KPS Grads in Action: Simon Kalil Borst
Between the Lines: Kalamazoo Coloring Book
Comic Artist Depicts Places, People of Kalamazoo
Can Free College Save American Cities?
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 and returned to my hometown, Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I began working on a variety of art and design projects.
While working at the People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo (PFC) from 2013 to 2016, I designed event posters, promotional chalkboards, and researched and illustrated profiles of farmers and PFC partners for their quarterly newsletter. I taught a comics-making class for middle school-aged children through Kalamazoo City Parks and Recreation, and published several nonfiction and journalistic comics through Second Wave Media, work for which I was awarded a Kalamazoo Artistic Initiative (KADI) grant from the Kalamazoo Arts Council in 2016.
As a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, I’ve created work for nearly 100 organizations, including Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, NeuroLeadership Institute, InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA), and Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Much of this work was created in partnership with Boiling Pot Media, as Head of Graphics, or with Brakeman Design, as an assistant designer.
Independently, I've held a number of exhibitions of drawings and other artwork. I created the Kalamazoo Coloring Book in partnership with Bookbug Independent Bookstore in 2016, contributed to the Kalamazoo Calendar Project in 2019, and worked on projects from product labels to mayoral campaigns.
My work has included interior and exterior signage, print items and small publications, video and animation, brand identity, copy writing, web prototypes, and iconography and illustration. User interface design, brand style and implementation across platforms, typography and type design, and marketing campaign development are areas I’m presently spending the most professional time, and in which I have a driving interest.
I’m currently based in Birmingham, Michigan, where I live with my wife, Katie. I’m an avid, though relatively short-range cyclist, a soccer player on brief hiatus, and I’ll begin a graphic novel one of these days.