Knoirts artFORM Weekly Words

by Stephanie Malik

WEEK 3: Julie Byrne

In order to celebrate the summer launch of Knorts’ first ever all black denim collection—Knoirts—we are initiating a weekly band series featuring interviews with some of our favorite artists who performed at the one-of-a-kind annual Form festival, which is held in the unusual community of Arcosanti, AZ. 

In addition to photos of these artists killing it in our new noir Knorts in various locations throughout Arcosanti, we ask them about their feelings on fashion, denim, and some other random stuff (cats v. dogs?). We will also be providing links to some of their music for you to check out too. 

Next up in the artFORM series, we mix it up with a freeform piece inspired by the music and the Common Thread portraits of Julie Byrne donning Knorts in Arcosanti. We highly encourage you to press play while you read.

 Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen

Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen

Singer-songwriter and guitarist, Julie Byrne, looks right at home pictured in solitude amongst the rock formations and simple desert terrain in her black Knoirts jumpsuit and travelling hobo hat. At first, to describe her as “looking at home” might sound somewhat ironic, as Byrne is well known for her nomadic existence since leaving her home of Buffalo, NY at the age of 18. Her music, which emanates directly from her transient lifestyle, has drawn favorable comparisons to some of folk’s heaviest hitters including Vashti Bunyan and Joni Mitchell.

Where Byrne distinguishes herself is with her music’s strong connection to nature (fun fact: she used to be a park ranger in Central Park!) and loner spirit. Byrne oscillates from embracing her “accustomed to solitude” during her travels through the American West, to confrontations with loneliness when missing someone, perhaps a lover, far away. In her music she samples crashing waves. Her music feels like those quiet moments during a road trip where there is nothing particularly interesting to look at, so you’re then forced to turn inward and really be alone with yourself.

 Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen

Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen

Byrne is a true wanderer—and not in that annoying overly romanticized sense of “wanderlust” sold on T-shirts at yoga studios or in that way some girls thoughtlessly write in their IG profiles to glamorize their personal brand. Byrne is the real deal: the nomadic life isn’t always a choice, sometimes it chooses you. As someone from rural Indiana who never really felt at home amongst endless empty fields of corn and sea of hardcore politically driven neighbors, I can relate to a lifetime of being on-the-go—never living in the same place—or with the same people—for more than a year at a time. Similarly, I genuinely connect with Byrne’s naturalist tendencies—when nowhere is permanently your home, nature becomes the only constant comfort: an unremitting source of both inspiration and growth.

 Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen

Julie Byrne photographed by Tonje Thilesen