From the Promethaqueen to the Jelly Heart, Kryptc has created some of Kansas City’s most recognizable new-school designs. Kryptc’s iconic style has made him a staple in the art community. His work is a mash-up up of cartoonism, calligraphy, graffiti, and fine art illustration. Using aspects of the cartoons he loved as a kid and blending them with real world subject matter, his pieces are not only visually impactful, but also socially relevant.
As a child, Kryptc found comfort in the fabricated world of cartoons. They were his escape from a bitter reality, and he watched them more intensely than most children. He studied the craftsmanship and methods that animators used to produce story-telling images. The technique that most intrigued him were the close-up shots in shows like Ren & Stimpy and Spongebob which showed all the putrid details of the characters’ faces. In grade school, Kryptc would draw comical caricatures of his teachers. Although the drawings were un-flattering and almost insulting, the teachers grew fond of them and displayed them on their desks. This was the first realization of the positive response that people had to his work.
For over 10 years, Kryptc did not make any art. When they began to grade art in school, he was out. He would doodle from time to time in his cubical at work, but no serious efforts were made to pursue a career as an artist. It wasn’t until he met his muse and now the mother of his child, Mandy, that he started to create again. She gifted him a set of Prismacolors and a sketchbook to take with him on a road trip to Nebraska in 2012. After the trip, Mandy secretly created an Instagram of his drawings and donned him his artist name. So began the legacy of Kryptc.
The beginning of Kryptc’s career consisted of live street painting with fire and aerosol. He performed on the streets of Kansas City, always attracting a crowd and selling multiple pieces in one day. He was showing in events around the city and getting recognized for his space paintings. However, his health was in jeopardy from the heat and chemicals of fire painting. Illustration had always been his true passion. So he began to introduce his drawings under the Kryptc name. This gave birth to an entirely new reputation and a community following that would impact the Kansas City art scene like none before.
Kryptc’s illustrations are more than a rendering of a character. They tell stories that are witty and twisted with references to pop culture and every day life. He uses wordplay and character mashups to create unexpected double-meanings within his pieces.
“I like to have more than a basic idea. I don’t think about the color red and produce something. I like it to be somewhat clever, like a comic strip in one picture.”-KRYPTC
In 2015, Kryptc opened a Facebook group called The Krypt. He began the group as a platform for him and anyone else to share their art. The Krypt became a huge support system and source of inspiration for thousands of artists and collectors. The positivity and all around encouragement that the KryptKeepers give to each other is unrivaled by other art communities. It has become a building block for a force of empowerment that has touched the lives of art enthusiasts from all walks of life.
“My story is not just me. A lot of it has to do with people who support. My success comes from people helping me. That’s what I have that’s special.”-KRYPTC
Kryptc is currently releasing all sorts of signature paraphernalia. His grime cans, hoodies, slaps, pins, and canvases are finding their way into collections across the country. He hopes to start doing murals and live street painting again soon. Anything he can do to interact with his audience directly is on his agenda. His tenacious hustle and the fervid dedication of his art family keeps Kryptc creating some of the dopest art to come out of KC.
TOP TO BOTTOM:
Promethaqueen digital print
YO¡duh ink on paper
Death By Fear ink on paper
Hunter S. Rafiki (The Thinkin’ Monkey) ink on paper
SplitBobSoup ink on paper
Ren & Stimpy (Close-up Series) spraypaint and inda ink on canvas
Heart Broken ink on recycled Bristol board
Monae Drip ink on paper
Separation Anxiety ink on paper
Hei-Hei slap ink on postal label
BirdDog ink on recycled Bristol board
Heartless Mechanic ink on paper
“Ladiiies and gentlemeeen...The moment you’ve all been waiting fooor...It’s Showtime!” The intro to U-NEEK and INFLUENCE’s first collab album, Showtime, says it all. These guys have been hustling since they were little kids and the time has come for everyone to experience the duo’s creations. The album dropped in late 2018 and it’s igniting the Kansas City rap game.
When Influence was in 8th grade, he went to perform at a skating rink. U-Neek was also there to read his poetry. Influence saw U-Neek and introduced himself. U-Neek was a poet and a gospel singer, but in his “influential” fashion, Flu convinced U-Neek to rap a verse. The rest is history. From that point on, the boys were in their friend, Sinsayshon’s grandmother’s basement writing and recording every day, all day. They used a karaoke machine to lay tracks on cassette tapes. Whatever it took to make their music come to fruition, they did it.
