Kid Acne is a UK-based artist, illustrator, print-maker and emcee.
His formative years were spent writing graffiti, self-publishing fanzines and making experimental hip-hop – invariably designing and printing the record sleeves by hand. Join our conversation as we dig deeper into his creative process.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Malawi, but my family moved back to England when I was still a baby. I grew up in a small market town in the East Midlands and moved to Sheffield when I was 17 to study Fine Art. Aside from a few travels here and there, Sheffield has been my home for the past 20 years.
When did you get into art and why?
I've been into drawing for as long as I can remember. I loved cartoons and comics when I was I kid. I also really loved a lot of advertising characters, Um Bongo, Kia-Ora and stuff like that. I got into graffiti when I was pretty young and started painting walls with spraypaint when I was 12. I was also interested in fanzines, records, skateboarding and screen-printing too, so my style of graffiti became very illustrative, bold and graphic. I was invited to exhibit my first canvases in a group show called GRAFFITI BASTARDS when I 16 or 17. It's been downhill since then.
What would you say are some big influences to your creative process?
It's hard to stay motivated and seeing a project through at the best of times, especially when it's self-directed, so tuning into the right frequencies and listening to the little voice in the back of your head saying "You can do it" is key. For me, these influences can come in the form any decent art, music, books, people - so long as they're on the right wave length.
How do you take your coffee?
I have one coffee a day. White, no sugar.
Walk us through a day in the life of Kid Acne.
It really depends. I don't have a typical routine as such, although I am trying to keep more regular hours these days. I could be working from home, screen-printing at the studio or painting a mural somewhere. Whatever gets the job in hand done.
Any future projects in the works?
I don't really like talking about future projects in case they get jinxed, though currently I'm preparing for a solo show this Summer, printmaking as part of B&B GALLERY + recording music under the MONGRELS banner. Keep an eye on my blog for updates.
How would you describe your style?
I'd say my style is quite graphic and illustrative. I consciously began working on my 'style' over 20 years ago and have been trying to refine it ever since - what information to leave in/out, which materials work best, how can I get the proportions better etc etc. It's an ongoing process.
What type of music do you listen to? Favorite song right now?
Right now I'm vibing off a lot of African music from the 70's. I'm especially fond of the WAKE UP YOU series on Now Again.