Sigil Kiss is the property of Adelei Wade, a local artist and clothing designer living with a number of chronic illnesses. Her work is strongly influenced by J-fashion genre yami kawaii, or “sick cute” and she likes to layer unsettling elements and references to physical and mental health challenges into the cute visual themes of her designs. In her own words, Adelei describes her creative process and the yami kawaii influence on her portfolio as follows:
Theres a shock factor to it. A lot of designers use bright colors or cutesy themes to draw the eye, but the image has meaning. It sends a message that many people would sooner ignore because they’re encultured to look away . . . It brings the taboo theme into the stoplight, so people can stop and ask themselves ‘this is a problem, how can I help?’ I feel like as a society, we ignore problems until they’re shoved in our faces. This goes doubly for people suffering from unseen illnesses.It’s a hard line to toe, especially with our society being so sensitive to the discussion. I generally keep my stuff dealing with the chronic illness side of things or more pop-culture inspired designs . . . I come up with a lot of my own themes based on my own or my friend’s experiences. For instance, the “Take Your Medicine” print was made for my friends who need frequent injections[. . .], like HRT and insulin. The Zombie Sweetheart print was made to showcase a maid that was “kawaii” but also not traditionally cute, in that she’s bigger and…a zombie LOL. Most of the time I just draw what comes to mind.When I’m stuck, I usually look at other artists that I admire or listen to music that covers these themes. I tend to stick with pastels or neon palettes, though sometimes I venture out. I like the appeal of flat colors on shirt designs, but I’m branching out now that I have a more reliable garment printer.