I found your work. And it reminded me so much of the way that I like to appreciate art – and that’s music and artwork and books and stories. I like to find that what I’m looking at or experiencing has hidden depths and meaning. And so I was really, really drawn to the work that you produce, which I want to get into the process of with you in a minute, and share some of that with everybody. But before we do, would you like to just share a little bit of your story about how you came to be an artist and please don’t feel you have to overshare, just share as much as you feel comfortable with and we’ll see where we go.

Kibbi Linga
Yes, of course, I actually grew up in an environment that did not allow me to express myself, so I was not in the art world. And then three years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and started embracing it, and my therapist recommended art as a tool. I then started painting, and then I started having memories that were so repressed, because I came into getting help not even remembering my childhood. And so I realised that the painting helped me remember my memories. I also remembered that I dreamed and aspired to be an artist as a little young girl, and it just went from there. Soon I was able to allow art to help me heal. My process basically being like my art and the process is coded. Different colours have different meanings, different shapes. My tutorial process explains that pretty well and also exposing it as well has been a very healing process for me. So I would have to say that within my PTSD recovery creating this art has been such a huge component or tool in my recovery.

It happened naturally. So if I can inspire or offer hope to anybody, I literally walked into the art store not knowing a thing. Should I get oil or acrylic and what is acrylic?

James Pearson
Wow.

Kibbi Linga
But there’s a lot of friendly souls out there. And that’s another thing I found in the art world, creating myself and exposing myself and my vulnerabilities, are amazing souls that will join me in this process of expressing myself while healing myself. So that’s how I got started. And to piggyback on you mentioning meaning and depth behind art there is… I like to say I speak colours. Like I can say, well how I’m feeling on a canvas. This is what I like to do as a kid in my mind as a way to express myself, so I get to do it today.

James Pearson
I love that. Yes, so I think a lot of great artwork really does start with a sense of naivety and it’s wonderful that you’ve approached this with zero formal training. And so I think that lends itself well to kind of experiencing your work very organically, and it feels very authentic and it feels very real. So if it’s okay with you, I would love to just bring up your website and can you just take us through a couple of the pieces that you’ve created. Let’s talk about those colours and what those colours mean. I picked out three that have instantly drawn my attention and I love this. This to me, it summons up a feeling of such tranquillity. But I don’t want to put a stamp on it. I want you to tell us what it’s about if that’s okay?

Kibbi Linga
Yes, so I realised that in my recovery, living as my true self, changes and transitions in my life are very difficult for me. I have a series now of five paintings and when I’m going through a transition or change, I paint the difficulties to help me accept it. Over time it literally works like magic. On all five pieces over time I watch these changes or transitions in my life become beautiful to me. So the first piece was called Changes because I didn’t know they were going to end up beautiful. This piece is called Beautiful Changes. It’s the second part to my series, and blue, it was so much going on and I wanted to not live in isolation. The whole galaxy look is kind of like stepping outside of my comfort zone. Whereas most of my work is symmetrical and boxed in, but this is a new look for me. It was like an ongoing galaxy look so I chose that design and simply chose white for hope because I was not having any acceptance. I was living in resistance to the transitions in my life. And then I use blue for letting go and acceptance and it’s as simple as that for that form. And those changes turned out beautiful to me. It just took time.

James Pearson
Hmm. That is fantastic. Which is the other one I picked….

Kibbi Linga
I have no idea what he’s gonna pick by the way.

James Pearson
Yes, there’s been no preparation whatsoever. This! Oh, I love I love this.

