N.Y.L.O.N. Q and A with Thimali Kodikara
Thimali is an all round renaissance woman. She is super creative, flowing with ideas, not only is she a sassy and savvy brand strategist and consultant, she is also a graphic designer, illustrator, and recording artist.
Thimali I salute you.
1. How Long Have you Been in NYC?
6 years, but I deserve to say 26, its been a trip
2. Where do you Live?
Prospect Heights/Park Slope depending on who i’m talking to.
3. What Brought you to NYC?
My move to New York? Adventure in one word. A lad (man) is probably the truth.
Although I prefer to credit my relationship with New York to my first trip here at 19, but my best mate traveled to Ghana the same year. She met a wily scrap of lads from New York on a beach, and fell in love with one of them (haven’t we all..).
She comes home to my flat, cooing, “you’ve gotta come with me and find out if it’s love!!”. To which I say, “I don’t know who these people are, what they do
… Alright. F*** it. Lets go.” We go. And I’m their bridesmaid three years later.
The boys were part of a non-profit art movement 'The Freestyle Arts Association', and were doing incredible projects at schools & colleges citywide. We started a triangle of collaborative work whilst I was studying at Central St. Martins, between my shared studio in Whitechapel, theirs in Long Island City & my mates in Cambridge. We’re celebrating ten years of knowing each other this year.
4. What Keep you Busy?
I freelance for an exceptional London-based branding consultancy which keeps me out-of-state most of the month. When I’m not doing that, I’m working on my freshly-launched new company designing brand strategy & identity for bright, innovative start-ups. We’re in a new economic era, and I believe it should be prefaced by doing all we can to help small businesses get a leg up. Small businesses coax strong communities into fruition, and I live to see that happen! All my executions entertain a guerrilla attitude because it lends itself to interactivity, but I’m also a Left-brained soul, so they’re always painfully and meticulously thought out.
I’m also about to complete my first record singing & producing with Eka.
It’s a collaborative project between myself, Jason Drake (a.k.a super-multi-instrumentalist Cassettes Wont Listen) & Devang Shah (percussionist & founding member of Dragons Of Zynth). We’ve all evolved listening to anything we can get our hands on, but Eka’s natural frequency will span violent beats, to soulful house, to Brooklyn noise. We’re being represented by Dope Lotus, which was founded as a collective of artists & musicians, not just for a musical genre.
5. What do you Miss about London?
1. Sense of humor. But no doubt everyone on this blog has said that.
2. Telly. I’m watching a BBC series on the History of Maths via YouTube right now. Can you see that shit on the CW11? Seriously.
3. The pub. Again obvious, but Londoners know how to survive the cold months better than New Yorkers for this reason. A pub lunch - a few solid pints - a fresh pack of Golden Virginia - the Saturday Guardian crossword - a roaring fire - the football - and all your mates who moved to live five minutes away from you so they can finally call your pub, their ‘local’.
4. Women. London’s ladies are fiesty, smart, confident, mouthy, independent, intelligent, and most importantly, aren’t afraid to use it.
5. My family.
6. What do you Love about New York?
1. It does freedom in a way the rest of the States hasn’t figured out yet. New York is all free living & free thinking.
2. It has an overwhelmingly powerful creative energy that is completely unavoidable.
3. It’s non judgmental, If you have a great idea, there is no hierarchy to climb. You just do it. People will applaud you for your effort, not only the final product.
4. Community. You can be part of an accessible microcosm or macrocosm, depending on how you choose to live.
5. The Manhattan skyline coming over the bridges, never, ever, tires..
7. Is there a dose of Britishness you would like to Inject into NYC and what is It?
Talking about foreign policy, and your sex life, both in graphic detail, in the same sitting. Same sentence if you can manage it.
8. What Inspires You?
Brilliant people doing brilliant things. Everyone has something to offer you can’t acquire by yourself, so I try to talk to everybody.
9. Complete this sentence, ‘You know your a New Yorker When…’
.. you traveled to Philly to campaign, secured Pennsylvania, and won Obama’s election for the Democrats.
.. your accent is thought to be from southern Jersey.
.. you know Kip from TV On The Radio.
10. Has your Accent Changed a Little….
Not really, and I like it that way. I was born a Londoner, but I’ll plum it up
so Americans can understand me better. Which more often than not backfires
in obscene ways when someone attempts to mimic my accent. That’s about
2-6 times a day.
11. Survival tip to living in New York.
Move to Brooklyn.
Once you’ve done that, don’t think all cab drivers are going to take you home, even if you’re willing to pay, and it’s the law. Get in the cab with a minor knowledge of South Asian and/or Middle Eastern politics and worry about it when you get to Dekalb Av.
Thank you to Thimali, whose album will be out soon, so watch this space.