SECRET SPACES: KETNIPZ
The cute doodles of Cardiff’s Ketnipz, aka Harry Hambley, took Instagram by storm and have earned him millions of fans across the globe. With merchandise, animations and video games on the horizon, he chats to Buzz.
How did you first come up with Ketnipz?
I was in my last couple of years of high school – I was bored, just doodling away and uploading it to Instagram, and didn’t think anything would really come of it. I was doing graphic design client work on the side, and one of my clients saw what I was doing and wanted to get involved, so became my business partner in the States. I got pretty lucky with it.
Ketnipz is not really anything – just a pink, blobby, naked bean thing with a face. I wanted to make something innocent and ignorant. The cartoons are about how Bean deals with the world in different scenarios… and maybe they can give some insight into how to deal with your own problems, or at least show how not to deal with them!
A lot of your messages are very motivational – do they come from you? What is your process?
There are subject matters which I try to explore and one of them is mental health, but in less of a preachy way. Personally, I’ve gone through some stuff, and I look back on that, and think: how could I have calmed myself down or gained perspective? And how can I communicate that through my work? It’s not a rulebook or a bible, just an honest take.
You’ve accomplished so much at 20. Where do you get the drive from?
I’ve always been a bit industrious. I sold cookies in school to make some pocket money. I didn’t come from a very wealthy background and I’ve always wanted independence. My family have always been supportive – my mum and dad always wanted me to do something in art. I didn’t do the whole uni thing and I’m probably better for it.
Who inspires you artistically?
Tove Jansson who wrote the Moomins is great; Pendleton Ward from Adventure Time, and typically Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss have so much character development and personality.
How do you feel about being an inspiration to other young people?
If there is someone who’s in their bedroom all day drawing doodles, not knowing what to do in the future, then that could be cool because for me, a lot of my inspiration came from people who just stuck with it.
What’s the next step?
I’m starting to get into animation and working on a video game, which is fun. I’m working on a Visa to go out to the States. Cardiff is my base but, in terms of working, the rest of the team are out there and it’s easier to make something when you’re all in one place.
If you could recommend one place in Wales to a first-time visitor that’s off the beaten track, where would it be and why?
The gardens at St Fagans are great to visit during the springtime! Or Sully Bay, which is a bit more out the way. I just really like the views from there and it’s a chill place to walk around.
Check out Harry’s work at www.ketnipz.com!