Creativity is often thought of as some mysterious force that is reserved for a select few. In reality, however, many of us start with the same creative means — colored pencils, crayons, and various humble materials — it’s just a matter of being able to keep at it, without fear of failure and with a curiosity to document your observations of the world.
Having first gravitated towards art by recreating his favorite cartoon characters, Kristofferson San Pablo never quite put the colored pencils down, per say. With an early business acumen in mind, San Pablo used to draw images of Sonic the Hedgehog and sell them to friends, which he’s use to buy video games and comic books. The characters within these worlds would, subconsciously, serve as templates for him to create his own set of figures and scenes.
The Filipino-American artist immigrated to America when he was four, after his parents were able to work enough jobs to send their kids to the US. Growing up in Southern California’s Inland Empire (IE), San Pablo recalls their being not much to do but watch movies and television, as well as hang out at friends houses — many of which were DJs, graffiti writers and B-Boys.
Nowadays, much of San Pablo’s early influences continue to reappear within his work — from The Simpsons, the Peanuts gang, and The Sopranos, to sports icons, meme culture, and of course, the enigmatic Larry David. He translates each within a playful aesthetic that is largely created through colored pencils and oil paint, ranging traditional nude portraiture to surrealist scenes riddled with subtle messaging, such as a nod to his Asian American heritage, along with constantly recreating his friends, family, pets, and any and all observations that catches his eye out in the open or on his Instagram feed.
For the latest Pen & Paper, Hypeart caught up with San Pablo to learn more about his vibrant aesthetic, along with his creative studio, Vacancy Projects. Read the full interview below.