Kibbi Linga
Oooh! So orange is a person from my past. I call this person orange because when I was young I designated people I was closest to, colours. Based on their personality. It took me until I came into recovery to realise this. I literally thought orange was a victim. I came to find out after embracing a lot of my PTSD, orange manipulated me, emotionally abused me, was a covert narcissist. This piece is me really starting to come to find that awareness, and so there’s a kind of “down the rabbit hole” because I felt like orange pushed me down the rabbit hole with his covert manipulation and narcissism. And I put the pink flowers on for compassion, because I’m going through the forgiveness process, and I want to have compassion. I put the black for the fear and the false self that I saw from orange. Orange is the background, and then just me getting out of it. And as you see there’s a little bit of green. That’s me coming into awareness and escaping. Orange has passed away, but like cutting that spiritual tie that the abuse caused me. So kind of just escaping this mess. And then I used red for love so I can hopefully still be able to love throughout the forgiveness process. I mean there’s a lot going on here, white for hope, grey for the grey area, because climbing out of this denial has not been black and white. It’s been a process. And this is also I feel not the last piece for orange. There’s some more forgiveness for me to work on. So this piece has a lot going on because there was a lot of awareness that was coming up for me and that’s what this piece says. It was very healing to come to awareness of these things.

James Pearson
I’m glad that you said climbing out because I think that is the one phrase that I would have used to describe this. There’s a sense of needing to climb out and I love the fact that you said that. So the other one that I cast my eye upon… this is different. This is dark. So tell me about this.

Kibbi Linga
I grew up with a very rigid black and white perfectionistic thinking, and as a result, that’s the way my thinking was before I started recovery. This is actually a very happy piece to me because it’s me starting to find the grey area and living in the grey and it’s not my first time living in the grey area. In fact, I love that grey area. I don’t like black and white areas, the rigid perfectionistic thinking. So this was me starting to find that and so I expressed it by using black and white and then there’s a little bit of gold on the four corners for triumph.

James Pearson
hmm wow. I guess anybody watching this… thankfully I’ve had a little bit of prep, I’ve seen some of your YouTube videos and I’ve already had my epiphany wow moment. I think a lot of people watching this will be absolutely blown away by the depth of meaning in your art. I think it’s incredible. So can we come back a little bit and talk about colours and how this association with colours was was formed for you? How did that come about?

Kibbi Linga
Okay, so I’m just going to be super real. I have reason to believe that I was drugged with psychedelics as a part of my abuse as an infant. And as a result, I wanted to paint and express myself and also more, without getting into the story too much. As a result I spent a lot of time in my head just thinking about the colours and the designs I saw, and kind of matching them to the pain and the emotions I was having inside, based off the situations that were going on around me. And also the relationships, the people I was closest with. And I just use those colours from the visions that I saw, and just gave it to my feelings and a person… and what was the question again?

James Pearson
How did the association with colours occur to you?

Kibbi Linga
So that was my means of expressing myself. That was my tool. The only tool I could find, it was actually the only tool I wanted. Of course I wanteda paint set. I wasn’t granted that, but I was able to play with the colours in my mind and make up these representations to help me express myself.

James Pearson
The world of colours at large then, are you particularly influenced and affected by say the colours that people choose to wear, or the colours around you? Or is it literally just you making associations to the colours?

Kibbi Linga
The colours around me don’t mean… I enjoy the beauty, but I will choose a certain colour for the day based off my mood. For example, when I’m not feeling that well sometimes I wear a black sock. I particularly don’t like wearing black socks but I want to validate like, right I’m not feeling the greatest that day, I’ll wear a black sock and typically I like to be colourful. I do think in colours, and there’s a lot of colour in my life. They don’t really have an impact on me as I’m walking by. Unless it comes from other beauties such as flowers. If I see a field of dandelions or daisies of yellow I just think of happiness because yellow equates to happiness for me.

James Pearson
Yes, I think there’s a lot of thinking in psychology about unspoken language and colour is definitely one of those things, you know, people will dress in bright colours to kind of express a sense of happiness, or like you just said, you wear a black sock to own the fact that you’re not on it on that particular day. And I love the fact that you’re so in touch with your feelings and you’re so willing to express them and just sort of own them. I think that’s really, really important for good mental health. A lot of people do not own their feelings.

Kibbi Linga
Right. I used to think like, why didn’t someone tell me that talking about the way I feel and telling somebody else is and accepting it, is the answer to my my problems. Like when I was 2 years old, because it’s working today.

James Pearson
Good, good. So, obviously this art, the artist in you has been trying to get out for decades and is now out in full force. How important is it for you to create this art now?

