Rarely do truly genuine articles surface in today’s art world. Sure, back in the day we had the pioneers like Rothko, Warhol, Pollock, or even Dali, but in more recent memory it’s mostly who can seem the most surreal by carbon copying the same old styles and trying to be more popular through significant brand development rather than true creative effort. Articentric doesn’t settle for any status quo. We seek out the movers and the shakers, the artists that defy convention, and while this sounds all incredibly cliché right now, rest assured, our selection of artists is anything but. Which leads us to the artistic genius of our most recent subject, KRE 8.
This innovator turns the page on convention. He layers deep meaning in obvious forms. You think you’re viewing something exciting and colorful, but upon further exploration, it’s so much more. A paroxysm of excitement overcomes you, and the vibrantly electric colors shock your attention against the subtle smoothness of the black and grey image beneath. What am I looking at, you ask. What is the Kre8or trying to say, then you realize, the colors are the explosion of the conventional. As they said back in the day, the script is being flipped, and we’re dragged into a bigger conversation, feet first kicking and screaming. Gone are the rules, gone is the security of knowing what we’re seeing, or allowing our imagination to soar to reveal shapes and imagery known only to us. These images are the Kre8ors, the message is ours to interpret. Will we settle back into our comfort zones of creating self-reflective illusions, or explore our infinite ignorance and look beyond our spoon-fed sense of self. What is this orgasm of color shocking us into? How does the contrast open us up to defying the comfortable power trip of the satin-like finish of the known, and kick us head first into the exploration of our own self. Kre8 does that and more with his intense style, developed over the past 15 years, and is as impactful today as it has been building up to this moment.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you to KRE 8, this is his world, this is his creation, this is your time to go beyond your boundaries and explore the intensity within. We sat down with this artistic force to learn more about him, his inspirations, aspirations and his testimony. On the doorstep to the next chapter, the door of infinite possibility, Art Basel 2017 is before him. What lies beyond for this artist, we are so excited to find out. For now, please meet KRE 8!
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Let’s begin with how you realized you are an artist. Talk about how you came to realize art as more than just a hobby.
A: I have always been into art. At a young age the only thing I? was able to focus on was art. It slowed me down, it released a lot of emotions. I? now know what that feeling is 38 years later, it’s called inspiration. I?’m inspired to give that same feeling through my work, my paintings.
Q: Take us on a tour of your creative space. What should we notice that we might otherwise overlook? What should we observe first before anything else? What do you cherish most about your space? Talk about how your creative environment affects your art/ your style?
A: The first thing you notice in my work is the contrasts between the black, the grey, and that burst of color. I’m not sure if it’s obvious, but I? took away our vanity by removing the faces off of my FACELESS PAINTINGS. The meaning behind that technique is to personify that it can’t be torn apart by its facial appearance. One thing I? cherish about art is the freedom of expression. To me there are no rules to follow when I Kre8.
I? can say that, after 15 years of painting, I? have created my own style. It just came together for me. I? enjoyed combining two or even maybe three styles into one. The first was a character being the substance of the piece, the focal point. At the time I? was working on an abstract. I? started my Faceless series. My Faceless series conveys letting go of perfection and showing your true colors whether they may be good or bad. I? love how it plays with the mind. It’s very intriguing, just like surrealism.
Q: Talk about your creative process. Are there different stages or do you just grab the brush and get after it? What materials/mediums do you work with when creating your art? What is your creative atmosphere when you create (loud, silent, ambient noises)?
A: My creative process is taking everything around me and turning it into a picture for you. I? dissect and interpret the way it’s revealing the emotions. I? want the public to instantly feel this when you look at it. Yes, I? do just take the brush and go at it. I? love working in large scales because it has a different impact. Over the years, I? have grown fond of spray painting my backgrounds because of the contrast that it creates. I? use Liquitex heavy body acrylic. I? cure it down with a little water. For my abstract I? use more water, it helps make the paint very fluid. It gives me that organic look. Most of the time I’m in my studio, but I? love to live paint at my shows. As far as music, it’s all about the feeling when I’m doing the brush work. My playlist consists of Al Green, Zap and Rodger, James Brown. I? also listen to Hip Hop, artists like Common, Mos Def. Now, when I? do my abstract I? need my instrumentals, no words. I? love having backgrounds music from pianos and violins. I? let the music make the abstract, I’m just the vessel.
Q: Your “faceless” paintings are such an amazing conflation of hyper-realism, imagination, and something I’d call surrealistic abstraction; and stir within the observer, at least in our case, a sense of erupting energy & excitement! Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind the series, and also… talk a bit about how your style has developed since you began creating?
