Mixtapes, Motion Graphics & Maximalism: Reshaping Culture with KidEight

Alchemizing subversive Renaissance methodology, loosely serialized character narrative, and maximalist surrealism, one artist continues to infiltrate and influence pop culture’s multi-medium zeitgeist: meet KidEight.

The self-taught digital artist, motion designer, and photoshop savant spent the first 15 years of his career as a freelance graphic designer. The ruthlessly consistent creative execution KidEight became synonymous with made him somewhat of a masked vigilante of the arts: responsible for conceptualizing and producing the most iconic mixtape covers for global superstars and hip-hop sensations.

Despite being based in the UK, KidEight’s early obsession with mainstream Western pop- and internet- culture contributed to the establishment of his idiosyncratic art style, which broke the mold of the somewhat codified industry standard for mixtape cover art.

The artist described by the New York Times as “an eccentric, [a] master of photoshop and logo reappropriations, with a finely honed sense of the absurd,” has worked with Atlantic Records, Def Jam, Future, Gucci Mane, Fabolous, Moneybagg Yo, Chris Brown and virtually every rapper and hip hop icon since the turn of the millennium.

In 2021, KidEight made the transition from taking client work to focusing on launching his own brand of culture-influenced artistry by leveraging the next iteration of internet evolution, known as Web 3.0.

While relatively new and uncharted, decentralized digital databases known as ‘the blockchain’ are likely to be the apex of autonomy in a reimagined creator economy. The most popularized utilization of this technology takes the form of tokenized art provenance via ‘NFTs,’ or Non-Fungible Tokens.

Simply explained, an NFT is the blockchain’s own SKU system.

Just as products in a clothing department store are inventoried by numbers, letters, and barcodes, NFTs act as the permanent index for assets stored on the blockchain.

Aspirational stories of emerging neo-archetypes such as “NFT Artist” and “NFT collector” have captured the attention of brands and creators worldwide for different reasons. The allure for KidEight was the possibility of escaping the exhaustive, oppressive, and demoralizing ‘gun-for-hire’ commodification of his talent and masterful skill set.

In May 2021, KidEight introduced his most widely collected signature art piece, “EVOL” to the world of crypto art.

As explained on the website of his generative art collection, EVOL is “a 2,000-year-old cherub cast down to earth after a disagreement with the management. At first too proud to try and get back home, now, [EVOL is] unable to remember what he has to do to get [back] there.”

Adorned in tattoos, Grillz, razor blades, and ski masks – among other things that don’t belong to a cupid-Esque Cherub – KidEight’s one-dimensional character universe frequently amplifies, exaggerates, and sensationalizes archetypes rooted in hip hop and street culture, juxtaposed with cheeky vulnerability.

EVOL’s story alludes to the attitude encapsulated by the character’s attributes: “After centuries of equally good and bad behavior, [EVOL] has found a home on the blockchain.”

As a virtual architect and worldbuilder, KidEight has fostered a cult-like community of collectors around EVOL, and established himself as a rebellious and thoughtfully ostentatious leader in the niche internet ecosystem known colloquially as ‘the NFT space’.

Beyond visual and creative boundary-pushing, he is well-respected as a philosopher of Web3’s most important, yet overlooked promise: emancipation from the mundane to embrace the power of being self-contained. These philosophies and more related to emotional dissonance reinforced by mainstream and counterculture can be experienced through KidEight’s artistic lens and the Empire EVOL.

To learn more about KidEight and EVOL, keep up on Twitter and Instagram.

LA Weekly