An interview with our head designer Kyle Confehr: Making people feel awkward since 1986
It’s 8am and the house cat called Harvey is loudly playing with the keys on the night stand next to the bed. Rousing himself from bed and wiping whats left over from sleep from his eyes he makes his way to the coffee pot in the kitchen. He completes this morning ritual with staggered movements and resentful yawns but he awaits his deliverance as it pours steadily into the coffee pot on the counter.
Partaking of this daily procedure is a highlight of Kyle’s daily life. There a few things that are “routine” or “regular” in Kyle’s life; his wife Meaghan, coffee, and art. Other things are procured spur of the moment or when Kyle’s brain dictates that they be recalled.
“Interview with Kyle Confehr by Wyemester McCloufield”
W//So when did you begin to start doing art? Anything specific stick out in your mind?
K//When i was in 6th grade i started getting tutoring with this Russian guy named Ernest. And all i wanted to draw was cartoons so i remember Ernest being like: “We’ll learn cartoons later. You have to learn how to draw real-life first before you can draw good cartoons.” That was like the first time i remember thinking like ‘hmm there’s more to drawing cartoons than i thought.’
W//How long did you tutor with him?
K//Umm for like 2 years almost i think. He had me draw nothing but cubes, cones, pyramids and cylinders for like a year before i actually learned how to draw textures and stuff.
W//Wow that’s a long time. Did you ever to learn how to draw cartoons?
K// Haha yeah. But not with Ernest. He got in a fight with an off duty cop so i had to find a new tutor when Ernest fled the country. He went back to Russia. That was crazy.
W//That is crazy. Who did you tutor with then?
K//I went to ‘The Zakarian School of Art’ after that. Basically, a really old Jewish lady (aka Mrs. Zakarian) near Oxford circle off Sylvester st. Not the best neighbor hood but a lot of kids went there and they had skills so my rents were stoked on it.
W//What did you learn there?
K//Basic techniques. Water-color, pastel, oil, acrylics. She had these huge boxes labeled ‘landscape, portrait, floral, still life‘ filled with pictures. She would have us choose a category and then pick a picture out of the box. Then she’d have us do the picture in whatever medium she felt we were like ‘not good’ at.
W//What were you ‘not good’ in?
K//Oils. I hated oils. Still do, i refuse to use them. It’s just too expensive and it’s really hard to back track and fix any mistakes once you’ve laid down your oil on your material. I prefer acrylics. Plus, i feel like if i get good with oils i’ll just develop a complex like i’m better than everybody else at life or something. Just an ego trip for art nerds really.
W//Is that a soap box i’m hearing?
K//haha totally. I mean like art masters like da vinci and other super rad dudes had to like make their own colors and stuff from like mountain rock and trees and people they killed or something so oils were cool then. But i just don’t see the point in using oils now, especially if you’re doing design or illustration. It just takes way too long and i don’t have time to wait to get paid to be waiting on some oils to dry.
W//Da’ Vinci was a murderer?
K//haha no. You’re a jerk. Stop using my words against me.
W//Ok. So did you go to college or anything? How did you finally decide to get into the field you’re in now?
K//Jeez. I still have no idea what field im in honestly. I went to a Vocational school for commercial art and then i got my associates in graphic design at a college institute….i think ‘college institute’ is correct.
How’d did i decide? (thinking for a bit) Ok so i always drew and painted and stuff but i remember back in high school seeing a bunch of t-shirts that Derek Hess did for some metal bands and was totally blown away that somebody was getting paid to put their sketches on band shirts and stuff. I’m not knocking Derek at all his stuff is amazing and i still envy his work, but it just had a huge impact on me. Like, art is fun for me and i love doing it, so i remember thinking; ‘ok if he’s getting paid to have fun, why can’t i?’
W//Would you say you’re a designer?
K//Not really. I mean kinda. Basically, i ‘illustrate’ or hand render everything i design. So i guess i’m kinda a designer. More of an illustrator though.
W//So you’re an illustrator then. Looking at your work, you use a ton of detail and its mostly black and white. How did you arrive at this level of illustration?
K//I started doing robot stuff back in college. I used to commute with this kid who smoked like a freight train, drove like a million miles an hour down the PA turnpike and listened to the worst possible metal ever. So i was always thinking; “i’m going to get killed and they’re going to find my deaf carcass and it’s going to be rank of cigarettes and i don’t even smoke!” I don’t know what that really did as far as inspiration but i just started trying to put as much detail as possible in as small of a space as i could every time i drew like anything. So thats how i started drawing robots and stuff at least.
W//What about your “throw-up” collages? What’s that all about?
K// Hahaha i love doing them! They’re so much fun. I started that one time when i was living in Brooklyn and i was super broke. And my friends decided to go out and go to this place called “Juniors,” which is famous for their cheese cake. After their cheese cake all they got going for them is their greasy diner food. I’m also a vegetarian and i was broke so there was nothing i could eat and i was grossed out. Luckily they had those awesome table tops with plank paper that you could draw on and i spent the evening doing that pretty much. Forgot that picture tho, left it at Juniors.
W//But why ‘throw-up?’ It’s gross.
K//Yeah totally gross. But i love getting a positive reaction from it. Like for example: My old roommate who’s one of my best friends today will look at those drawings and just laugh. That’s pretty much all those drawings are meant to do. Plus, their super fun to do. I try to take whatever is within my attention span at the moment (news stories, stereotypes, junk food) and just and then put it in one of those collages. But like i do that a million times per collage so its a lot of thinking more than anything.