Kevin "Kre8" Vigil is an extraordinary artist whose journey from a troubled youth to a renowned figure in the art world is truly inspiring. Born in January 1980, in Germany to a German mother and a father of Mexican descent who served in the Army. Kre8's life took a significant turn when he moved to Denver, Colorado, at the age of five.
Growing up in a challenging environment, Kre8 found himself immersed in gang life. Every birthday became a celebration, symbolizing another year he had survived without falling victim to the perils of violence or incarceration. In the 9th grade, he was expelled from traditional school and placed in a juvenile center for kids with behavioral issues. Unfortunately, his new school was located in a rival gang neighborhood, where daily fights became the norm.
During one of these fights, Kre8 received unexpected help from a writer, a member of a graffiti crew. Impressed by his tenacity, the writer invited Kre8 to join their crew, highlighting the fact that they engaged in fewer physical altercations. Recognizing his artistic inclination from an early age, Kre8 contemplated the offer and ultimately accepted, setting the stage for his ascent in the graffiti world. From evading law enforcement on rooftops and train yards, Kre8 rose to prominence in the realm of graffiti, mastering the art of leaving his mark.
However, graffiti was only the beginning of Kre8's artistic journey. At 24 he was introduced to tattooing, the next chapter in his career. What started as a visit to a tattoo studio to have one of his pieces inked transformed into an apprenticeship opportunity for Kre8. Over the next 13 years, he honed his skills as a tattoo artist in prestigious shops across Florida and New York. But during this time, Kre8 faced his own battles with drug addiction.
In the final years of his tattoo career, Kre8 sought to distance himself from the wild and unpredictable lifestyle associated with the "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" of tattooing. He closed his tattoo shop in New York and relocated to Miami, Florida, with the intention of starting a new life centered around family. However, Kre8 struggled to establish his place in the Miami tattoo scene, finding solace and expression in painting rather than tattooing. As a result, his clientele shifted from tattoo enthusiasts to avid art collectors.
In 2017, Kre8 made a bold decision that only a true artist could make – he fully immersed himself in his craft. The journey tested his resolve, pushing him to the brink of financial uncertainty and forcing him to confront numerous obstacles. But Kre8 never gave up. He dedicated countless hours to his art, perfecting his skills before his breakthrough moment during Art Basel Miami 2018 when he was discovered.
Kre8's unique artistic style, known as Kre8tizm, captivated collectors instantaneously, drawing admirers from all walks of life and age groups. Described as a blend of modern-contemporary abstract and surrealism with elements of pop and street art, Kre8tizm is a visual representation of his philosophy. Notably, all of Kre8's characters are faceless, a deliberate response to the judgment he experienced due to the tattoos on his own face. He implores others not to judge him based on appearances but rather by his outlook on life and his artistic vision.
In his artwork, Kre8 employs black-and-white to symbolize the stark reality between truth and lies that permeate our world. Color, on the other hand, represents us, emphasizing the diversity and vibrancy that each individual brings to the world. Kre8's style has garnered tremendous acclaim, leading to more than 30 sold-out exhibitions across the globe.
Kre8's movement is one of inspiration, empowering individuals to chase their dreams.