Music has been Flu and U-Neek’s method of survival through all of life’s obstacles. U-Neek had to record and sell his first solo album in the school’s choir studio to pay off his high school tuition. Flu has overcome anxiety and depression through his lyrics. They have faced adversity and discouragement. People told them they shouldn’t rap, they should give up, they don’t have what it takes. They’ve seen their demos thrown away in front of their faces and performed for rooms of only three people. But they didn’t stop. Flu and U-Neek don’t just make hits and drop albums. Their work is a testament to their struggles, their victories and their love for the game and each other.
“We didn’t compromise. We didn’t change. We didn’t conform.”-U-Neek
For years, Influence and U-Neek operated as a separate artists performing together on the same stages. Now they are releasing music together and melding their contrasting styles into one entity. U-Neek lays the harmonies and melodies with his fluid vocals. He plants the bomb. Then Influence sparks the match and explodes the tracks with complex and hasty verses. They both adhere to the art and craft of hip-hop. No shortcuts, no thug shit, no gangster mumble rap.
“What I lack, U-Neek has. It’s the best of both worlds.” -Flu
They are completely independent and record all of their own songs at Mid-Range studios with local producers. Influence even lets their audience behind the scenes weekly with Flutube Fridays. Flutube is an exclusive vlog that reveals the personal lives of Flu and U-Neek. Viewers can tune in and see how, why, where, and when they create their music.
Their message is clear and their intention is pure. Flu wants to reach people who suffer from anxiety and depression and lift them into a better place. U-Neek wants to set the example for the kid who thinks they can’t do hip-hop because their style is not popular or accepted. They’re getting recognized for all the right reasons. They have worked hard and stayed true to themselves. They are brothers and partners and true artists.
In the upcoming year, you can expect the guys to come with some fire. Showtime 2 is in the works. They are each coming out with solo albums. Flutube Fridays is in full effect. The hustle continues.
“There will always be a U-Neek and Influence album. It feels perfect when we’re on the stage together.”
Normally, you wouldn’t expect “The Home of Sliced Bread” to harbor an artist who spawns dark and beautiful fine art pieces, but abnormality is Cristin Chambers’ specialty. Also known as Pan, she is a multi-media artist whose world of creation reaches far beyond her small hometown of Chilicothe, Missouri.
Chambers has been a musician and artist since she was a child. By the time she got to college, her aim was to be a high school band instructor. But as she began taking art classes on the side, she realized she wanted to try her hand at making visual art a career path. She promised herself that if she could get a tattoo apprenticeship, she would quit college. After putting together a portfolio, Chambers was accepted to work at a shop and quit school.
When the tattoo shop closed, other opportunities started to appear that would mold Chambers into the artist she is today. She began taking on commissions and experimenting with different mediums. She had been formally trained in oil and charcoal and had learned all the “rules” of making art, but it wasn’t enough. She needed to push the barriers and experiment with as many materials and techniques as it took for her to achieve her vision.
“I realized I could break all the rules and I could use so many mediums in one painting. I could paint with reckless abandon.”-CC
Her paintings have a little piece of her in each of them. There are layers and layers of acrylic, watercolor, ink, collage, modeling paste, and pretty much anything she can find all together on one canvas. Each medium brings a unique dynamic, much like Chambers herself. She is dark and whimsical and delicate and feminine all at once. The subjects of her paintings are often women, each representing a different aspect of her experience.
For a long while, she hid behind the name “Pan”, remaining anonymous to her viewers. But after being outed by her former boss, Chambers loves to connect with her collectors, teach classes online, and go to her gallery shows. This year, she began her journey as a live painter at music shows and festivals. In the future, she wants to start teaching live art classes around the world and show her students how to break the rules.
Facebook Art by Pan
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:
Messengers watercolor, acrylic, and ink on watercolor paper, 4.5”x9”
The Poison Leaves Little By Little mixed media on handmade paper, 7"x 10"
Blooming from Where I Once Bled mixed media on hot press watercolor paper, 8”x8”
Tortured Souls mixed media on wood panel, 8"x 10"
Growing Pains mixed media on wood panel
Metamorphosis mixed media on canvas, 8”x 10”
Frida mixed media on water color paper, 8.5”x11”
Bleeding Heart mixed media on wood canvas, 12”x9”
Jazmin watercolor and acrylic on watercolor paper
My Whole Life Is A Dark Room mixed media on mineral paper, 8.5" x 10.5"
The captivating compositions of Norm4eva are flourishing all over the map. Her trademark stained glass style has transformed walls and buildings around the country into sanctuaries of surrealism.
