Moving from Philadelphia to rural Pennsylvania, a remote, rundown farmhouse from the 1800s has given Kell time and isolation to work on art and writing. Living in the middle of nowhere really spurred her interest in social media. She believes that a great way to escape the depression of mundaneness is to turn it into a joke, which is what Kell has done with her Instagram account, using original memes she's made, "artful" selfies, and short videos.
What was the best part about growing up in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania?
I actually didn't grow up in a farmhouse. I moved from my one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia to a farmhouse in rural PA recently (summer 2016). I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and lived in the city of Philadelphia throughout college and most of my young adult life. Transitioning from city life to rural life is weird. My partner and I moved here under the deal that we would live for free if we fixed up this old run-down house. So we really just did it to isolate ourselves and have time to work on art. Living in the middle of nowhere really spurred my interest in broadcasting a curated version of my life on social media, specifically Instagram, as I had no one else to interact with and my FOMO was through the roof. When you live outside of a "hip urban scene" you realize how important it is to be actively practicing art in order to not lose a sense of your identity.
How do you manage to turn working in an office into something 'cool'?
The challenge is what really interests me. I feel like my creative ideas are best when they come as a solution to a challenge. At surface value, office life is extremely uncool, boring, colorless, monotonous, conformist, the definition of "normie." Throughout pop culture, however, the next "big thing" or trend tends to come out of something that is dated, forgotten and widely considered uncool. The way I entertain myself at my job when no one is around is what makes it cool. My day-to-day boredom is its own kind of performance, and performing boredom for the internet is incredibly fun. A great way to escape the depression of banality is to turn it into a joke, which is really what I've done with my Instagram account, using original memes I've made, "artful" selfies, and short videos.
Office life is completely absurd. Like if you step back from your work and think about what you're actually doing, it seems completely meaningless because you are just a small cog in a big machine outputting some commodity that is just a small cog in a bigger machine. When you're at a job for a while, you learn all the "terms of art" surrounding what you do, which often includes many acronyms and abbreviations. So when you go home at night to tell your lover all about your day, you're almost speaking a different language to them that has absolutely nothing to do with their own life experience and then you're just sitting at the table over a box of middle-shelf wine explaining why an RTF for an OTR in the RT and FC made you cry in the bathroom during your lunch break. So that, in turn, allows me to creatively manipulate my experience at my office job to be interpreted by the outside world as this dark, intriguing, abstract thing.
Also, I feel like business casual as alt. fashion is widely unexplored. It's this idea of looking rather clean cut on the outside but being a totally nuts, free spirit on the inside, and how to let that shine through despite having to adhere to a dress code. Like so many rock musicians in the early 60s wore suits and skirts and dress shoes but you know they were doing tons of acid backstage and having loads of casual sex.
What is your favourite meme?
My favorite memes that I've made are the skateboarding boss lady, the evil yuppie handbook and the work PC passwords Boobs!69, etc. My favorite memes of all time will always be LOLcats.
What is the craziest thing you have ever done in the office?
I considered live-streaming myself shaving my head at my desk but decided against it because I have really bad dry scalp. The craziest thing I've actually done at the office is spill Kefir on the carpet and lick it up on my hands and knees while taking selfies with the self-timer on my phone. These photos have since been deleted, sorry TMZ.
What would happen if your co-workers found out about your social media existence?
Omg I'd probably get fired! How great would that be for my personal brand though? I would consider that "making it" in "this business."
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Sipping a dirty martini while cruising down the side of Mt. Shasta on a pink Razor Scooter with 15 minutes before clock-in at my job as Head Content Creator for a popular New Age digital media agency and not giving one freaking heck.
Images courtesy of Kell Casual
Interview Kardelen Yuce