Kyle Stewart has returned with a fresh set of iconic graphic work in collaboration with TAIKAN in Collection 012. His work references the collective nostalgia of pop culture with a counter culture approach. His influences include vintage t-shirts, utilitarian hand painted signs and international film posters. This body of work is the feeling of waking up from a nap, in the early evening, disoriented and sweaty. The ‘Just Chillin’ artwork adds a unique twist on the legendary vintage icon of a monster flipping the bird to the audience.
Update us on where you’re at since the last collaboration. What’s new, how has it been living on the east coast, and any plans to come back to Vancouver?
Since the last collaboration, I’ve had my first show in the US at Hey There Projects in Joshua Tree. Worked with some great local bands, teaching part time at OCADU, and just ultimately chipping away in the studio. I’m born and raised in Hamilton, so it’s nice to stay here. Great community, family is all here. Would love to get my butt back over to Vancouver. Missing some great friends I made while I was there, shoutout to Tom and Forrest.
Talk about general inspirations for your style of artwork and the content you create.
I love pop culture, and especially the subversion of it. Taking a reference and skewing it so it makes sense but there’s something a little off or strange about it. The Simpsons is my ultimate inspiration but things like bootleg toys and shirts, outsider art, utilitarian hand painted signs, etc.
What mediums are you most comfortable with and what areas would you like more experience in to expand your work?
I work with a lot of house paint from hardware stores. When colours aren’t correct they go to a discount shelf in the paint department and I’ll snag those when I can. I’ve been working with spray foam lately to add some depth and dimension to my paintings and that’s been a really interesting direction with a limitless amount of possibilities.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I’ve just been tucked away in the studio building up bodies of work to show later this year. I like taking on commissions here and there and really love working with bands with album covers, merch, etc so I always have a few of those gigs on the go.
Tell us about your second apparel collaboration with TAIKAN. What was the inspiration and process behind it?
Referring back to the subversion of pop culture, this illustration was a reference of the 1-800-EAT-SHIT 80’s tshirt with the comacho monster. I love working with TAIKAN because it’s always a fun experience of compiling a bunch of stuff I think could work and pairing it down and then making it fit within the brand. I’m always stoked with the amount of freedom I have!
With the volume of sketching you complete, do you ever keep track of favourite characters or objects you create or do they all blend together a bit?
I definitely have certain things or characters I have memorized. If I’m just doodling they’re usually what come out first to kind of shake off the cob webs. I think it’s kind of important to build up a bank of drawings that become instantly recognizable.
What artist goals do you have for 2023?
My goals for 2023 are pretty straight forward but I’m going to make them a reality by the end of this year. Show work internationally, either in a group or solo setting. I would love to collaborate with a winery on a label, and number one goal is to illustrate a skateboard graphic. Though I don’t skate as much anymore (two bad knees) I still consider myself in that world and it’s always been my biggest dream.
Thanks so much for this opportunity!
Check out Kyle's most recent custom curated Spotify playlist: