What’s going on man, go ahead and introduce yourself
Hello everyone, my name is Felton Kizer. I’m a Chicago native, photographer, and the creator of Off-Kilter magazine.
How was life like growing up?
Life was chill growing up, pretty simple for the most part. I did a lot of moving around as a kid. I started moving around Chicago a lot, then I moved to a few different states, Texas, Michigan, New York, and then made my way back to Chicago.
When did you begin to start finding your creative talents?
I’d say around the fifth grade I started seeing I was creative, but I didn’t think much of it until later on. In fifth grade I joined the school band, choir, and got heavily involved with the musical theatre. When I moved away to Texas, unfortunately I got away from band, but I continued on with musical theatre. When I made my way back to Chicago I begun to get involved with visual art, but I looked at it just as a hobby, it was fun, I didn’t think of art as a career.
Photography seems to be your main focal point. When did you begin to really get involved with photography?
I got into photography around my sophomore year of high school. My freshman year of high school I joined Yearbook, I figured it would be cool, I could take photos, and it was something else for me to do. Sophomore year I really started to get interested a bit more, and then by JR year I completely fell in love with photography and wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to it.
Karl Lagerfeld once said, “What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” What is one of your main reasons as to why you like photography so much?
I like the control photography brings me. There’s a power dynamic from the photographer and the subject. I like that because I like knowing what’s happening. Very few creative mediums I feel like I have all of the control, but photography allow me to be in control. Also, I like how people look, so I figured why not take photos of people.
How big of an impact did the Hyde Park Arts Center have on you?
Hyde Park Arts Center was my foundation, being a young kid here it was one of my first big introductions to Art, they provided different ways of showing how I could make a career in art. I am forever thankful for the opportunity they provided me here. Without them I would not be here. I probably would be in Med School.
What made you decide to start a publication for creatives?
I would say it was out of frustration, I knew so many talented individuals and people were not talking about them, at least how I felt like they should have been. I thought to myself, there is so much going on in this city, why aren’t people talking about these things. Another reason for creating my publication was because there are still many people who just don’t know about art, the info is not distributed properly.
Explain the meaning behind the name Off-Kilter
The word Off-Kilter means “unconventional or eccentric”. Funny story behind the name, I actually didn’t come up with it, one of my good friends did. (LaAndrea Deloyce Mitchell) I had first come up with an idea of creating a publication and had a couple of different name ideas. I then presented everything to my friend, and she said I should call it Off-Kilter. Once she threw that name out, I went back home and created some mock-ups to send out to people and they all loved the name. From there it just really stuck.
Who are some of your favorite publications in Chicago?
I don’t have ‘favorites’, but I enjoy and check out Verluxe, Ancestry Quarterly, FakeShoreDrive, and Hooligan Mag.
How does Off-Kilter look to differentiate from the other publications?
That isn’t something we tend to think about, we just do what we enjoy. If what we do is similar to what other publications are doing, well then whatever, and if it isn’t, it’s whatever too. We are going to continue doing what we want to do, and continue having fun with it.
Do you have a team around you now, or do you do everything by yourself?
I have a main team, which consists of four of us, and then we have sub teams and contributors. I would like to keep a small main team, but keep expanding with our daily contributors. There are still a couple of things I want to figure out before we keep growing more and more.
How important is it to you and the city to document what’s going in the city?
It’s very important. I feel like it’s my job to find out who these creatives are and expose them to other people through my platform. It’s like the passing of the torch, I have the info and I’m going to provide it to everyone.
Where does your love for fashion come from?
I don’t know specifically where it came from, it kind of just happened. In high school I was in fashion club and I helped produce fashion shows and from there the love I guess just started to bubble.
You had an event last Friday, what was that event about?
It was a pop-up show in Uptown, where we collaborated with FLATSstudios. There was so much going on that night; we were worried about people coming out. We ended up having an amazing turnout, a ton of people came through, and we displayed a new fashion presentation.
Do you have any more shows coming up?
Yes, we are always looking to do more shows. We have a collaboration with Maybe Sunday coming up on Friday October 14th.
Being a photographer, what’s a dream photo-shoot you would like to construct?
I would love to put together a shoot with Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Gabrielle Union, and Viola Davis. It would be such a fun, beautiful, and elegant shoot with all of them.
When it’s all said and done how do you want to be remembered?
Honestly, I don’t think about the end, to me, titles are just titles. I’m more interested in how I made people feel, those are the memories I want people to remember.
Written By: Nicholas Rud