The Best Drip Ink in Graffiti: KRINK


CRAIG COSTELLO: I never
studied painting. All my experience with
putting paint on something came from graffiti. And the kind of graffiti I did
was always really simple. As I started to paint in a
studio, I would paint these letters and straight lines
and everything. And I would try to make
it perfect, and it just drove me insane. I grew up in New York. I’m from Queens, Forest Hills. And I grew up, I was a teenager
in the ’80s, and I was into skating and everything
from hardcore to hip-hop, punk rock. I grew up in a culture of like,
you stole your paint, you wrote illegally, you made
your own markers, or you found your own caps. And you took care of them,
and it was all tools. And you had to learn
and understand everything on your own. Like this cap was good for this,
or this paint was no good, or whatever it was. When I started just doing drips
on doors or mailboxes, I got a lot of positive
feedback. People were really interested
in it, they thought it was really cool. The fire extinguishers is
something that I didn’t invent it, I wasn’t the first one to
use it for those means. But it was another example of
reappropriating something to basically use as a tool. It acted very similarly to
the markers that I made. I moved to San Francisco. I went to school for
photography. I lived there from ’92 to ’98. I don’t know, it was easier
to get materials. So from a graffiti sense, paint
was more accessible, markers were more accessible,
all kinds of things were more accessible to me. Because in New York, stuff
is so locked down. I probably started making
Krink around ’93, and that was it. There’s was no business plan,
there was no T-shirt company, there was no street art. It was just friends and
having a good time. I was able to have my own
aesthetic on the street and stand out from the rest
of the people. And since I had my own kind of
tool and materials, people had to figure that out just
to get to where I was. So it was just being that little
bit ahead of the curve. So I moved back to New York. I was living in the Lower East
Side, and I met these guys who opened a store called ALIFE. They were just like, look, this
is really interesting what you’re doing. We think you could sell it– we’ll help you. And it became this
creative project. I made some Krink. We made a logo, we made
some labels, put some directions on it. Put it in their store and
it sold out right away. So they got press. They had Krink there, other
shops saw that and wanted it. And then at the same time
I would hook up with the Irak crew. They were young, I was a little
bit older at that time so I wasn’t really going hard. These guys were really
going hard. And so I’d give them Krink,
and they would just be out every night writing until
all of downtown was basically covered. And that got a lot of attention
because everybody’s like what is that? What is that? How are they doing it? It’s Krink. I run a business as one part
of something that I do. But I also work on art
and design projects. And it’s really difficult
sometimes to be doing both, because mentally they can be
really different spaces. People ask the question. Like oh, you were in the street,
should stay in street. And who’s to say that I’m
not allowed to evolve? And I really love being behind
the brand sometimes, because the brand is more– it’s a
brand, it’s not really me. And I kind of like just brand
it and market it. With me sometimes, it’s like
stuff is emotional, and I kind of want to have to be able
to do whatever the hell I want to do. There’s definitely been some
great opportunities for public art projects and travel. And I think that a lot of people
are beginning to try to organize things themselves. And I’ve definitely been
involved in things where they get the community involved,
the local community. And they get business owners
to contribute walls. They fly in artists from all
over to paint on walls as part of greater public art project. And it’s all people who are just
really interested in art, but maybe it’s not a formal
gallery setting. It’s more interested
in the public space and youth culture. TIFFANY TANAKA: We are at Loft
in Space in Honolulu, Hawaii. I’ve been on Queen Street
for about the past eight years now. Slowly made my way into
this warehouse. We acquired the front,
we had a denim store. And before the denim store we
had a streetware store called Queens, and we carried Krink. So I was in contact with Krink
about five years ago. And when we were planning these
shows, I thought it would be so cool to bring him
here because he’s such an inspiration to so many
artists out here. And the simplicity of what
he does is amazing. But he’s the expert in
dripping and ink. One big thing for both
of us, I think , is art for social change. And it really affects what’s
going on, and especially our economy in Hawaii. JASPER WONG: I’ve lived in
Portland and San Francisco and Japan and Hong Kong. And she’s lived in San Francisco
and New York and Paris and stuff. And we’re exposed to lots
of that kind of artwork and we love it. We wanted to bring what
we saw out there in those cities to Hawaii. We knew it was going
to be hard. We knew that there was going
to be a huge educational aspect to it, because
it’s not as common here to have art shows. How’s it coming? Good? MALE SPEAKER: Oh, yeah. CRAIG COSTELLO: I’ve definitely
done some sculptural pieces, and I’m
really interested in working the sculpture. And this comes back to like,
this is very architectural. And I’m also do things that are
very minimal, and those things are really interesting
to me. So I think that this shape and
this size is really not foreign to me at all. I’ve done a couple of things
that have been much smaller. But I just felt, this space,
there was a really good opportunity, and Jasper
and Tiffany were down. And they’re ambitious, and I
think this is ambitious. It’s still a small underground
space. We’re just trying to make
something happen that is going to be a little different maybe
from some of the other things that they’ve done. I’ve definitely done a few
things like this that are really buildings, or large
walls, interior or exterior, all painted with fire
extinguishers. I’ve done all over, from
Moscow to Prague– I’ve been really fortunate. Dry. The wall is hot. You’re really dealing
with architecture. You’re dealing with the angle
of how a wall is seen. Or maybe it’s a rooftop, and
you’ve got to climb to it. Or maybe it’s got a corner, or
there’s a ledge, and you’ve got to stand on a foot-wide
ledge to paint the wall. And you’re painting a 10-foot
wall by as tall as you can reach or something. And all of those things make
you consider space really differently. And so that was a really
big influence for sure on my process. I don’t write graffiti anymore,
but I still see how it’s such a big influence on
what I do and how I do it. In the beginning I had done some
stuff with more colors. But then I just pared it down
and just kind of worked within a smaller palette. Because it was just easier
to make decisions. I really like yellow and blue,
and it was really just the blending of them making green
that became really interesting. They’re very natural colors–
it’s like the sun and the sky. And it might sound corny,
but it’s true. And I think that there’s
something that people recognize in that. With colors, because I’ve always
been in this urban environment, I can bring a lot
to those often drab places. So this is a cinder
block wall. It’s not necessarily
architecturally noteworthy, but I think to bring color to
that is part of something that I’m just interested in doing. When you do stuff in the public
space, basically anyone can see it. It’s free, and it’s available,
and people come by. And there’s a reaction, and it’s
almost always positive. Oftentimes more people care
about just advertising something, but I think that
public art is important.

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