We have another “Making It” interview and July 31st will be here before we know it. This time we get a chance to speak with Billy Kheel and get his take on his time on the show.
Eight Makers will vie for the title of “Master Maker” and a $100,000 grand prize on NBC’s “Making It,” which premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
BSCKids: How did you get on to the show and how did you start crafting?
Billy Kheel: A woodworking friend of mine emailed me the application for the show. I filled it out and next thing I know I’m in a crafting barn with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. It was surreal.
BSCKids: Who was your favorite judge and why?
Billy Kheel: I’ve become a bit of a Simon Doonan groupie. I feel like that guy can szhoosh anything and make it beyond fantabulosa.
BSCKids: Not on the show, but tell us about a crafting project that just didn’t turn out the way you thought.
Billy Kheel: A while ago I hatched a plan to make some paintings on cut out wood and plant them on some of the islands in the middle of the Los Angeles River. I went to the local Army Navy store and bought big galoshes that would fit over my shoes and the bottom part of my legs, to protect me from the disgusting river water I would have to wade through to get to the islands in the middle. I waited for the perfect day and found a part of the river that was empty of people, except for an old guy who came down every day to dump a huge pile of grain by the side of the water to feed hordes of water fowl, we called him The Duckman. I gathered my materials, put my galoshes on and readied myself to cross into the river. One step down and realized this was going to be harder than I thought. The bottom of the river was a mess of rocks and trash. The current, which seemed like a trickle from above, was stronger than expected and the thought of losing balance and falling into the water was horrifying. I was using all of my concentration when I heard the screaming. “GET OUT OF THE RIVER!!! HEY YOU GET OUT OF THERE!!!” The screams were so sudden and angry it took a minute to realize it was just the Duckman, but he probably yelled like that at everyone who wasn’t a duck. His screaming continued for a short while but I was too busy concentrating on not falling into the water that I ignored him. It was only a few minutes after he stopped screaming that a Ranger truck pulled up. The Ranger was short on patience and motioned quickly for me to get out of the river. I came up to him and he politely but firmly asked that I get out of the river and never get in it again. I complied, fearing a fine or a trip to a Ranger jail. Needless to say, my plan to bring some art into the LA River did not include a run in with authorities!
From executive producers and hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman comes a uniquely lighthearted competition series reuniting two of pop culture’s biggest BFFs and celebrating the creativity and craftiness in all of us.
BSCKids: Were there any fun behind the scenes things that happened that you can share with us?
Billy Kheel: Amber orders the funniest dinners I’ve ever seen in my life. She will order strange appetizers like Sashimi Teriyaki Sliders with Fried Lasagna Bombs. Together. I’ve never seen anything like it.
BSCKids: Why should everyone tune in and watch the show?
Billy Kheel: I think it’s sort of counterintuitive, but I hope people tune in to get inspiration and make their own stuff. It was really inspiring to be there and see the awesome crazy stuff these folks could make. Also, Nick and Amy are so funny they made me flop around with laughter.
BILLY KHEEL (Age: 43) — Los Angeles, CA (Silverlake) – A Massachusetts native, Kheel attended boarding school and then moved on to Wesleyan University where he played sports and pursued his love of art. Kheel spent time in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he met his wife. Now a full-time artist and visiting art teacher at schools across Los Angeles, his focus of applique and felt is very unique from other mediums in the competition and sets his work apart.
His children and students are the inspiration for his work as he tries to see things from their perspectives.
Keep checking the site as we have a few more interviews with the contestants on “Making It” on NBC.