A wall of inspiration and completed works behind her, KANGIE is coming down off of an hours-long photoshoot as we greet for our interview. Her classic 2-dollar bill hangs behind her, with her stoic portrait taking center frame. Although she’s just getting off her feet after a long day, KANGIE is all smiles. When asked about her plans for her birthday KANGIE replied with a soft laugh “probably working”.
Broward County has long been home to and a central hub for hot artists, underground turned spotlight rappers, raw DJs, and Miami show headliners. KANGIE is a visionary among these, who describes her art as storytelling through design. After moving to Broward County from Peru with her mother as a child, KANGIE began the journey through discovering her prowess in the arts. A multimedia maven, she mixes South Florida influences and her Peruvian culture to create something fresh and innovative with each new collection. Arkive had the pleasure of checking in with KANGIE to discuss her career, influences, and future. “I design for myself and create for myself,” she shares near the start of our candid conversation. Ingenuity along with Broward and Peru’s influences shine through each of KANGIE’s collections allowing us to view her art through her lens exclusively.
A designer, artist, director, editor, and everything under the creative sun – ever expanding – KANGIE’s ability cannot be limited to one word or category. Her experiences in her home country and abroad have shaped her perspective and birthed collections and designs since as early as 2012. As most of her family is still in Peru and her creative family expands, KANGIE travels frequently.
While moved out of Broward and into California, KANGIE has become familiar with the scenes in both areas and speaks plainly on the importance of getting out of your current environment to gain perspective of other cultures, other people, the current state of the scene. Touching on their polar differences, KANGIE relates she has found no trouble navigating either scene. “People are different everywhere. One thing about Broward is that a lot of us tend to have a very aggressive approach because we’re hungry. Like I’m not asking… I’m taking. And that’s how it has to be there.” With that, she reveals it is easy to get stuck, take things personally or build a resentment to not receiving support. Through her travels, KANGIE has found that when you choose to move out of your city, and get around different people, you receive a different response, and people begin to take notice.
“I remember the first year I moved out of Broward, was the year I got booked the most!” KANGIE shares incredulously. “I was booked almost every month of the year; my price went up because I had to now cover travel and new expenses… and I asked myself – why did you wait?” On misconceptions about the difficulty of bringing her dreams to life, KANGIE shares a strong morsel of her truth “I think sometimes people just expect things to come together, but it does take real work, and real leadership to execute these ideas and events.”
Broward County natives and creatives will note that when we all come together and put each other on something beautiful always grows from that. We have created our own showcases, traditions, shops, studios, collections, and platforms which have since grown and enhanced the artist experience in our communities circa 2014 and beyond. KANGIE examined aloud the Broward golden age of the underground music scene, inclusive of long-lived traditions, dope Basel events, impromptu art shows in Miami and hotspots for pop up concerts. “Nobody was booking people our age, because we were like 16, 17. I remember all of us being so frustrated that we weren’t being booked,” KANGIE remarked. “Looking back, I understand. We were breaking stages damnear every show, it was getting so bad that we got banned from venues… it was so fun though,” she shares fondly remembering the times.
“I think sometimes people just expect things to come together, but it does take real work, and real leadership to execute these ideas and events.”
(via instagram @kangie2the - shot & edited by @garciaxquintero)
Most creatives connect with and collaborate with new and like artists as often as is possible in order to both expand their knowledge, and their network. Often, we meet and network with creatives who become our friends, family, tribe, mentors, or inspiration. On healthy long-term networking relationships, KANGIE shared winsome experiences in earnest. Most recently notable is her longtime friendship with artist Xavier– who actually assisted on her Arkive photoshoot for this editorial. In 2016, her friend Bear reached out to buy tickets to an art show in collaboration with XLACED, and KANGIE met Xavi through him. “We would all hit the studio and work, we all have similar backgrounds and had mutual interest in the events we were trying to throw, and we just hit it off. I’ve probably known him for about 10 years, and Bear lives in LA now too!” We love talented creatives and a longtime friendship!
Multidimensional as she is innovative, KANGIE is an artist that uses her creations to display what few words could never give justice. A Scorpio, known masters of transformation, life, death, ego, and creative energy, it’s no wonder KANGIE’s natural inclination is to create in order to do shadow work, and aid self-growth. “It’s self-work. At one point, I thought I had to wait for something, or be at a certain place in my life to make [my ideas] come to life. Then, I had a realization that I can do anything.” When asked how she keeps herself going and pushes to new heights, KANGIE shares that she is self-motivated and uses her goals, dreams, fears, as well as painful experiences as fuel to transmute energy and invent. “I’m not trying to outdo anybody but myself, my last collection, my last photoshoot. It’s cool that other people take to what I say and my message and can actually receive it in the way that I would like them to.”
KANGIE’s most recent collection is entitled ‘Foreign Woman’ and is under her Second2None Academy. Foreign Woman was created to invoke all the emotions. “I created a piece for every moment, to make people laugh, to piss people off, to make people question.” KANGIE also shared transparently what brought Second2None about. She spoke to how today’s school curriculum leaves much to be desired and is not all encompassing of skills required to flourish or be a leader in the current global society. She noticed that aside from education not being effective, students – let alone freethinkers – aren’t encouraged during their development and resources and community are not always available.
Adding to this point, KANGIE shares powerful motivation she received through a speech from the late Virgil Abloh – architect, engineer, DJ, musician, Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director, and the CEO of the streetwear label Off-White. In the speech KANGIE refers to, Virgil discussed education in depth, mainly how we have to rethink the system. Virgil elaborated on how being in a classroom isn’t the only or most effective way to learn and retain information; and ended by stating that when creating curriculum, we must approach it in a real-life way. This, along with her life experiences abroad, inspired KANGIE to break the paradigm and pioneer forward, advancing the state of art by creating a new angle with Second2None Academy.
“I’m not trying to outdo anybody but myself, my last collection, my last photoshoot. It’s cool that other people take to what I say and my message and can actually receive it in the way that I would like them to.”
KANGIE recalls her first trip to Peru, being in the cab ride and crying. Happy tears of course, “but you know, poverty here [US] is nothing like over there [Peru].” She explained that there are a lot of beneficial resources unavailable to the general population of Peru, due in large part to political corruption. In the same token KANGIE observed the state of her country and decided it was fuel for change, and intrinsic motivation to create. “It also means there is more opportunity here, to rebuild.”
When imagining a world with purposeful and supportive education systems and the curriculum that it requires, the structure, rules and regulations involved in current academia can make a mutually beneficial reconstruction seem daunting or near impossible. As KANGIE’s mission with Second2None is defying the current curriculum, this allows a freedom to create and transform without restraint. This time last year, KANGIE was jotting down ideas on how she would structure her own school, education utopia, what has been effective for her and her communities, and what cultivates growth and innovation. This year, KANGIE is debuting her new collection, Foreign Woman, and allowing supporters – new and loyal- a glimpse into who she really is. She discloses that this collection is very personal to her. “Foreign Woman ties in to Second2None Academy. It helps to explain why it is so important to me, why it’s my face on the 2-dollar bill and what it all means to me.
KANGIE is a brilliant example of the limit that simply does not exist when you dare to create. Dare to be you, out loud, and without faltering. To bridge the gap slowly but surely. To believe in yourself and tunnel vision on the goals you must reach for personal growth. “Knowing yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses helps yourself grow and helps the world,” KANGIE shares as our discussion ends. “If everybody did the extra mile of work on themselves – imagine where we could be as people.”
KANGIE is a dynamo of a self-motivated powerhouse we at Arkive eagerly look forward to seeing future works from.