The following is Part II of an interview that I did with Featured Artist Kyle Horrocks. He has gone from a somewhat dubious graffiti artist on Long Island whose true talent was only known to those he could trust to a ‘visionary’ talent in California who has begun to gain a following. This is his story. To read Part I, click here.
AFC: How would you characterize your style?
KH: If one word could sum it all up it would be “visionary.” It’s the ability to not only see but to see different from what everyone else sees. Another word could be “organic”; my latest works use sacred geometry, golden proportions, and the Fibonacci sequence that resonate with the human mind. People view my pieces and like it for reasons they’re unsure of, but its a lack of knowledge of simple shape and colors combined to create something ascetically pleasing, every time. I have a very particular fan base; almost always they are people who are more connected to nature than most.
AFC: What have been your favorite pieces and why?
KH: I’ve always loved my illustrations of organic things like animals or people because I only use black and white yet still find a way to portray so much emotion by using high contrast reference images [to] give a more dramatic look to the illustrations.
AFC: What validates the work that you do?
KH: The validation of my work comes from the work itself, for I don’t need validation from a fan base – that’s what moms are for. As long as I’m happy with my work, then its valid.
Something I keep in mind while working is “our imperfections make us who we are. A great example of this comes from my first live painting I did where a young woman approached me and asked, “Have you ever done this before?”
I replied, “No, this is my first time.”
She then asked if I was nervous. As respectful as I could, I told her that this piece I’m creating is for my own benefit and no one else; therefore, if you like it you can buy it but if not then that’s fine because I didn’t have you in mind before I started this canvas in the first place. [In] this way, I always win as long as I’m painting; if someone wants to purchase a piece, then I win twice.
AFC: What projects are you currently working on?
KH: At the moment, I’m staying quiet while finishing up my degree. I’m always drawing and painting but, as far as projects, I’d like to get more murals out here. It’s 85 degrees and sunny every day here in San Diego; there’s no excuse to not be outdoors creating something that inspires others.
AFC: What are your hobbies and interests outside of art? Is there any overlap between your hobbies and your interest in art?
KH: Art is everywhere and everyone is an artist, to an extent. With that being said, yes all my hobbies and interests can be considered an art form. When it comes to surfing there’s many different boards/waves to ride, but it all depends on the individual. Balancing rocks can teach you patience, but by using different colored stones you can create a beautiful piece of work for someone to admire. Working out is an intensive process that ultimately reshapes the human form to how it’s desired, similar to sculpting. While swimming with seals and sea lions in their natural habitat, I find myself trying to mimic the majestic flow of these creatures – how they move through the water I consider an art form. It’s all around us if you just take the time to look then engage and enjoy yourself.
AFC: Is there any comparison that can be made between surfing on LI and surfing in CA or is it kiddie pool vs. deep end?
KH: Quality over quantity, plain and simple. I surf every morning here in CA, but the quality of the wave is nowhere near what we wait weeks and brave the frigid waters [for on] LI. The amount of people in the line ups out here leads to hostility in the water as well, something you rarely experience in New York; most would think it’s the other way around, but this couldn’t be [farther] from the truth.
AFC: In this world, what does Kyle Horrocks value?
KH: Myself. Many would say this is a rather selfish way to live your life, but, in reality, that’s exactly what it is… “Your” life. What drew me to graffiti in the first place was the mentality: if someone disrespected someone else then there are repercussions. This is something nonexistent in the real world unless your some kind of self-proclaimed authority figure. I never believed in how this system worked, which is why I found myself in trouble during my earlier years; when a teacher or police officer disrespected me then they got it right back. I guess, along with myself, I also value teaching people lessons.
AFC: What’s your plan for after school (immediate plan)?
KH: Pay off my student loans ASAP and leave the United States. We’re being lied to – trust me and take my advice… I don’t use it anyway.
AFC: What’s your end game? Ultimately, where do you see yourself going in your career?
KH: I’d ultimately like to settle somewhere in Central America and create a surf retreat/youth center for local kids to come be themselves. It’s important that young people have a place to express themselves and voice their opinions without receiving judgment; if not, they [will express themselves] in other ways that often have negative effects on themselves and the surrounding community.
I want to embrace all art forms and be able to connect humanity through it; my first goal ever as an artist was to introduce graffiti into the surf industry. [Now,] I realize there are bigger issues at hand than making things look pretty or fancy.