Skye Bolluyt is a freelance illustrator and entrepreneur in Brooklyn, NY who also operates a home goods retail website under the brand Midnight Skye. She is also one of the youngest professors at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA. In our interview, we talk about visibility, empowerment, and the holiday spirit.

Your work feels like a celebration of femininity, and it ranges from light and fun to wonderfully defiant and fierce. Do you have a target in mind for how you want people to feel when they think of your body of work?

Ahh, thank you! I jive with that. I think every time I’m creating a piece, I’m considering the emotional experience that I’ve gone through and infusing it into this. So in that regard, my goal for each piece is to communicate an experience to people and for them to feel like maybe something that may have been undefined in their life now has a visual to help them reflect and feel connected. So those experiences tend to be reflections of my girls’ nights out with my dear besties here in NYC, or the current world affair I’m feeling passionate about, to my moment as a woman interacting in my own body, mind, and traversing this earth. I believe in sharing stories to help us all feel seen, and I think in order to communicate a message, to affect a reaction or change or ripple, you’ve got to make a wave. I would love people to feel empowered and seen, celebrating their everyday life!

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You've got quite a client roster and a number of awards under your belt. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’ve had the absolute honor of working with some really inspiring people and their companies! I think a relatable answer would be illustrating tarot cards for NBC’s fall TV show lineup last year, but an answer that hits even closer to my heart is cultivating my own shop where I get to have full creative license to illustrate products straight from my soul and my love for celebrating the complicated feminine experience, and merchandise it all on products like rose gold metal lighter cases or compacts. It encompasses all that I love: being my own boss, branding, drawing, and connecting. It’s been a challenging journey (it’s not easy to have confidence in a fully self-initiated endeavor), but one I want to learn even more from it and grow!

Let’s talk holidays. What do you like, what don’t you like, and how is December different in NYC than elsewhere?

Oooh, the holiday season! I was that little girl that never believed in Santa—even as a child—I was too skeptical for my own good, reflecting on the absurdity of a big man fitting down our chimney (and everyone’s chimneys in the same night)! My characters in my art are often sporting a dubious side-eye, and I suppose it’s because that’s the suspicious curiosity I feel in my soul. I simply MUST unearth all answers always! And I find magic in everyday moments, so when NYC dons its collectively-prescribed magic suit for the holidays I crack a little smile. I’ve lived in Philadelphia, PA over the holiday season, and I think NYC takes anything that a metropolitan society does, but does it BIGGER! More extreme. So for holidays?! Omg, it’s like nowhere else. I bet even the North Pole has nothing on NYC for the holiday season! So to me, the holiday season is an opportunity to share some hot cocoa with my family and partake in holiday art markets. The aspect I do love most about holidays in NYC, is not what the city promotes, but the buzz that everyone in the city shares. We are, on one hand, stressed, coordinating our escapes to family homes and wrapping up our years in our careers, but also connecting over surviving and thriving one more year and having cheers and a laugh together over toasty drinks. These moments make my heart grow three sizes and are the true sparkles in the season.

What do you love about our world today? What are you most grateful for?

I’m grateful for the people. The people that make my life worth living! There is so much pain right now in the world, and so many problems from social media and harmful powers, but I am constantly full of wonder to be able to connect with so many individuals, even across the world, facilitated by the good that technology offers. I believe we are creatures of companionship, and that companionship can come in many forms. A significant other sure, but also wonderful friends who foster your growth, family members who you constantly find new ways to love as you last in each other’s lives, co-workers who you didn’t expect to become true lifelines in your everyday experience, the sweet lady who makes your bagel at the bodega every Monday morning and asks you about your weekend. I LIVE for these moments and souls. I love the kooky, interesting, wonderful people that keep the heartbeat of the world going, and mine too.

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What music is playing in your studio these days?

I must admit I’m one of those wholesome psychos who religiously listen to their Liked Songs playlist on Spotify like it’s an album! I play this ever-evolving playlist while I work, or put on a podcast (like Why Won’t You Date Me? by Nicole Byer) when in the rendering stage of an illustration (vs. the conceptualization stage). I would say the newest artist I’ve added to my long list is Komang, her beats keep me going and allow me to find my flow in the artwork!

What’s on the horizon for you, creatively?

Some endeavors I’m working on are little secrets at this moment that I can’t quite share yet, though I’m bursting to do so!! But I can disclose, this was my first year being a creative director for a local NYC-based art market, Queens Craft Brigade, and that unlocked a community that has truly inspired my art and my life. I’m diving deeper into this maker's scene as well as staying curious and irreverent, absorbing the world through more travel, I hope, and reflecting it in the mirror of my illustrations in my shop and products.

Follow Skye’s work on Instagram at @midnight.skye, on her website, and her shop