Today, I am so excited to introduce to you Kristopher Kotcher AKA Frenemy Life. I discovered Frenemy through that magical viewfinder that is Instagram. I'm not sure how I came upon his work in my photo stream, but I did and it captured me right away! Kris's work is child-like and whimsical, detailed and well-crafted, but it is also rough-around-the-edges and dark with tons of story going on! His work is so successful at capturing a mood and his unique world full of kooky characters. It's got a great combination of odd humor mixed with some eerie stuff too. Just like a classic old-time fairy tale. I could see Frenemy's work illustrating classics like The Brothers Grimm and Aesop's Fables in a fresh way. It is also akin to more contemporary classics such as The Point or Yellow Submarine. Don't you agree? Without further adieu please meet Kris Kotcher.
Can you tell us of a favorite creative activity you enjoyed as a child?
Art has always been one of my favorite pastimes. When I was in kindergarten I got in trouble one day by my teacher Mrs. Thomas. She told me I had to sit out from doing art that day as punishment. I was so upset and started crying. Mrs. Thomas felt bad and let me come back to do art. I still cry to this day when someone takes my art supplies away. I’m a big baby. Haha. A close second to art would be Legos…a very close second. I would make super elaborate castles with trap doors and hidden chambers. Making castles from the Middle Ages was always my favorite, that is probably one of the reasons I use Medieval Architecture in my work now. I love the way it looks...I guess I have always been drawn to the whimsical.
What was your first job or position as a creative professional?
I started with freelance and doing art shows in local galleries. It kind of just happened people would ask me to do art for their band or show posters, and from there I started getting better jobs. My first real job though was doing artwork for a South by Southwest event a few years ago. If you don't know South by Southwest it is a huge media, music and film festival that lasts two weeks in Austin, Texas (where I used to live). Getting these opportunities really pushed me to take my art more seriously and to go back to school. I am pretty much a self-taught artist, some friends taught me how to use Adobe Suite. I wanted to learn more so I took some college classes in digital art and animation, which has been a big help. Along with freelance I have been showing my art. I remember how excited I was at my first art show to have my work up and have strangers come and view it and then buy my paintings to bring home! To me that is a big part of who I am as an artist…I love sharing my art. I love knowing my work is out there on a gallery wall, on the Internet or hanging in a stranger’s home. I do art not just for me, but to share with others and hopefully remind them they are not too old to use their imaginations or to get lost in a world they create all their own!
What is your current favorite medium to work in?
My favorite media to use are watercolor, gouache, and ink. I also work digitally. Vectors look nice, but nothing beats doing an actual painting. A lot of vector art looks like a machine made it, too perfect. Even when I do vectors I try to make them look like they were hand drawn. Painting is when I am able to get lost and totally escape into my art. It is meditative for me. I like the way watercolor and ink gives the feel of Children’s book illustrations. I would like for viewers to see my art in that style and remind them of the books they read as a child.
Whistle while you work: Do you enjoy working in silence, listening to music, a podcast, or a movie? Please share!
I always have music on while I work. I usually listen to bands like Chad Vanghallen, The Babies, Thee Oh Sees, and Ty Segall…stuff like that. Music that relaxes me and helps me get in the mood to paint and focus.
Kris, thank you for sharing with us!
Kris, thank you for sharing with us!
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