Between Art and Street Art.
The Sheffield-based artist Kid Acne is best known for his comic-like illustrations and larger-than-life slogans that are spread all over
the globe and now grace our Mixed Tape #51 cover.
Kid Acne was born in Malawi, Africa and moved to the UK at a young age. Having spent his formative years in the East Midlands, he moved to Sheffield to study Fine Art and the Steel City has been his home base for the past 15 years. He has become one of the world’s most recognisable street artists, writing comics, creating fanzines and exhibiting his work, as well as being a record label owner and hip-hop artist. Walking around Sheffield, you’ll come across many of Kid Acne’s works, and in the past years he has been going global. He’s worked on various projects including customising spray cans for Montana Colours, creating a comic book Zebra Face and designing a T-shirt collection for Prada.
His artworks are comprised of a solid mix of characters and slogans and fit comfortably into the interstice between contemporary art and street art.
His style is very much his own, and he likes to keep it simple: his words mixed with big bold paintings are often every day phrases that people can relate to, but they leave a lasting impression and clearly identify the originator. A jack of several artistic trades, Kid Acne is also a hip hop musician and has released a number of records and videos, starting in 1997 with the single Slingshots under the moniker Mongrels. After putting out an album and touring Europe, he has gone back to his roots and is pouring a lot of his creative energy into his artworks – and we’re happy for it. We caught up with Kid Acne to chat about his inspiration, thoughts and future plans.
What inspires you most?
I'm most inspired by prolific individuals who dance to their own rhythm and don't care about fashion or trends.
When I see work, or hear music by these types of people, I feel inspired to carry on with my own thing, too.
Dance to your own rhythm.
Tell us about your creative process.
Everything starts with a sketch – whether it's in a book, on a wall, or in the studio. From there, it's about finding the right way to present that idea. I tend to work various print processes and techniques, and sometimes the sketch is actually the final piece. Nice and simple.
How does your art bring a different perspective to the cities you have been active in?
I have no idea. I enjoy travelling and I enjoy painting, but I'm rarely anywhere long enough to experience the consequences or feedback.
Music is a big influence.
Does music influence your work?
Music is a big influence in my work. I don't like to draw in silence – in fact, I like to have music on all of the time. I feed off of lyrics more than anything. They often pop up in my work and help me to tell stories and set narratives within my illustrations.
And what’s coming up next?
We're currently working on a series of short animations for Channel 4 in the UK. The cartoons are based on our Zebra Face comic book from a few years ago. It's a really exciting project, but taking us a long time to do!
Read here mb! by Mercedes-Benz the full interview with Kid Acne.