Local Creative: Isabella Killoran

the storyteller


When we first met Isabella Killoran at our collaborative exhibition ‘Waist’ with AnyoneGirl last fall we were completely mesmerized by the movement of her tall, willowy figure wrapped in a classic trench. She was only preparing for her performance later that evening and surveying the room to begin constructing her thoughts regarding props and marking the space.

After gaining the courage to finally speak to the mysterious figure in trench we learned the routine was decidedly thrown together and impromptu for the special event. What Isabella considered spontaneous permeated so much emotion that is was obvious the audience was left captivated by not only her striking beauty but her gentle, delicate motions that conveyed such strength. All while maintaining a playful air that she let us all take in. With a bit of flour and simple tap water, Isabella projected pushing the limitations and boundaries of domestication and at the same times the joys that we feel by those same defined roles. The performance proved complicated and liberating all at once.

Isabella is a muse to many and her work is matched by few. She experiments with media in the form of live performance, video and photography. We’ve chosen some of Isabella’s past shorts and imagery that we felt spoke to the certain homebound feelings that come to us in the winter months to share with you. Isabella is always pushing the boundaries of her art and we can hardly wait to see what she dreams up next. We hope you love her work as much as we do, enjoy her thoughts on an uncomplicated glass of wine with bread and cheese, and what beauty means to her.


Background and upbringing can pay such an important role in creative work, would you please share some of your most significant memories?

I am the fourth of five brothers and sisters. We grew up without television and without many of the computer games and toys our friends had, so we were just forced to make our own and continuously come up with new waves of having fun with whatever we had available. Dressing up was always my favorite, I remember turning one same outfit into so many different characters only by changing details here or wearing it the other way round. My three older brothers were closer in age and my little brother was too young to follow some of my games, so I also got used to playing alone, although always counted with this invisible friend, Gala. I am very grateful to my parents for the simple upbringing they gave us. I know it has become part of my way of doing things, discovering the hidden possibilities in the most ordinary things. It is a fun challenge and somehow manages to always keep me motivated. 

If a stranger stumbled across your Instagram account today, what would they be most interested to know about you?

Hmm.. I don’t know. I think IG is like having a peek into someone’s life, may it be more about their personal everyday, or just an insight into their aesthetics and style. In my case I like to confuse and never reveal too much who I am or who my friends are, so I guess most people wonder what is it I do in my everyday. 


What kind of foods do you find yourself preparing + cooking at home when spending time alone? 

I am a very practical cook and never spend too much time preparing any dish, but I do like to play around and invent new recipe combinations. My formula is good quality ingredients and keep it simple. A freshly toasted piece of bread with cheese and a glass of wine will make wonders to me. I love vegetables in their endless cooking possibilities and, coming from Spain, seafood is a favorite, although NYC is not easy place for that! 


Do you think there is a time of day when you create your best work?

Maybe in the mornings? Not sure, I can create anytime of day I guess, although if it is something I want to shoot lighting is important. I have surprised myself being most inspired after positive interactions with other people: a conversation with a friend, some good news. Music often sets me in the mood to create too.


Who are some of your favorite media creators, photographers and artists?

Oh my, this list could go on forever. Too many! Chantal Akerman, Yvonne Rainer, Helena Almeida, Ban Jas Ader, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Trisha Brown… followed by a long list of strong female characters throughout history. I am very inspired by cinema too. By the stories as much as by its photography, Pasolini, Antonioni, Varda, Bergman, Victor Erice, Louis Malle… 


What does beauty mean to you? What captivates your attention?

Beauty is balance, harmony, equilibrium. To me, it is something that is intriguing too, that takes me somewhere else with my mind that makes me want to keep on looking, keep on searching, so I learn about myself and the world and reality surrounding me, and hopefully, this way, keep on attracting more beauty to my life. 


Do you have any mentors or people who have guided you throughout your career? 

I have had many mentors along the way, some I don't even know their names or can even remember their face, but with their advice, support, feedback or just with their solid consistent example, have helped me give shape to the person I am today. I am a firm believer that most people you encounter in life are there to show us something. 


New York can become a bit of an energy drain at times. Do you have a quiet place where you can re-energize? 

I find the Lincoln centre library to be a perfect spot for this, just being in the space relaxes me. Otherwise walking alone by the river or sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park and just observe. I love wondering alone the streets in the city at nighttime too, with no direction. 


Separating work life from personal life can be difficult, have you set any rules for yourself?

No, I am pretty bad at that. I wish my personal and work life were even more blurred! I would love to see them as one in a way. 


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