Ceramist Katie Kimmel Talks New Row DTLA Pop-Up, Her Talk Show Father’s Artistic Talents and the One Commission She Refused to Do

Katie Kimmel says her parents – Jimmy Kimmel and his first wife, Gina – didn’t blink when she told them she wanted to be an artist.

“There was no shock,” says Katie, a ceramist who is best known for her whimsical dog and cat sculptures. (Full disclosure: This reporter commissioned a vase of my pooches earlier this year.) “My dad is a really great artist. He illustrated a children’s book, ‘The Serious Goose,’ and does a lot of illustration stuff privately. And if there’s paper on a table at a restaurant, that’s always a lot of fun.

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“When I left L.A. to move to the California desert that was more of a shock than my career choices,” she continues. “But I’m back in L.A. now, so everybody’s happy.”

A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kimmel also creates T-shirts, home goods and kids and baby clothing.

On May 19, Kimmel will unveil Souvenir of the Sunday, an art studio, showroom and boutique pop-up at Row DTLA. Souvenir features works by Kimmel and other emerging and established artists as well as the latest from Clare V. and Heather Taylor Home. A percentage of sales will go to the youth organization Heart of Los Angeles.

Souvenir has become a family affair of sorts. “I made these really cute labels for my new T-shirts and my mom has been sewing them in,” Kimmel says.

What about dad? Kimmel laughs, “I don’t think he’d know how to do that. I need to delegate something else to him.”

Variety spoke to Kimmel over Zoom as she put the final touches on the pop-up before its grand opening.

How did the pop-up come about?

I’ve always loved the Row. It’s one of the few places in Los Angeles that you can walk around for like four hours. My interest was how do I get to spend the most time at Row as humanly possible. It’s in collaboration with Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco. Chris and I came up with this concept of a space that will have a lot of art and rotating events with a lot of cool people coming in and out. I want it to feel like a space that you just sort of stumble upon.

What does Souvenir of the Sunday mean?

I was in an antiques shop and I found this felt pendant that said. “Souvenir of the Circus.” I love the word souvenir and then I always equate being at the Row as like a cozy Sunday. Souvenir of the Sunday feels cozy.

Have you turned any of your dad’s doodles or illustrations into a sculpture?

No. I have my own stuff going on. I don’t need his dumb ideas. [Laughs]

How many of your sculptures do your parents own?

A lot? I’m not sure. Honestly, I basically have an installation going on in my kid brother and sister’s rooms because of the nature of my work. And they’re both so creative too, so it’s a lot of fun.

What’s the oddest commission request you’ve gotten?

Somebody asked me to make a COVID virus, the ball with all the pointy things coming out of it. They wanted me to make a friendly happy COVID ball and I was like, “No.” I just deleted the email.

This interview was edited and condensed.

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