Dialogue #6 - Kid Sovereign
Cartoonish, childish, and a cute mix of sweet mystery with some freak toys is what some of KID SOVEREIGN creations represent. Looking at these charming creatures our inner child can be awake with the desire of playing with them or even joining them into a playground full of vibrant colors.
Like going inside of some twisted reality, such as Alice in Wonderland, KID SOVEREIGN invites us to get into the hat and be part of his mad universe full of hallucinations mixing up between an industrialized world, where people don't have time to play anymore but at the same time some of us continue persistently the quest to keep our inner child awake and curious.
One of the sensations I have every time I look at these schizophrenic creatures is that they are not capable of deceiving me or tricking me, what they are and the message they transmit is meaningful and true, they may look a bit scary at some point, but maybe because they are shockingly true and real. The absence of eyes, or at the least the way we know them, normally, gives them a unique sense of candor and innocence. Perhaps it's because they don't want to convince us or sell us a pre-made beauty idea, they are beautiful in their uniqueness and expressionless.
Now let's hear more about this enchanting storyteller artist KID SOVEREIGN and his collaboration with us “Entry: Apt. 55”.
Why this pseudo?
Both my art moniker Kid Sovereign and my clothing brand’s name Sovereign Kinds draw on the concept of personal sovereignty. One of my major philosophies of life revolves around the idea that I have the responsibility and choice of my thoughts, beliefs, and actions that create my reality. I employ the same attitude when approaching how I create art.
How long have you been an artist and how did you get started?
I’ve been taking art as a practice seriously since I was in high school, so we’ll just say 10+ years. To give a very brief overview of my path so far, I was always generally interested in art but had my first real ‘spark’ when I started drawing with markers and pens, and watercolor. I was really into drawing sort of creepy, surreal monsters or amalgamations of different items. From there I started getting into printmaking, more specifically linocut relief prints. I made some t-shirts, which eventually led me to learn how to make what I was making on a digital platform. Spending lots of time on Adobe Illustrator, I learned to make my art into vector graphics, which in turn sort of pushed my style in a more streamlined and clean direction. Eventually, I gave doing art on the iPad a try, and now I do almost everything on it.
Looking at your work, we can say PopArt, Street Art, and Stencil have a big role in your work, What do you think is your biggest influence?
There’s definitely a clear influence there. To be honest, though, I’ve never been drawn to the work of any particular artist in the space as much as the ethos around the street art movement. Some of my biggest inspirations growing up were from artists involved in the art toy community, and I had an infatuation with bands like My Chemical Romance and The Used that lead me toward drawing things that could have worked as one of their albums covers. I’ve come a long way since then but I still draw inspiration from similar places.
What is your creative process like? How do you choose the subject of your art?
It depends on the project, but I really just make a point in my daily life to write down any ideas that pop into my head. There’s really no particular place that I go for ideas, for me, it’s just having the attitude of curiosity coupled with making the conscious choice to document what I’m thinking about.
When I start a piece it’s usually going to start with a sketch of generally what I’m looking to make, and I kind of just work it into something that I can ink. From there I do the line art, add flat colors, and start adding shadows. When I feel like I’m close to complete with a piece I’ll start playing with different colors or textures.
With my most recent release, Sovereign Kinds Dedicated Operating System, or SKDOS for short, I had a couple of pieces drawn that I decided might look cool as a digital card collectible. I created a few different card templates I could plop the artworks into and it kind of just went from there. I was able to do the simple card bouncing animation within Procreate which was easier than expected.
Which tools or softwares do you usually use to do your work?
I hop around a bit depending on what I’m trying to make, but generally, I’m either using my iPad Pro and Procreate or Affinity Designer, or I’m on Adobe Illustrator on my computer. I still do a lot of physical art as well, so some projects start as sketches on paper before I bring them into a digital art program.
What is a little-known fact you would like to share?
I used to live about a mile from Prince’s Paisley Park and ran into him at the local grocery store on occasion. There was one time he was directly behind me in line, and then behind me in line again maybe two weeks later. He made a comment about how he apparently needed to change his schedule. I was just floored that he even spoke to me. Rest in Peace Prince.
How long have you been part of the clothes brand? In which other projects have you collaborated?
I started the Sovereign Kinds project in 2018 and designed everything from the shirts to the site graphics. It began as just sort of another creative outlet, and with the help of some creative friends, it’s grown into something that at least pays for itself to keep going which is more than I could ask for.
I’ve created graphics for a handful of music artists, most notably lending a hand in designing tour merchandise for the band WILD. Outside of that, it seems I’m always working on some kind of one-off project for a friend or a fan. Right now I’m working on painting a custom mask for a drummer friend of mine.
How did you get in touch with the crypto community and when did you start to create crypto art?
For years, I worked in the banking industry and held securities licenses, so crypto has always sort of been on my radar. I never really jumped in though until a friend of mine (you can find him @summmason (https://twitter.com/summmason) on Twitter) asked me to hop on a call so we could talk about NFTs. Our relationship is very much built around sharing opportunities and ideas with each other, so I knew it was something he felt was important for me to hear about. He is now involved with work for Badger DAO so he is definitely worth a follow.
I’m not sure what the exact date was, but after a two-hour phone call I was extremely excited about the concept of NFTs in general, but also that there were this new space and context to create art within, and even more exciting, a new and growing market. I’m still very new to putting my art out in the world of crypto but I can’t wait to see what I can make and to see creative people unlock the further potential of what NFTs can do.
Do you have collectibles? Which are your crypto artist favorites right now, which works make you mind-blowing and wanted to add to your personal collection? Share with us the links to know them too :-)
I do have a few collectibles, but as someone who entered the crypto space only a handful of months ago now, I’m not fortunate enough to have the capital required to grab work from some of my favorite artists in the space.
I will however shout out a couple of artists that I’ve noticed recently moving from other platforms to minting their first NFTs. First, if you follow me on Twitter you’ve seen me sharing this work a ton lately, but I’m extremely interested in the work of Mr. Misang. He’s got a new series up on Super Rare that’s just stunning. https://superrare.co/mrmisanghttps://twitter.com/MrMisang
I also really like the work of Kyokill. You can probably see some style inspiration in my work here although I think we may be both drawings from a love of Grand Theft Auto Vice City’s art style. I was a big fan of the “Seinfeld Vice” series they put out on their Instagram. Definitely worth keeping an eye out. https://twitter.com/kyokill_https://kyokill.com/
I could probably list artists for the rest of the day but I’ll leave it at that for now. ;)
What do you think was the key factor to get to the point you are right now in the crypto community? And what could you recommend to new crypto artists?
I feel like I’ve really just started and had a long way to go before I’ll feel like I’ve truly made my name in the space. With that said though, I wouldn’t have sold a single piece without the help of my friends and the community itself. You definitely want to reach out to people who give off good energy and build relationships. While becoming a rich and renowned artist may happen magically to someone, it’s extremely unlikely that you’d get to the top without the help of others to some extent.
What I would suggest to any artist outside of that is simply to focus on your art. Keep thinking of and pursuing ways to grow your skills in your medium, or try a new one. It’s easy to minimize the hundreds, even thousands of hours of work that artists put into simply learning to make art because you don’t always see it. I only recently started making NFTs, but I’ve been on my artistic journey for over ten years. Most importantly, make sure you’re having fun!
Do you think the crypto community is growing in your country and the interest in crypto art as well?
Well, I think we can see by numbers alone that the crypto community as well as the crypto art community are growing. I get messages often from artists looking for guidance on how to get started or who have questions about what exactly is going on with NFT art. Outside of just art, many of the major NFT related projects like Axie Infinity and Decentraland have seen consistent growth in market volume and I think that will simply continue to grow.
On a more personal level, I’ve had many conversations with friends and other artists showing genuine interest in crypto and NFTs since I started my journey in the space, and have been consistently onboarding them. I really think NFTs and all of the opportunities they hold will be many people’s first step into crypto whether it be through investing, art, gaming, or something else entirely.
What’s next for you in the future?
Hopefully something unexpected.
I’m definitely going to release more SKDOS card sets with different styles, but I will likely explore some new ideas while I let those ideas simmer.
Outside of art-making, I’m planning on putting out some videos where I can sort of “review” the works of smaller artists. My goal would be more to showcase and share the works of newer artists to the space that I like personally and think have long-term potential rather than picking apart the skill level of other artists.
Kid Sovereign creates this artwork as a part of a collaboration with our collective APT. 55, so here you have “Apt. 55”, limited edition of 25, be quick!
Founded in 2020, APT. 55 is a project created with the main purpose of supporting alternative and emerging crypto and digital artists. Devoting our efforts to provide an emergent space for artists and art precursors in which they can make public their work and also participate and create temporary exhibits and fairs, worldwide.
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