A: FACELESS has given me so many milestones. I? can’t believe the story behind faceless is all about vanity because we are all guilty of it, and that’s judging a book by its cover. So the black and grey portrays the systems and how it’s ok for someone in a different tax bracket or famous or privileged that can break the law without consequence. But if you and I? steal one piece of gum you go to jail no matter what. There’s so many more reasons but that’s for next time.
The colors are us as people. You guys do know what’s your color right? Like red is for passion, purple is for royalty, grey is a power color, browns are classy, so on and so forth. We are all powerful whether the system tells you you’re not and try to keep you in the dark or that little grey area. This style was good enough all by itself but once I? introduced the color it took it to a whole other level. Abstract by itself is colorful but it doesn’t have the same impact as the surreal work and the surreal work needs that pop of color and really utilize the word CONTRAST. I? took all my work and turned it into one style so you can say my style took over 15 years to develop. And I? will always be a student of art.
Q: Do you have any current pieces in the works you’d care to elaborate on, any ideas for future works you’d like to explore further? Talk about your experiences with your shows, do you seek out specific types of events, environments, etc. to show your work?
A: I? would love to elaborate on my brainwashed piece. It’s all about the system. They want you to stay in front of the television as soon as you get home so you won’t better yourself and continue to do what they say. Everything you follow and like and do is generated from the TV. Brainwashing you to think what you’re supposed to look like, how to dress, what to eat. It’s the same reason that a cheeseburger is $1.00 and a salad is $7.00. They put something in your face so you don’t realize what’s really going on.
I’m gonna start composing a blueprint for some sculptures. I’m going to be working on of my faceless work.
Q: Can you talk about your most recent burst of inspiration? Did it come at an unusual place or time? Do you ever put yourself in a particular situation/environment to try and attract ideas or inspiration? Talk about your choice of source/subject matter, if you would.
A: My experience with shows: I? have done a lot of pop art shows. Those shows help to network and you never know who you will meet there. I? can do a free show and make $10k and at the same time I? can do a juried show that can cost me anywhere from 300-800$ and make nothing, or like last year I? did a few pop up art shows for Art Basel and invested $4K and didn’t sell one piece. That was very disappointing and discouraging for months and a few months later I? had a chance to have my first solo show. That was an epic fail. Only a few of my people came by, but the people hosting the show had the flyers printed on regular paper. I? went to the curator with the paper and she told me she was insulted and that it was just a rough draft. I? know it was a lie. You will see that the saying, “There are sayers and there are doers” goes for anything in life, but do as much as you can. It will help your brand get out there. It’s like anything you’ve always wanted to evolve and move forward.
This year I? was able to show in a big show for Art Basel in Spectrum booth 706. It is an honor to be apart of this show and at the same time cataloging my work. And I? will continue to do certain shows all year until Kre8 is a household name.
Yes, Art Basel has been my inspiration for the last month, I’m completely consumed by it. It’s all about the what if’s. What if this is the show that will take my career to the next level, what if I? get that one person that loves enough to fund and invest in a bigger project, what if I? become famous with this body of work I’m showing, is my work gonna stand alone? Or will it fall flat, or what if Kre8 becomes a household name and Art Basel is the place that can make or break me. So all of my recent work depicts the emotional roller coaster that these big shows have on us. But it was great using those emotions to create these pieces that will be on display.
Q: What do you hope that the audience takes away from their time spent viewing your art? What made you most excited at your last exhibit? What made you cringe?
A: I? want people to be inspired by how strong the hunger can become to chase your dreams. And it’s more then possible to make them happen. I’m always on my blog on my live feed on instagram talking about art and showing tips and my experiences in the art world.
My last show was chocolate and art and was a great show. I sold 3 pieces within the first hour of the show. It definitely made the rest of the show very easy to deal with but at the end of the day, take what you can from each show, whether it’s good or bad because they aren’t always gonna be good. They won’t be all that bad. And never chase the money because it runs faster than you, trust me. The moment I? stopped is when I? started making real money. Sharing your story with the world will help sell your work.
Q: KRE 8, I am absolutely honored to be allowed to discuss your creative world with you. Being an artist myself I know how deeply personal some aspects of our process are, and also that there are those times we wish we could reach out to our audience and give them a better context of our passion, so thank you for being so open with all of us. I know the readers will want to know where/when they can see your work currently? What is the best way to find out where you will be exhibiting next (Website, Facebook, etc.)
A: You can check me out on my art blog everyday on Instagram live feed: @kre8artafax