Norm’s background is rooted in traditional street art. She started out doing throw-ups, handstyles, and murals on commission. One day, she and her sister met a woman who offered them a space to do with whatever they wished. They decided to open a restaurant. Norm was a cook for a local fraternity so it seemed fitting that she would cook for the public. However, when she began to paint the ceilings and walls of the restaurant, she realized this type of large scale work was her true calling.
“I feel giant on the inside. So I feel like my art should be giant, too.”-N4
Around 2003, Norm became a full-time artist. She began to do live art, installations, and commissioned large-scale murals. She moved to the Bay area for a few years to pursue her art career. While living there, she became inspired by the progressive art scene and wanted to develop her own style. She decided to retract herself from showing and evolve her skills until she found a style that was truly hers.
Norm began taking on work where she could have free reign over the design decisions. One client hired her to paint his basement and there was already so much paint on the walls that she had to figure out how to make it look cohesive and attractive. She decided to overlay the textures with a stained glass outline. The technique sparked a reaction that would propel her into the artist she is today.
The biggest inspiration for Norm is people’s reception of her work. It is important for her to have a positive impact on those who view her work. In 2016, she painted at the Paint Louis street art festival. She wanted to create a visual that was balanced and peaceful and much unlike typical high-energy graffiti. That’s when the portals started. Using the sacred geometry of the Fibonacci sequence, Norm builds her portals piece by piece and rests them in an oasis of calming water. The result is almost other-worldly.
“I wanted it to be a totally positive experience. It’s like a double paycheck. You get paid to make people feel amazing.”-N4
This year, Norm will be expanding her work to parking garages, vehicles, and abandoned buildings. She will of course continue to attend all of the major street art festivals including Hurtle Alley, Meeting of Styles, and Paint Louis. She’s got several deals with local businesses like the Juice Stop and Atlas MedStaff. So 2019 will be intensely busy but exceptionally fun for Norm and her team.
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FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:
Meeting of Styles, SF/Oakland 2017
Paint Louis 2016
Paint Louis 2017
Lilac Alley, San Francisco 2017
Paint Memphis 2017
Paint Louis 2018
Meeting of Styles, Chicago 2018
LAURA MEGA is an Italian multi-media artist born in Rome. Mega studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and at the University of Image, also known as the Five Senses School, in Milan. She is a writer and visual artist, blending language and illustration to create a powerful and contemporary narration.
At first glance, her work seems playful, quirky, and almost humorous, but the reality is that it is full of pain, frustration, and heartache. Each piece is a personal protest against the arbitrary restrictions of society towards women and immigrants.
“My work deals with the political and social situation in which I live every day.”-LM
Mega’s life experiences show in her work through her use of materials. She uses sheets as the support for her drawings to symbolize protest banners. She gets the fabric from hers and others’ Corredo. Corredo is a collection of fine linens that Italian mothers and grandmothers give to their daughters when they marry. Mega’s ultimate feminism and rebellion is represented in the destruction and defacement of these linens. The wax that she drips onto her subjects is cosmetic wax. It represents the fragility and pain that women endure as a burden of femininity. The letters that she stamps individually to form words carry the weight of her thoughts and emotions.
Until recently, Mega lived and worked in New York City. It was her dream for all her life and she built a life in the city for 10 years. She went back to Italy in 2017 to get her visa renewed, but was denied re-entry into the country. All of her friends, her apartment, and possessions are still in New York. There was no cause for her banishment, only the ignorance of new immigration laws set in place by our President.
“People are afraid of the differences so much that they have to defend themselves even from their own fear.”-LM
Currently living in Belgium, Mega is completing an artist residency and will return to Rome afterwards. She continues to create political work and is desperately trying to get back to the United States. She is determined to find a sponsor or an agent to vouch for her return.
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SH*T HAPPENS 18”x14” mixed media on fabric
GOOD VIBES ONLY 16”x27” mixed media on fabric
BORN TO MAKE YOU HAPPY 27”x18” mixed media on fabric
SARDINES 19”x26” mixed media on fabric
UNTITLED 11”x14” mixed media on fabric
CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR 32”x25” mixed media on fabric
TO BE OR NOT TO BE 17”x27” mixed media on fabric
I LOVE YOU 24”x18” mixed media on fabric
THIS IS MY CIRCUS 16”x22” mixed media on fabric