Most people may think of video games as a fun way to pass time and get lost in stories, but for Appleton illustrator Kayla C. Gerrits, they fuel her artistic passion and desire.
Gerrits is a digital artist with a diverse array of styles. Always eager to try out something new, her inspirations can range from a close friend to a random internet find. Chief among her influences are video games Pokémon, Legend of Zelda and Okami, as well as the card game Magic the Gathering. “I know there’s a lot of people that don’t take fan art seriously, so I always want to whip out my [Pokémon] maps,” she says.
Her maps, the centerpieces of her portfolio, are vintage 1800s-esque takes on the classic Pokémon worlds, where players travel across the land searching for creatures called Pokémon. Maps in-game are depicted as simplistic cartoons, but Gerrits’ versions breathe real-world life into the fictional universe. She plans to expand her collection of maps, adding some of her other favorite video games to the mix.
A native of Appleton, Gerrits has collaborated with a number of institutions within the community. Her artwork has been featured at the SECURA Fine Arts Exhibition at the Trout Museum of Art and various shows at The Draw.
Gerrits credits her mother, also an artist, and the environment she grew up in as instigators for her artistic endeavors. “I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t doing art,” she recalls. Gerrits is a 2010 graduate of Appleton North High School and a 2014 graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
Gerrits’ artwork can be found at Side Quest Games in Appleton, Press Start Games in Menasha, the Trout Museum’s gift shop and her website kaylacatherineillustration.tumblr.com.