Kibbi Linga
So that’s something I’ve actually in my critical parent in my head, I’ve been comparing my recovery now versus then, and I was busting out very rapidly. Today it’s more that I am finding a lot of healing in writing. Not so much art. I’m also embracing the elder parts of me. I wasn’t just affected as a child from my trauma. So there’s some slowing down in the art. I’m still using it especially on pieces in regards to my past like forgiveness of certain people that I was very close with. But yes, I plan to continue doing it and starting to sell the originals at some point, but just at a slower pace. I express myself in other ways as well. But I have been a little bit down that I don’t create as rapidly, but coming to acceptance as well.

James Pearson
It seems it could be possible that the slowing down maybe is reaching a plateau of you know, creative satisfaction in that regard? I don’t know?

Kibbi Linga
Right. I don’t know. More shall be revealed.

James Pearson
So when you set out to create one of these pieces, I love the fact that the colours represent all these different things. How does it begin? Does it begin with a feeling or a thought or an emotion?

Kibbi Linga
It depends, for example, I’m working on a piece with red and I, I’m cutting the spiritual tie with red. It’s been my decision. And so I personally feel that creating this piece will help me do it. It’s part four. I also might make a tutorial on it, not for the reason of exposing my vulnerabilities will double whammy help me heal. But also there’s another piece I just started called Anticipation because I’ve been experiencing unwanted anticipation. It gets loud around my apartment sometimes and I’ll literally be in anticipation like oh my gosh. It’s an unwanted feeling, but I feel like I paint through it and create beauty out of it and then expose it and find a way to get rid of that unwanted anticipation. So it’s like I get kind of inspired by my hardships.

James Pearson
Hmm yes. And then I’ve seen that you’ve had quite a lot of success really with social media and then gaining a following because you’ve been doing this for three years, doing the art for three years. Is that correct?

Kibbi Linga
Yes almost 3 years.

James Pearson
I would also call it a fan base, which is amazing to see. Do you feel that people understand what it is you’re creating?

Kibbi Linga
It does help. I mean, people who read it, people who want to read it, read it, and there’s been a lot of support on social media. I mean, I think it’s great. It’s been a free way for me to help me heal. So the validation does help. Yes, I tried to put boundaries around it so I don’t get addicted to it. For example, after 5pm social media doesn’t matter.

James Pearson
I think sometimes when we create things, it starts out by, you know, the need to fulfil a creative energy, to serve that need. But then post there’s often that kind of, oh, I need somebody to see this or understand it, or experience it as well. To kind of bring validation of my experience of creating it. If you like, if that makes sense?

Kibbi Linga
Yes, yes. And I think there’s something called exposure therapy. I’ve never technically looked it up but I have noticed that experience or that exposing my art, or any content for that matter, my vulnerability is my truth. And social media has personally helped me. So probably the mixture of the validation and also practising that I don’t give a f*ck what people think muscle, that I was taught to care what people thought. I was taught don’t talk, don’t feel. So when I do things that are not that, it feels empowering to me.

James Pearson
I want to just go into a little bit of detail about the video that I watched on YouTube where you started out by adding some purple, and the purple was for… I’m paraphrasing here, but you started with purple and that was to identify that you weren’t sure of the direction that the art was going to take. Is that correct?

Kibbi Linga
Probably true. Mystery. That’s mystery.

James Pearson
Right! And then you carried on adding to it. And I think you said on the video that actually you didn’t like it. But I love the fact that you were able to own the experience of creating it, and it wasn’t about the act of creating it, and it wasn’t about the finished product. But what you were trying to express was an experience of creation, and then coming to terms with the fact that you didn’t like it, but that was okay. That struck me as such a powerful thought process. To be enabled in that way. That’s incredible.

Kibbi Linga
Thanks, that is just the process. Trusting the art process is difficult and something that I do well at some times and not so well at other times. But that was an example I feel of just trusting the process. I mean, that painting got pretty ugly for a second.

James Pearson
But in your opinion, I guess? So are there any other kind of arts that inspire you? Is there anything in life that also brings you inspiration?

Kibbi Linga
A little bit of everything. I like to write. I want to work on my blog posts more, I like comedy. I like expressing my persona because I also help other parts of me that have personality too. I like photography. I like a lot of things but as far as a main medium I like painting for now. But I likea lot of arts.

