Kevin Palmer representation of historical figures puts him in the company of other greats artist such as Lorna Simson, Kara Walker, Bisa Butler, Kehinde Wiley, and Kerry James Marshall. He puts a face on today's historical and culturally relevant issues.
Photographer: Daenah Henderson
Interview by VF
Artists on the Cutting Edge: How did you come into the arts?
KEVIN PALMER: I began my artistic journey at 6 years old. My Parents enrolled me in a youth art program at the Center of Creative Studies located in Detroit Michigan.
AOTCE: How would you describe your work?
KEVIN PALMER: I’m pretty versatile in regard to the type of art I produce. My services and passion thrive in many forms such as Graphic Design, animation, caricature, character Design, Storyboarding, UI assets Designs, Comic art, abstract, and portraiture. My subject matter pertains mostly to black culture. I was heavily influenced by black culture growing up with my older sister. We would watch a series on PBS called Eyes on the Prize all the time and I was always fascinated with historical black leaders, especially within the black panther party. So within my own personal projects, you will see a lot of that influence of black pride, black characters, and hip hop which has influenced my style of being very expressive with my line work.
AOTCE: What is your medium of choice?
KEVIN PALMER: From the beginning of my art path, I created art using traditional mediums using pencils, colored pencils, pastels, markers, and acrylics. I then moved towards airbrushing and now most of the art I create is within the Digital Medium, utilizing Photoshop, Illustrator, and AI-generated tools. Looking back, I feel I was always compelled to keep up with the current times and excited to try new innovative tools.
AOTCE: Are you a full-time artist? If not, what else do you do?
KEVIN PALMER: Due to me working full-time as a Designer at a company called Corjl (https://www.corjl.com/en/) and freelancing with my own design company KPStudios, I create on a daily basis. Amongst providing services to others, I also create space for my own personal projects.
AOTCE: Do you have supporters or mentors?
KEVIN PALMER: My motivation to create art comes from the knowledge that I’m able to do what I love to do and make a living for myself and my family. As the old saying goes, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and that is what it actually feels like. Yes, there are stressful moments but that comes with every relationship. But what you truly love comes unconditionally. Every assignment and task concept comes with its own unique challenges. But the drive to succeed knowing that you can do it, and actually having overcome challenges and things you never thought you could achieve prior creates a sweet spot of growth and progress within.
AOTCE: What words of wisdom would you like to leave our readers?
KEVIN PALMER: My advice for another inspiring artist would be to never stop creating, stay disciplined, and always keep up to date with the field you are pursuing. Network network and network, as relationships will be one of the most significant assets in your career. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and people that you can learn from, go to museums, and participate in clubs or in social media groups. Live art, breathe art, and lastly figure out your end goal and base your life decisions on that, which will keep you in line with your path.
AOTCE: Do you have a mentor or mentor others?
KEVIN PALMER: I’ve been approached for Mentorship a few times, and I feel honored and humbled every time. I think we should all seek guidance from experienced individuals that we can trust and look up to and I also feel that even as professionals we should keep that open door as this is how I think we should keep the cycle going of creating great artists for the world to receive.
AOTCE: Did you show your work during the past year?
KEVIN PALMER: On the last weekend of July 2022, I collaborated in an art show called When Clouds Align with my childhood best friend Joey Cazeno in Detroit Michigan. He was most gracious to have me collaborate on four (4) art pieces that were showcased. These pieces combined our current unique styles blending his colorful cloud art and abstract design with my stylized portrait and figurative digital art. You can find the virtual tour here: https://tour.explore360tour.com/when-clouds-allign
AOTCE: Do you have a studio or is your studio in your home?
KEVIN PALMER: My studio space is primarily within my home.
AOTCE: Where can your work be seen?
KEVIN PALMER: You can view my work at www.kpstudios.carbonmade.com. I’m not currently affiliated with a gallery but I'm currently in a book partnership with Royal Minds publishing illustrating their Young W1on’s children’s book series. Also, I'm in the development of an animated series based on Nina Simone.
AOTCE: Who is your favorite artist of major influence?
KEVIN PALMER: I definitely have influential people that I admire and have made an impact on how I view the world currently from family, art, and community ambassadors. Some of these names are my grandmother, Mom, Dad, Sister, Lesean Thomas, Shawna Mills, Carl Jones, Chase Conley, Bruce W. Smith. 19 keys, and Bob Proctor.
AOTCE: Thank you Kevin for being a part of the interview process for AOTCE.
KEVIN PALMER: You’re very welcome.