Craig “Kr” Costello is the ink guru behind the notorious brand KRINK New York. Inadvertently, Kr has landed himself as a teacher in my book as he continues to define success both as an artist and product mastermind. What draws us to Kr’s color clouds and endless oozing drips found on everything and anything from mail boxes, to Nikes, to designer bags? Krink lovers might tell you there is no other product like it. Others will say they’ve been drawn to a story bugged with ingenuity. Each contributes to the ever true notion that spurs even the most entrepreneurial of contemporary creative achievements: The product is as individual as the individual who created it him/herself.
Costello’s graffiti induction began as a teenager growing up in Queens where acquiring the materials to put up paint was a feat in itself. In the early-90’s a thriving scene in San Francisco provided the space for Kr to experiment widely with tools and techniques, eventually creating the ink of his signature. After returning to New York in 1998, Kr capitalized on his product that would become the Krink empire.
Kr’s ink allowed him to define an individual expression on an entirely different level, literally. Many scenes of Kr’s work are witnessed on huge architectural spaces. The results are intently placed zones of color clouding at the tops then dripping free and endlessly vertical, bleeding into concrete and onto your sidewalk. Its contradicting ode to free form on architectural structure play with elements of graffiti and abstract aesthetic, nearly more imaginative and capturing than you almost think it should be. It warrants interest and begs inquiry. Why would someone just throw paint and let it drip? Hell, why not?
“A lot of it is based on color and shape and letting things fall where they may. I’m little bit of a control freak. But this is something that I can’t fully control. I like working like this because a certain part of me let’s go and let’s chance be a part of it. I think a lot of people really get that. A guy came up to me and said he’s a sign painter. He said he really loved that I could just let go and paint – throw paint. He feels like that all the time but he never really went ahead and did it. That’s the way it is sometimes, just to get the color up and let things fall where they may.”
This is the mural I am staring at outside on Fresh Café’s walls. Take the paint indoors (Loft in Space) and the effect is just as fun. To drip paint without rules or reservation (but technique, yes) strikes a pillar of the brand’s success with creative’s the world over. On the streets and in the gallery, Krink is held by vandals and artists, sold online and in your store from New York to Moscow.
“It’s really about interest. It’s about people seeing stuff on the web or whatever and becoming interested in the product or the story. They want that. It’s still at this point a cultural product. The people who want it are the ones interested in overall creative culture.” Recognizable, as I reveled at seeing Krink products in Bangkok, of all places. Kr further explains, “People ask for it… [F]or past few years we don’t do sales. People call us.”
Check out Kr’s work in Honolulu for yourself or better yet, pick up a pen.