James Pearson
Cool and this kind of symmetry in your artwork. There’s a lot of symmetry. There’s a lot of patterns. Is this type of artwork, is this expression, is this a visualisation of your emotions and feelings and channelling direction. Is that sort of it? I’ll hand it over to you. You tell you tell me how it works?

Kibbi Linga
Well, two things. One is a lot of the visions I saw as a child were very symmetrical and also it helps me feel safe to keep things symmetrical. As a PTSD survivor just it helps me keep safe, feel safe.

James Pearson
So order from chaos?

Kibbi Linga
Yes. Hmm. Just like neat.

James Pearson
And that seems to me, the impression I get is quite a lot of direction. There’s always a motion. There’s a lot of motion and direction. Is that to indicate change and development and growth?

Kibbi Linga
You mean the ones that aren’t symmetrical?

James Pearson
Well, the way my brain perceives it, I see a lot of straight lines leading to directions. And here we have arrows.

Kibbi Linga
Oh! Maybe yes. Maybe for example, I’m working on a piece right now that goes from hope to acceptance and it’s going back and forth because I’m personally struggling holding hope or acceptance. So who knows what my mind is thinking at the time but perhaps.

James Pearson
You mentioned also that you might be selling the originals. Is there any plan to incorporate these designs in anything else because personally, I just ran downstairs to make myself a coffee, and I thought, you know what? Some of these pieces that speak to me, I would love to see on a coffee cup. Because every time I pick that coffee cup up, you’re like, yeah, okay, I remember.

Kibbi Linga
Yes, I actually do. I’m going start with the prints. For example, here’s a pillow. Coffee cups and tote bags are another thing that I’d like my art on and I’m going to start there, and stickers, prints, posters, candles.

James Pearson
Are there any plans to… I know these are very, very deeply personal pieces of art. Are there any plans to create the story behind each piece and share those with people?

Kibbi Linga
Yes, it’s on Instagram actually. My journey has been very vulnerably shared on Instagram. So then I’m working on my website where I’m going to put the originals up and then a story with each piece on it. I’m working on that right now. That’s a process though because like I said, I was popping that art out while I was walking through the trauma.

James Pearson
Right, do you think they’d make a nice book?

Kibbi Linga
Yes. I’d love to write a book. I think that’s why I’m playing with the blog posts. I was kind of under educated. I’m picking it up though really quick. And so I think that the blogging will help give me some practice. And then writing a book is something that I want to do for sure.

James Pearson
I could see it as a very, very interesting art book actually. Because, you know, there’s something to be said about every single thing that you’ve painted. It’s so deep and meaningful, and people would love that.

Kibbi Linga
Yes. Thank you.

James Pearson
I also love the idea of of “Kibbi Spills Art” because I was looking at this and thinking about it quite sort of laterally, and thinking when you spill something, you almost don’t mean to. And I think this was almost accidental expression of feeling and emotion through your art. I think that’s just a wonderful way of putting it.

Kibbi Linga
Yeah, right. Thank you. I appreciate that. I kind of like interchange it with intuitively. So yes, thanks.

James Pearson
That’s awesome. So if anybody wants to check out your work, where’s the best place to send them?

Kibbi Linga
Facebook or Instagram at Kibbi Spills Art and then my website, which should have a shop coming soon. I’m on Twitter. Just Kibby Linga on the social media platforms, TikTok, Kibbyspillsart.com.

James Pearson
Excellent. Well, Kibby we’re fast approaching the top of our little session here and it’s been super amazing. I always love exploring the feelings and the inspirations and certainly the process. So for me, it’s been absolutely fascinating, and I hope other people have enjoyed it. But thanks again, for taking the time to share that with us. It’s been brilliant.

Kibbi Linga
Yes, thank you, James. Thanks for having me.

James Pearson
Absolute pleasure. So take care Kibbi and hopefully I’ll catch you on Instagram soon.

Kibbi Linga
I’ll catch you later. All right, thanks. See you later. Bye. Bye, guys.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: