Kimothy Joy is a creative design studio based in Denver, Colorado. The focus of Kimothy's artwork is to promote kindness, social change and women's rights.
MADE LOKAL: You seem to be so positive in your messaging! Do you have a very positive personality in general?
KIMOTHY JOY: I think so. I definitely have a darker, sullen side but my main objective is to show that kindness and positivity are not weak, “fluffy” sentiments. It saddens me that so many dismiss it as such. I think we need more people who proclaim these messages with tenacity and conviction. That’s how great social change occurs. Just look at MLK and Ghandi. These were their messages and I believe in their approaches. Maria Popova recently said, “There is so much goodness in the world, and we just kind of have to show up for it and refuse to leave.” I refuse to give up on kindness, empathy, love, all of it, even if I don’t necessary feel inspired everyday. I also paint when I’m the most discouraged, confused, or hurting. Painting these things helps cheer me up and I’m in awe of the way it has resonated with others.
MADE LOKAL: What is the biggest motivation for your work?
KIMOTHY JOY: I think the current political climate motivates me to paint messages that I feel are missing from the conversation. And the inspiring women around me. And finally, but probably most importantly, my mother inspires me daily to do my utmost everyday to find joy in life and share that with others. The phrase she had posted on our kitchen fridge during her last year of life was “Find joy in life. Share joy with others.” That message kept her focused on doing whatever she could within her circumstances and that quote sustains me today.
MADE LOKAL: Do you have children?
KIMOTHY JOY: Nope! Unless you mean my plant babies and my 10 month old German Shepherd puppy, Charlie.
MADE LOKAL: What is the story behind your tattoo?
KIMOTHY JOY: I have two tattoos. My most recent one is a bloom of flowers. My first one is on my wrist that reads “Joy” in my mother’s handwriting. I got that one shortly after she passed away in 2009 as a way to have a daily visual cue to find joy no matter the circumstances and to remember that it is possible, even in the face of death. She also gave me that middle name so seemed like she wanted to pass this message onto me. I just had the flowers done on my arm in January, after thinking I probably wouldn’t get anymore tattoos, but felt strongly compelled to wear something proudly on my body that represented strong, feminine energy. What better symbol that flowers? It also was a way for me to recommit myself to the cause of standing for the rise of women and girls in my lifetime.
MADE LOKAL: What keeps you going throughout the day? (what’s in your coffee mug ;) )
KIMOTHY JOY: What’s in my ‘Make America Kind Again’ coffee mug? I seriously drink from it probably every morning. And my partner, Gregory, is a savvy coffee maker so he showed me how to brew a mean pour over. Coffee definitely does the trick for daily motivation as well as constantly streaming conscious elevating podcasts like On Being and having hopeful heart to hearts with friends.
MADE LOKAL: When did you become focused on feminism and the promotion of female empowerment?
KIMOTHY JOY: Female empowerment has slowly evolved to be the focus of my work over the last 3-4 years. I think I first had to recognize my own power and ability and build trust in myself. That really didn’t happen until my late 20’s and right around when I turned 30 (I’m 32 now). But as I became more comfortable, accepting, and gracious with myself as well as rooted in my own personal strength, I began to realize how many other women and girls were struggling or held back from finding their own strength. I started volunteering and working on creative projects with local organizations that empower young at-risk girls like Smart Girl and then eventually Soul Day Foundation. I didn’t necessary categorize my work as feminist. I think it’s a given that we should all be in favor of progressing the rights of women, girls, and essentially, all marginalized humans. But recently, I’ve been proud to be considered a feminist artist because I want everyone to realize it’s taking a stand for human rights. It’s a no brainer.
MADE LOKAL: You proudly support Emily’s List. Why is this organization so important to you?
KIMOTHY JOY: Yes. I think Emily’s List is a worthy organization to donate % of my online shop profits to because they’ve been working since 1985 to train more Democratic pro-choice women to run for office. I keep seeing posts shared online asking the question, Would we be dealing with all of these anti-choice legislation if more women were in office? Probably not. I stand by Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s response to the question “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?” and her reply, “Until there are nine.” We’ve been living in a white male dominated government since the U.S. was established and I’m ready for women to step up everywhere and give it a try.
MADE LOKAL: What is your dream for the future of women?
KIMOTHY JOY: More women in leadership roles. I want more women to “go for it”. Whether that be asking for a raise, applying to a VP of a company, starting their own business, expressing themselves more freely and openly - I want women and girls to become unleashed in their power. I’m anxious to see what our world would look like when women collectively rise up. And the exciting thing is we’re beginning to see this. The revolution/resistance is being led by women.
MADE LOKAL: You are the Founder of TedxRiNo! What inspired you to take this on and how has this experience been?
KIMOTHY JOY: Yes! I was inspired to start it because the RiNo neighborhood in Denver was the first area I lived in when I moved from Ohio about 8 years ago. The way it was transformed into a creative arts community with a conscious was admirable and I thought that the ideas and ingenuity that was occurring there should be shared worldwide. What better way to do that than through the TEDx network? I wanted a way for more thought leaders to get their ideas out there. I think small, local grassroots programs like these can transform societies. The experience was uplifting and challenging at the same time. I had never started a program before or organized events such as these. I learned a lot, connected with amazing people and am proud that the program is going strong.
MADE LOKAL: When did you make the ‘Made America Kind Again’ Tee? How many times have you worn it since then?
KIMOTHY JOY: I made it about 2 days after the election. I was so heartbroken and appalled I could barely get out of bed. But when I did, I painted that and shared it. Then feedback poured in about making shirts, signs, etc. I was clearly not alone and it kind of took off from there. I also wanted to find a way, albeit small at first, to donate money to the Southern Poverty Law Center which combats hate groups.
MADE LOKAL: What do you love the most about living in Denver?
KIMOTHY JOY: I love the people and the sunshine. The overall, unassuming, relaxed vibe. Also, the creative community here is so stellar. I’m in awe of everyone around me and the what they create.
MADE LOKAL: Where is your favorite coffee house near your home?
KIMOTHY JOY: Black Eye Coffee! I have to say that because my partner co-owns it. Haha. But really, it is my favorite and that’s how we met. And my other is Amethyst coffee which is another beautiful, inviting space owned by the brilliant entrepreneur Elle Taylor. Major girl crush.
MADE LOKAL: What type of services do you offer?
KIMOTHY JOY: I offer custom illustrations and portrait work, book illustrations, graphic design, and photography.
Kimothy prefers to work with individuals and companies who are making the world a better place for all. If you are interested in contacting Kimothy for design or illustration services, you may reach her: