The enchanting and colorful Dawn Aquarius has captured audiences everywhere. The freelance artist, psychedelic DJ, music maker, and vintage purveyor from Salt Lake City, Utah has stolen my heart. And she will steal yours. A true lady boss, she marches to the beat of her own drum and leaves a trail of groovy magic behind her.
What's a typical morning for you?
I want to quote "Sunday Morning" by Margo Guryan, but it's usually a little more exciting than just coffee and sunshine (though I always need those too). I wake up without an alarm ever, open the curtains for my little lemon tree, tend to the cats, make some sort of wile vegan breakfast for my fella and I, then I'm right to work, which is something new every day! Some days I'm illustrating Roky Erickson for a t-shirt, or photographing pieces for my vintage shop, or painting a commissioned psychedelic portrait, or hitting the thrifts to find groovy garments to sell. I usually work 10 hour days, so getting an early start is tops.
Love your art! What inspires you when making a new piece?
Thank you for the sweet words! I'm an art and culture junkie, usually very era-specific (the 60s are kind-of a lifelong obsession) constantly seeking things I've never seen or heard before, so what gets siphoned through my ears, eyes and brain end up on paper/canvas. I love 60s poster art, vintage sci-fi paperbacks, psychedelic prints on clothing, hallucinogenic arty movies, old underground comics, mind-bending album art, black velvet paintings, unicorn needlepoints, books on astral projection and astrology... I suppose I'm inspired by everything I surround myself with!
How did Cosmik Folly start?
A couple of years ago, I was working at a vintage shop in the midwest, and my band went on tour in Japan for three weeks with some of the guys from Acid Mothers Temple. When I got back home, I found I'd lost my job and had to make a decision-- do I find another square gig where I'm getting a solid paycheck but sitting around all day watching the clock, or do I push myself to make my living through selling dreamy vintage things and creating? Obviously I chose the latter, and I've never looked back! Cosmik Folly was something I'd had in mind for a long time, down to the name, which was influenced by two of my favorite bands- The Cosmic Jokers and Rainbow Ffolly. I'd worked for other folks selling vintage for a long while, but I wanted to have a shop that was super-specific to the things that made my world bright and far out. I tend to be attracted to vivid saturated prints, mushroom things, flower power get-ups and wild pieces that most folks think are a little costume-y for real life. I believe what we drape ourselves in should be magical and fun! I hand-illustrate all the art for my shop as well. I probably work more than most of my friends who have "real" jobs, but I love every minute of my work, plus who can complain about sitting in your own neat lil house, drinking coffee and homemade kombucha all day, listening to records and drawing or listing lovely pieces in my shop? It's my heaven.
Have you ever come across a piece that you regret selling?
So many things, though I try to live my life without regrets! Everything I sell in my shop is either something that I would wear, or that has emerged from my own collection. Some hurt more than others to let go. I sold an amazing black velvet fringe 70s Young Edwardian minidress with massive bell sleeves about a year ago to a lovely girl on Etsy, and I've had dreams that I'll find another one someday... Occasionally something that screams my name just doesn't fit, so I pass it on.
Such a talented gal - you DJ too! What's your go-to song when you're DJ'ing?
I scored a 45 of Gandalf's "Golden Earrings" last year, and I still spin it almost every time I DJ. I'll never stop being obsessed with that band. There are probably a handful of 45s I spin every time too (Nirvana "Pentecost Hotel," The Fool "Rainbow Man," Amon Duul II "Tables Are Turned" and on and on...)
Best way to practice self-care?
Thinking of your body as a magical vessel for the pure light inside is the way to start! If you imagine yourself as a perfect being, then everything you do to it, put in it and on it becomes something more important! I never go for the mainstream fad practices when it comes to my physical form, I just listen to my skin and body when it responds to the things I expose it to. As Father Yod would say, "Purify the body, elevate the mind, refine the emotions and liberate the soul."
Best beauty advice?
Cover yourself in ionized rose water, sleep with stones and crystals in your room, drink lots of water, eat fresh things from the earth, smile freely, stretch your body, and wear bright things if you dig them! Or maybe take a tip from the Beach Boys and "sleep a lot, eat a lot, brush em like crazy, run a lot, do a lot, never be lazy."
Do you have a favorite decade when it comes to beauty?
The 60s when it comes to everything! But beauty, naturally... The wild eye makeup, the crazy swirling kaleidoscopic colors on everything, the surreal fashion ads, the feeling of child-like freedom! It just makes my heart flutter to see a girl in full body paint or folks with flowers in their hair.
What's your favorite thing about yourself?
My complete willingness to let my freak flag fly! Sometimes I get the most intense stares from people in line at the grocery store, but I giggle to myself about it later. I used to fret about being weird from the get-go. I was thrift shopping for all my clothes from middle school on, so I never had a shot at being remotely normal in the suburbs I grew up in. I grew into myself over the years, though. I live in my own time now!
What's something that most people don't know about you?
I've been a vegetarian my whole life! I don't go advertising my dietary preferences because I believe it's a to-each-their-own kind of decision, but I've never really eaten a lot of things that most people have. My mom raised me that way, and I was never really tempted to eat any other way.