August 1, 2018

Mixed Media Art with KKGAS

Europe-based Stocksy contributor and professional inspirationalist Karim “KK” Perales has gone absolutely mad with creativity in his latest mixed media illustration project. 

Currently living in London with his wonderful wife Helen and two dogs, KK has always been obsessed with art in all forms. When it comes to painting in particular, the talented photographer tends to fall into a trance of much-appreciated peace. So, after seeing mixed media portraits in Brianna Wettlaufer’s blog post, he was inspired to pick up his liquid chalk, pens, and pencils and start a new project — one that he had no idea how to do. But, in KK’s opinion, it’s generally good practice to take a break from one type of artistic medium so you can gain perspective from something new and unchartered.

As a general rule, KK began each project by asking himself a few important questions around his creative process and goals, aiming for some sort of vision before diving in. He then got his canvas ready — a xeroxed low res print of a high-contrasted black and white processed image (size of the paper is A3 — 11.7″ x 16.5″). For this particular project, he began with an image of a dapper gentleman in a hip hat. 

To create depth, KK experimented with cutting out the main subject and pasting it on poster board — a rather tedious affair but well worth it, especially if you have some help (KK gets Helen to make the more detailed cuts because his hands are too big, he says).

“I chose 4 or 5 prints to work on and drew on the first one using coloured chalks. It’s been a long time since I’ve used chalk as a medium, and I quickly remembered that, while they are expressive and raw, they are not very accurate and tend to break apart. They’re also a pain to work with because they’re easily smudged by an accidental hand swipe.”

Abandoning dusty chalk, KK moved on to using liquid chalk and other smudge resistant materials — pens, pencils, crayons and whatnot. But even once you find your medium of choice, it still isn’t an easy 1-2 punch process.

“The creative process is driven completely by how I feel about each image,” KK explains. “I tend to sit and stare at the one I want to work on until I develop a feeling about what colours and marks will suit it. Sometimes this takes a long time, and the failure rate is quite high as well. There is generally no way to recover from making a mistake, so if I work on one and I’m not 100% satisfied, it gets ripped up and goes in the bin.” KK’s been known to scrap 15-20 prints of one photo because it didn’t feel right. “I haven’t slept in 4 weeks,” he murmurs with bloodshot creative fervour.

All of this is very stream-of-consciousness for KK. He says he just lets whatever happens happen. And when it comes to adding type to a piece, he goes to an old stack of magazines and just starts cutting until the right combination of words comes together. Once the piece is finished (is it ever really finished?), the sleep-deprived artist uses a 105mm lens on his DSLR to capture it (too large to scan) and voila! You have art!

We love this experiment and, besides trying it out ourselves, we can’t wait to see how KK’s mixed media inspires you to take the plunge and try creating something out of your comfort zone. Check out the rest of KK’s mixed media gallery for more motivation >>

KKGAS (KK) is a London-based photographer specializing in portraiture, still life and alternative lifestyle photography. He’s also a Senior Artist Relations Representative at Stocksy United who aims to inspire and create every day. Shop KK’s Stocksy Portfolio here >>

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