Coloring the Abstract: 10 Questions with Kre8
Artist Kevin Vigil believes “you have to become” whatever you do, which is why he chose an artistic alias that sounds exactly like “create.”
Known as Kre8, this emerging artist seeks to inspire others through his thought-provoking and energetic paintings. He accomplishes this through a juxtaposition of monochromatic backgrounds with vibrant swirls of pure color. With a distinct style that brings together the worlds of graffiti, tattoo artistry, and Surrealism together, Kre8’s art is instantly recognizable.
In this exclusive Q&A, we asked Kre8 about his unique background, what inspires him as an artist, and what he wants collectors to experience when viewing his colorful creations.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?
I was around 17 years old when I saw graffiti for the first time and found out what it represents. The movement of graffiti is its own language and your name is your identity. It tells your story without saying one word.
2. What inspires your art?
I pull my inspiration from life and everyday struggles, because we are living in a world of vanity. I’m here to inspire people and provoke the mind into seeing that it is possible to live your dream life.
3. Which artists have played a role in influencing your style?
The reason I picked up the paintbrush is because of Salvador Dalí, but I definitely pull a little from all the greats. Picasso said it the best: “I paint forms as I think them, not as I see them.”
4. How did your careers as a graffiti artist and tattoo artist affect your style?
I think both are a big part of my style. Tattoo taught me everything about composition, perspective, color theory and value of color. Graffiti taught me about honor, pride and self-expression.
5. Could you explain how you got your nickname “Kre8” and what it means?
I always said whatever you do, you have to become that. That’s why I’m known as “Kre8.” Kre8 was a graffiti crew that I was a part of when I was 18. I inherited the name because I want to distinguish who I am. Because how many artists out there are named Kevin, and how many Kre8s are there?
6. What do you want collectors to take away from your art?
I want my collectors to be able to relate to my work as if the art they fall in love with was painted exactly for them. We all go through difficult times, and I want them to look at my work and see a moment of clarity that gives them peace for at least a few minutes. There aren’t too many times when it’s OK to get lost—I want you to get lost in my work.
7. You often listen to music when painting, even saying that it helps you choose your colors. What music or bands do you enjoy the most?
I love jazz and contemporary. Instrumentals are the reason why my work looks the way it does because I let the music take over. It creates the abstract and definitely dictates were the color is going to go and what color will fit the best.
As far as who I like: Chet Baker, Elijah Bossenbroek, Danny Wright, and so many more.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not painting?
When I’m not painting? (Laughs) There aren’t too many times that I’m not painting, but I love spending time with my wife and kids.
9. Do you have a favorite color?
Black, because of the absence of color.
10. A challenge for many artists is to decide when a painting is finished. With your abstract splashes, it must be tempting to keep creating new color combinations. How do you overcome the challenge of knowing when a work is finished?
My work isn’t finished until I sign it. I have to be completely satisfied with the piece before I sign it. It took me a long time to just let it be finished, because at the end of the day you can just keep adding and adding.