Kyle Confehr is an artist who’s work often borders between fine art and street art. His work can be found locally in many places including Honeygrow’s headquarters, the airport and at local art shows. I was lucky enough to sit down with Kyle and talk life, art and location.
Where did you grow up and how has it affected your life and art?
I grew up in Northeast Philly and then when I was 12 or 13, it was like 1999, I moved to
Montgomery county. I was there until I was 21 and then I moved to Brooklyn. I hated living out that way because it was Pennsyltuckie, it was Jock City. I tell everybody this and it is true; I thought jocks only existed in Smallville and then I moved out there and I was like, “This can’t be real life.” I just hated every minute of it so I started skateboarding when I was 10. I would go on little trips with my friends back down to the city. I think I was just trying to get out using my art. First I wanted to do skateboarding graphics because I liked doing art and drawing. I don’t like the suburbs and I don’t like the country so I thought maybe I could use my art to get out of the sticks. I would say that’s kind of how I got back into the city. As soon as I was able to drive I was going to New York and I was going back into Philly to hang out with my friends and I was in Allentown a lot. It was all just skateboarding trips, I wasn’t sightseeing or anything. I didn’t
really know where to look for art jobs, like how do you pursue a career in something that is as vain as art? My dad knew some people who did signs so I started working in the sign shop and it worked out that they took my school credit or something like that so I was able to work there like two or three days a week for school. That’s how I started to learn design and then I went to college and I was doing construction stuff on the side, probably one of the best paying jobs I’ve ever had. My friend was like “Hey, I’m moving out of my apartment is Brooklyn, do you want my spot?” So I told my parents I was moving out then I just peaced out to Brooklyn and blew all my money on rent. Then my one roommate was also a designer and was just like, “Do you want an internship?” So I started interning in a really fake way kind of, I just kind of showed up and started hanging out and then they eventually asked me to do work. That was at Zoo York
Skateboards and Ecko, and then Ecko Red hired me for like two weeks and then they dissolved.
I literally moved to Brooklyn like two weeks before the Stock Market crashed in 2008
so I remember sitting in a diner and literally looking at my resume and journaling
out where I could go and then watching the news about these people committing suicide because they lost all their money. That was kind of how I got into it.
Why live and work in Philly?
When I lived in New York I was trying to get my feet wet as a designer and as an artist.
Then I moved to Texas and I had a friend of mine there who really took me under his wing and started showing my work in his gallery. That’s how I got into the fine art
side of things then people just ate it up. They wanted to do something trendy so
I did fairly well with selling work there at least. Then I moved back here and it was
like starting all over again. The Philly market is totally different in the design world
and in the art world. I don’t know, I’m not attached to Philly. I think I’m just as miserable as any local who kind of like cannibalizes their own city. I appreciate it for what it
is. In Dallas, everything is brand new, everything is clean and nice and neat. Coming
back here is weird because it’s easy to fall back into what you’re used to. I consider
Philly my home but I’m not that attached.
What plans do you have for the future?
I’m going to start working with my first freelance client and that’s kind of an awesome
first step. I think my favorite thing about what I do is I kind of am able to put art and
design together and package them as one thing. That’s really hard for some people
and that’s really hard for me but I can kind of just fake it.
Ideally I would love to open a multi-disciplinary design studio where communal
events or artists or creators are able to come and go as they please. Almost like a
coworking space but you can come in and watch people actually throw down with
traditional old-school design principles and get the books out and actually delve into a
project from A-Z. Also I would like to showcase creativity from the local area because I
feel like Philly has a lot of really good talent but everyone is pissed off, no one wants to
do anything and the design that is decent here leaves. I feel like in 10 years we’ll have
a really good design scene here but right now it’s ten years behind.
Find Kyle on Instagram @Kyle_Confehr