Revoluccia's Kellie Murphy and Natalie Wall. Photo: Brent Rowland
The Utah Arts Festival is a great place to pick up that perfect sculpture or painting that can truly show off your uniquely refined taste. The only drag about that is you can’t really carry it around with you without some unsavory rumors getting started. Luckily, Natalie Wall and Kellie Murphy of Revoluccia are around to provide handcrafted leather bags and accessories that will be sure to show your artistic side while leaving your reputation intact. SLUG had a chance to talk to these two talented ladies about life, leather and staying inspired despite all the haters out there.
SLUG: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you both from?
Natalie: Salt Lake.
Natalie: Oh, God. Are we doing the actual places? Okay, I’m from Layton. We met in the middle and live in Salt Lake now.
Kellie: I lived in Seattle for five years. I did some drumming with Panda & Angel. We opened for The Breeders.
Natalie: Fleet Foxes opened for you guys though.
Kellie: That’s right! They opened for us, and then they far surpassed us.
SLUG: Not many people can say that Fleet Foxes opened for them, though.
Kellie: Yeah. They were our bitches.
SLUG: What made you want to become artists?
Natalie: Mainly the lifestyle. We run our own business called Revoluccia, which is Italian for “small revolution.” We believe others can do it too, but I don’t want to sound too encouraging because it’s really hard work.
Kellie: It is hard work, but we get to choose our hours and we don’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves.
Natalie: We do work 14-hour days seven days a week, but it’s worth it. We can do what we want. We’re in our second year and have been accepted to every show we’ve applied to and I think that’s worth some boasting.
Kellie: It’s a lot of time, but the time pays off. You’ve got to be prepared to spend a lot of time doing it.
Natalie: Along with heat stroke every day and sleep deprivation every night.
Kellie: And drinking Pedialyte after shows. We have to replace those electrolytes somehow!
SLUG: Any other mediums that you enjoy, other than drumming?
Kellie: I paint as well—I’ve done that for a long time.
Natalie: She’s really good at it, too.
SLUG: Do your abilities as a painter come through in designing your work?
Kellie: I definitely think that I was well trained to have an eye for color and composition. These tree bracelets are a good example. A tree was the first thing I learned how to draw when I was little. The motion of starting from the trunk working my way up to the branches definitely influenced the way I sew it into leather.
SLUG: What do you do to stay inspired?
Kellie: We listen to lots of music and podcasts. I think we’ve listened to every single episode of This American Life.
Natalie: You can’t think about being inspired, though. You can’t will it. You have to start something, hate it, and then you have to finish it. At some point you are going to hate what you’re working on, but you have to tweak it until it becomes something beautiful.
SLUG: What are some things that influence your work?
Natalie: Can I say my mom?
Kellie: Her mom is so inspiring! She’s living proof that you can make it as an artist. I always thought it was impossible, but she makes it seem doable. She helped us out a lot.
Natalie: Even though I grew up around art, I actually never really had any artistic ability until I started collaborating with Kellie. We have a very symbiotic collaborative relationship. I don’t think this would be possible without each other.
SLUG: What do you like about working with leather?
Kellie: We started with books made out of old records and then we moved to fabric bags. We tried lots of different things. When we started working with leather, things just came together.
Natalie: It’s a fun medium to work with. We work with leather and stone, and Kellie is a blur with the sewing machine.
Kellie: The funny thing is, we’re vegetarians! We work with leather, but don’t actually eat cows.
Natalie: We typically use leather that would normally be thrown out, which helps to avoid wastefulness.
SLUG: Do you have the completed project in mind when you start, or do you just let your work evolve as you go?
Kellie: Both. Sometimes it’s a clear picture, but you can’t hold on too tightly to that because it does take on its own form. I’ve set out to make a design and have it come out exactly how I pictured it, but sometimes it will free flow and I don’t have a clear idea—it builds itself. It’s totally dorky, but with the trees, I like to let the branches go where they want to go. I feel like Bob Ross when he paints his happy little trees!
Natalie: I’ve tried doing the trees—I don’t know if it’s my personality, but my trees just turn out really stick like.
Kellie: But they’re cute in their own way.
Natalie: I made one for a bracelet. It sold, but I was still kind of embarrassed by it!
SLUG: Where can people purchase your work?
Kellie: We’ll be at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and the Park Silly Sunday Market on in Park City every Sunday. We’re also doing the Kimball Arts Festival, which is the first weekend in August, also in Park City.
Natalie: We have an email address, but not a website. For us, it was either set up a booth or set up a website, and we went with the booth.
Kellie: People get physically angry because we don’t have a website! But it would be too much work to keep up with it.
Natalie: It’s hard enough to keep up with face-to-face interactions, let alone online interactions. You can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to contacting them via email, Natalie and Kellie can be found kicking it old school in booth #130.