Titty Hawk

Maker Spotlight

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Once in awhile you come across a brand or company with the best name, and Titty Hawk takes the cake! The jewelry line from Brooklyn-based designer, Laila K. Lott (another amazing name, right?!) embraces all things fun and trashy. Combined with Laila’s obsession with culture and design, this blend of the beautiful and the disgusting yields a unique line of jewelry and clothing.

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?

I’ve actually had the business name TittyHawk since I was about 19. I had started making little one-of-a-kind boob necklaces for friends just for fun, and then, on a cross-country road trip, I met an awesome old hippy in Texas who told me about the legendary KittyHawk women of Tennessee. They are basically wild sex-crazed mountain women who ensnare traveling men like sirens and have their way with them. I’ve never found any other info on them so that lady was probably nuts, but how could I not be into that?

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Have you always been passionate about design?

I grew up running around my dad and uncle’s studio in Dallas, working with clay and ink at my grandmother’s crazy bright red and purple house. Making art and jewelry has always been what I’ve wanted to do, and my family was so encouraging and amazing. I was also fortunate enough to go to an arts high school which totally saved me and taught me all the essentials that I still utilize today.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

Four years ago, I started working for a jeweler who, in turn, hired me to be apart of the in-house production team at Catbird right when it was starting. They taught me the basics of metal smithing, and through that company I met so many amazing and talented jewelers who have shared their knowledge and advice. As for my silk-screen work, I learned in this process in college but didn’t get back into it until a few years ago when my best friend (and badass artist) Lena Hawkins started running the print shop at Flux Factory. Printing clothes was a great way for me to incorporate my art into my line and have a reason to still set aside time to draw and collage.

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What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

I think (or hope) my work is different because it’s usually a strange mixture of ancient symbols and designs that I’ve grown up around and the dirty, pervy, trashy imagery from popular culture and vintage ads that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. I’ve always had trouble simplifying my designs and eventually stopped trying and just went with it, haha.

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

Free time, health, money, sanity. Being a full-time jeweler is pretty rough on your back, hands, eyes, and lungs – so that’s been a challenge for sure. But those are just some things all artists have to endure and await the glorious day when we can afford to pay for help.  Hopefully that day comes before my thumbs fall off.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

New York influences me by constantly kicking my ass and then surprising me with new awesome opportunities and trashy treasures. I’ve been here for eleven years and have such a love-hate relationship with this city. It’s really hard not to get discouraged and also depressed by how the city has changed and how hard it is just to get by here, let alone as an artist. But it’s also the weirdest, most eclectic place I’ve ever experienced and I am constantly in awe of the beautiful and disgusting things this city is still serving up if you take the time to look around.

 

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

To be honest, I really don’t want to be anybody’s boss, even my own. I still work two other jobs and create my work in-between, and I am definitely excited for the day when I can only work on what I want. However, it takes so much discipline to be your own boss and it’s been one of my biggest struggles. I do it because creating art and wearable art is what makes me happy, and I knew I would never be content keeping that as a background hobby.

What are some inspirations for your work?

My most obvious inspirations are images from my Egyptian heritage, objects collected while traveling around the world, old hypergraphics and symbols, vintage magazines, taboo sexual desires, drugs, and weird mysterious trash. But aside from all that obvious junk, I am really inspired by my friends. That sounds super cheesy, but I am insanely lucky to have found all the best little fun creative freaks of the world. They are raw and real, and kind of suck at social media and self-promotion, and care more about making what’s true to themselves, and experiencing as much as possible than obtaining superficial success. Don’t get me wrong, we all want to be successful, and trying hard to get there and I’m not trying to poopoo anyone else’s achievements. I’m just grateful that the people closest to me who I can travel and collaborate with are so genuinely talented and strange. I don’t think I would have the balls to make what I truly want to make if I didn’t have them around. It’s scary to visit the dark side alone.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Make what you want to make and don’t worry too much about the rest. I think for creative people it’s difficult to shift into creating marketable goods without betraying their own vision.  I personally have always struggled with comparing my own work to other peoples’ and letting that affect what I think I should make, and how I think I should present my brand to the world.  In the end the things that people like the most are the things I enjoyed making the most.

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All things Titty Hawk:

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