Our student entrepreneur of the month is Kyah Probst, Founder of of Body Space. Kyah is a Junior at UWM pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Community Education & Engagement (Online). Get to know more about Kyah and her work in her interview with MJ Horinek, Innovation Intern at the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center.
MJ: What is Body Space?
Kyah: Body Space is a hand-drawn adult coloring book which uses an innovative process to integrate meditation, coloring, and journaling. I like to call it, “visual-emotional journaling” but to everyone else it’s a tool for streamlining relaxation and self-growth. The process begins with users associating colors with their emotions (for example, purple might equate to “calm,” or something similar). Then, users listen to instructions and a guided meditation accessed throughout a QR code, and color in parts of the body based on how they’re feeling. Finally, they can write in the “emotional journal” and color across rest of the page. It’s a whole process.
MJ: What is the origin story of Body Space?
Kyah: I was living in Chicago last year when the pandemic hit, and for me there was little else to do outside of school and work but create things and try my hardest to relax and be healthful. I had previously been exploring the idea of an adult coloring book, but honestly, an “election themed” coloring book, which I had been thinking about, is maybe not actually as relaxing as I might think. Once I began exploring meditation, I had an “a-ha” moment. Each page of Body Space has an “emotive color key” attached, and I think that really gets to the heart of what people need during this pandemic.
MJ: Where do you see your project in the next 5 years?
Kyah: There’s a few things I want to do. Number one, I’ll certainly be publishing Body Space with a traditional publishing house and hopefully as individual coloring pages online. Right now, I’m recording a four-track guided meditation with Audio for the Arts in Madison which people will be able to access online, and through that I want to build community around my idea. I’ve been getting a little bit of attention as well from people in the mental-health field about using this process with children as well. It seems like the possibilities are plenty if I harness them correctly.
MJ: What has your entrepreneurial journey looked like?
Kyah: Actually, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial focus since I was young. I used to explore the idea of selling little things like homemade crafts and artwork to my neighbors, but once I was 10-12 I began planning for a business on Etsy. Finally, I started my first blog when I was 13, which has now been turned into an online portfolio for my artwork, dSLR photography, travels, and writing at kyahprobst.com. I never started with Etsy, but when I was 16 I began selling and publishing my work through a print-on-demand company called Redbubble. Even as a photographer I’ve shot countless events, such as the 2019 TEDx event at UWM, a fashion catalogue in Rome called “Kokoro,” and some individual families and seniors. Body Space is the first project in a couple years that I’ve thrown my entire self into.
MJ: Is there anything else would you like others to know?
Kyah: Obviously, I’m very thankful to the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center for taking me in. I was named a National Emerging Young Artist through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2018, where my work went on a year-long nationally touring exhibit. After I got back from the receptions, exhibits, and professional development for that program in Washington D.C, I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. I’ve been in a few other exhibits, such as the Yo Soy…Je Suis…I Am” exhibit in D.C with VSA and the Synergy Art Exhibit in Milwaukee in 2019, but those don’t light my fire nearly as much as entrepreneurial projects I engage in. Right now, I’m focusing on Body Space, volunteering with various art and media organizations such as Islands of Brilliance in Milwaukee and NAMLE, and my fellowship at PSOA for arts integration. I’m really excited to see what the future holds.
Kyah Probst is an innovative artist with an entrepreneurial spirit. To help support Kyah’s growing work, and to explore meditational coloring, check out Kyah’s website!