Director of popular illustration collective talks to us exclusively about the exhibition

July 23, 2015

Skull & Heart’s Hear Me Roar has been extended until Tuesday 28th July!

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In celebration, we interviewed Skull & Heart’s founder and director, Skye Kelly-Barrett! Read on to find out what she said:

Hi Skye – first of all please introduce yourself!

Hi Ameena! My name is Skye Kelly-Barrett, I am an Art Director and Curator, and I am the founder of Skull & Heart.

I am London born, but grew up in Rome, Italy! Today I am (still) catching up on emails that have been ignored due to a recent cold, prepping screen prints to be sent out from Paradise, our artist-led screen print series, and planning our next project here at S&H (hint: which could be a “Hear Me Roar” book…).


So you founded Skull & Heart – can you tell us a bit more about the story behind your online gallery? 

Skull & Heart started in late 2012 as a sort of “side project”. At the time, I was working in the fashion industry which was great, but I really felt like I was blocking out a huge part of myself by not working in a creative arts field. I really wanted to find a place where I could use my education and passion for the arts in a working context. The biggest problem I found was that jobs in the creative arts (especially in galleries) are usually quite hard to find, and when you do find them, they are usually attached with the words “internship” “full time” and “unpaid”. I had just finished an unpaid position at a gallery and realised that the only viable way I would be able to work with the artists I wanted, and put on the type of exhibitions I wanted, was to do it myself. I grew up with a real DIY-punk ethos which has really helped me, and I basically decided that if I couldn’t find the position I wanted, I would do it myself! The reality of just opening a gallery in London is very grim though; without funding or a backer, it’s near impossible. So I decided to start a screen print series, which would feature a selection of upcoming and established artists, and from there work on doing events and exhibitions!


The exhibition ‘Hear Me Roar’ opened a couple of weeks ago with lots of success – what was the intention and story behind this show?

The idea behind the show came from a conversation with one of my good friends, (and talented photographer who is featured in the exhibition) Shae DeTar. We were eating food, discussing life as a female in the creative industry, and she sort of said to me, “you know, you should be using what you have as a platform, you know all these great female artists; quit talking about what you want to do, and just do it!” The past projects and exhibitions I had done with S&H had been really “male heavy”, and it really bummed me out that I had curated the projects that way. I knew there was so many incredible artists out there; women who were killing it everyday in the business, out-pitching their male counterparts and producing beautiful, ballsy artwork. So I thought to myself, “right, if i’m going to do this, it’s going to big and it’s going to feature the best artists but still stay true to our brand.”


What inspires you?

I’m really inspired by the people around me who take risks and work hard to do what they love. There is nothing more inspiring than an excited conversation with someone who is passionate about what they do.

Of course, all the artists I work with and our customers are pretty inspiring too. When you see that people are responding positively to what you put out to them, there is nothing better than that.


What’s next for Skull & Heart?

We are currently running our second screen print series Paradise which has another 2 more releases, and then we hope to have an exhibition from that, plus a couple more books should be in the making! It’s pretty non-stop.


Thanks for the chat, Skye!

All illustrations and designs are available for sale for the duration of the exhibition at a one-time-only special price, which will end with the exhibition. Check out all the work here!


Skye Kelly-Barrett | Skull & Heart


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