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Meet the Maker Month: Khal of Anti.Anthropology

Tell us about yourself My name is Khal, I am 30 y.o, non-binary, queer NBPOC. Any pronouns work. They/them are always welcomed.

Why sell plants? First and foremost I grew up around plants and I remember how joyous our space was. So I wanted to bring that joy to others! Also as a BIPOC, plants are and generationally have been a healing practice for me and my community. Therefore I had a need to show and teach folk how healing they can be.

When did you launch ANTI? I launched ANTI-ANTHROPOLOGY a year before the pandemic hit as I have always loved decor, plants & antiquing, and everything art. So I poured my heart and energy into researching how to set up an online store, how to create content, product photography, pricing. How to propagate plants and how to forage moss. I learned by trial and error and still am learning.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. I am a plant sitter/doctor. I offer plant sitting services for folks when they go on vacation or leave town haha. No word of a lie, some of my clients have over 60+ plants and sometimes leave town for days at a time so someone has got to water and feed them! And that person is me! I also do house calls for pest control and dying plants. We have an 80% success rate! But now with the restrictions, I am not offering this service.

What does being a Maker mean to you? To me, it means seeing a concept come to fruition. From an idea, swimming amongst thousands of others comes to its physical form.

What motivates you to create? A passion for learning. It drives me to want to learn more and create bigger and better things.

How have you developed your skills? I believe in applied learning. So for me, it’s always been trial and error. And what better way to develop a skill than to get your hands dirty right?!

Where are you from and how does that influence your work? That’s is a very layered question that could be answered in many different ways. But to put it simply and as I stand now, I am from North Africa, Morocco but I consider myself a Toronto girl. My Moroccan roots and culture are very important to me and I feel the need to keep them alive, especially here in Canada. Therefore a lot of my decor aesthetic and inspiration comes from there. Loud, bright, warm, lots of patterns and let’s not forget comfort! As per Toronto...Well, it made me the fierce person that I am now... and all my work, especially when it comes to our marketing and branding for ANTI is influenced by the big city.

How have your life experiences shaped your art? We could talk about this all day! My life experiences have shaped my art and transformed it many times. Let’s just say I started out painting, my practice was in resin and recycled pigment. I had a somewhat successful little few years in the visual art scene. Somehow 8 years later, the paintbrushes used to paint those canvases are now being used to create terrariums and vivariums.

How has the pandemic impacted your creativity? Personally, It hasn’t... or so I say lol. But all kidding aside, the pandemic, if anything, has given me the space and time to put that creativity to good use.

How do you apply your creativity to other aspects of your life? My life is creativity. Li-te-ral-ly. From the moment I get up until I go to bed, I live and breathe for being creative. I love to build my own furniture, upcycle items, make extremely colorful meals & even learn cool but non-useful ways to fold towels.

What themes do you pursue in your work? The one that strikes me as the most important one is "mindfulness" and a close second is sustainability.

What is your favorite thing you've created and why? Everything I create is my favorite!! But if I had to pick one at the moment... it would have to be our "Pot Head" bag because who doesn’t love a good plant pun.

Tell us about your first sale Ouhhhh. So long ago. It was a lovely lamp, art deco style with a turquoise crocodile skin lampshade. And I will always remember the lovely woman. She’s still is a customer of ours!

What is your dream project? Short term dream would be a boutique on wheels or a kiosk at Jean-Talon Market. Long term goal is to have a store location in Canada and one in Morocco.

Do you accept commissions? For terrariums yes! We will even build them in your own glass vessel. As an example, I had a couple who wanted me to make one in a bottle of wine they drank on their honeymoon. As per kokedama, I can take requests depending on the availability of the plant the client is seeking.

What type of art do you like to consume? Music and prinntttttssss! I love art! I am currently working on a wall of just prints from Montreal artists

Describe your creative process In three words. Messy, efficient, and relaxing!

How do your interests shift from one project to the next? I'm always jumping from home decor to plants/plant care and back but interest doesn’t shift per se, as I put plants and home decor under one umbrella. I would say my approach shifts from one project to another.

Describe your latest project At the moment. I have been working on a line of plant care products and accessories. It’s a lot of work but I am super excited!

How do you know when you've finished a project? Are you ever really done tho? Hahah. I find there’s always fine-tuning that can be done and/or adjustments. Therefore never done, always improving.

What are your long-term goals? A self-sustainable home and farm in Morocco on my grandparent’s land.

What steps are you taking to ensure your growth as a maker? Many. Too many. Some easy, some not so much. But I live for the race, it keeps me inspired, creative and motivated. My favorite one is always taking time every 3 months to assess things, see what worked, what didn’t work. What collaboration could work on and with who? Also as a mental health practitioner, in my day-to-day life, I like to do a check-in with myself to see where I’m at and how I feel as burnouts are a real thing. Even in the creative world. Especially nowadays when we have to push out new content every day!

What inspires you? It may sound odd, but happiness always inspires me to create. So I always am making sure to seek out things, moments, and people that make me feel that way.

What initially drew you to your craft? I grew up around my mother thrifting and having the greenest of thumbs. She literally could touch a dying plant, and a week later it’s alive and thriving! I swear my mom is an earth fairy.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your work? Colorful. Original. Essential.

What story do you want to tell with your work? A story of perseverance, growth, and healing.

Why are humans creative?

To convey things that perhaps simple words cant.

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