Krink Interview - by Michal Okonski - Sept. 16 2008
15 years after he created his first batch of ink, KR now sets the standard for high quality products with his internationally known brand KRINK.
Krink is a name that is often heard in the graffiti industry and is synonymous with terms such as "bleed-thru," "staining" and "drip tags". But KRINK means different things to different people. And most will agree that it represents quality. To some, who visualize a specific product, it means that they are holding something special. And to others it's the bar that they try to reach while developing their own products. To Art Primo, we see an empire forming and questions rise about what KR and his infamous KRINK will conquer next.
We had a chance to catch up with KR recently. The busy KRINK founder was nice enough to answer some questions about the company's origins and it's promising future.
Art Primo: When did you first start making ink, and what made you want to start
experimenting with inks?
KR: Around 1993 I made my first batch of Krink in San francisco, I am from NYC but living in SF at the time. When I was writing I was into making my own stuff, there was no other way, it was very do it yourself.
It came naturally to me to experiment with things and make them work for me. It was all about writing and being economical.
I also wanted to project and use a specific style, big drippy tags. Since I was making my own ink, I had essentially an unlimited supply. I was in San Francisco at the time and I don't think the city or the local writers knew what hit them. Needless to say it became a really popular look and eventually a standard, first in SF, then NYC and now globally.
AP: How did Krink develop as a brand to feature several colors with
several different styles of markers?
KR: As a brand, the name Krink was kind of a novelty, KR + INK = Krink, it was all amongst friends.
The reputation of Krink grew in the graffiti community; this was before the internet, information back then was word of mouth or maybe in a zine.
So it spread slowly and organically, I eventually moved back to NYC, I hooked up with some friends who had a store called Alife, they suggested I could sell Krink. I honestly thought they were crazy, but I said why not? That was about 8 years after I made my first batch of Krink. Selling it came only because I had friends with a store years later.
We packaged it, put it on the shelf and lo and behold it sold out right away. Now the reputation was growing as an actual brand, it was really crazy. People really liked it for it's creativity and it was very unique, genuine.
At first with the colors it was about the streets, black and silver. Eventually as I evolved the products evolved with me. I became more interested in the studio and making more work indoors. Colors and new products was a natural progression, it all just made sense.
AP: What makes Krink a superior product?
KR: Krink is a genuine original. We have a real and deep history that is based in making high quality products by artists for artists.
Krink products are all made in the USA. We support small business and local economies.
Krink products are tested to the highest standards. We formulate each type of ink, color, and product to be the best it can be in it's class.
Krink has style. Krink started the trend of drippy ink tags that so many try to copy.
AP: Krink products don't look like anything else on the market. With items like the Queens Box Set, it seems clear that you see a different market for your products. What would you say some key principles are behind the marketing of Krink? And what market do you wish to reach?
KR: From the very beginning, I wanted something clean and simple. I always felt 'hip hop" graffiti style on products or clothing was very one dimensional. I prefer things that are open and not attempting to market to just one customer.
I'm interested in things besides graffiti, and that is reflected in my style, design, and branding.
I would like to include everyone, I prefer that more people enjoy Krink products and aesthetics than just a small niche crowd. Graffiti writers are not the only creative people in the world.
AP: Are there many types of markers that don't make the cut to carry to
KR: Yes. Too many, a lot of them are currently on the market.
AP: I saw a CNN interview with you recently, how do you feel about the
growing popularity of Krink and how do you feel it affects the products
KR: I'm very flattered at the overwhelmingly positive response to Krink products and style. People from all different walks of life are interested and I think that's cool.
the effect has been really positive, absolutely no complaints, I think people are really interested more and more in expressing themselves and they see Krink as part of the way to do it.
AP: What does the future hold for Krink? And what can we look forward to
in the coming year(s)?
KR: New products, new colors, new clothing, design projects, collaborations. We have a lot of new products coming out over the next few years. We honestly can't keep up with it.
AP: What is your greatest accomplishment with Krink?
KR: I feel one accomplishment has been to take Krink products and style and see that people all over the world have been positive and supportive. This has been really flattering.
AP: There seems to be other people out there trying to follow in your
footsteps, what are your thoughts on the term "Ghetto Krink"?
KR: They say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
It's great that people have been inspired to make their own inks and markers or products. I like the fact that it gets people thinking and Krink is a starting point for them, who knows what someone will think of next?
AP: What are some examples of art made with Krink which you have found
to be interesting?
KR: Steve Powers, Neckface, Rostarr, Jose Parla, to name a few.
AP: What are your thoughts about the younger generation of writers who
have products available to them such as Krink? And do you think that
they are experimenting with inks less because of what's available to them?
KR: I think people are experimenting even more. I think Krink has inspired a lot of people to try to make their own formulas or markers and even to start their own businesses!
I think it's great. Otherwise people would just be buying what some giant faceless company was offering. People look to Krink and are inspired that they can do it too.
AP: What is your favorite thing about your job?
KR:I'm able to work on things that I enjoy. I'm not working on someone else projects, I'm working on my own. That doesn't make easy, but it's nice to know that my name is on it and I stand behind it.
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