Craig Costello, also known as KR, is a New York City based artist whose interdisciplinary practice encompasses painting, site-specific installations, and photography. As a creative director, he shapes all visual and conceptual ideas for his artistic endeavors and company, Krink, an artist materials brand and creative studio.
Experimentation and innovation are the cornerstones of Costello’s approach. He pushes the boundaries of traditional art by repurposing and modifying unexpected objects, such as fire extinguishers, garden sprayers, and shoe polish bottles. These unconventional tools have become extensions of his hand, enabling him to manipulate his medium and create unique marks of varying scales and degrees of control.
This DIY ethos finds its roots in Costello’s formative years, immersed in the vibrant subculture of graffiti writers, skaters, and punks in 1980s NYC. Beyond unconventional tools, Costello continually sought new canvases, from the summits of buildings to the depths of tunnels. His art became an exploration of architecture, scale, and repetition, all meticulously designed to ensure that his marks were seen throughout the urban landscape. His work is profoundly rooted in the influence of his surroundings, with the environment serving as an indispensable and ever-evolving facet of his creative process.
While Costello no longer actively participates in graffiti, it continues to play an integral role in his work. During his formal art education in San Francisco, Costello began to delve into photography and conceptual art. This practice seamlessly intertwined with his graffiti roots, culminating in a transition from traditional graffiti tags to minimalist, gestural marks and drips. In graffiti, style is used to express individuality and is often illegible to non-graffiti writers. Costello draws upon this concept of legibility and explores the manipulation of letters to create abstract shapes and forms.
Painting is a primary focus, particularly large-format works and site-specific installations. This allows him to transcend the ephemeral nature of graffiti and embrace the enduring qualities of canvas and walls. Costello’s paintings explore formal representations and the materiality and excess of his mediums. The resulting forms, reminiscent of traditional shapes, exude a sense of motion. His work captures the delicate interplay between control and the uncontrollable, as he employs techniques like pouring, spraying, and dripping to evoke spontaneity and fluidity. While his gestures and movements are deliberate, he also allows the paint and ink to take on a life of their own, freely splattering and dripping, ultimately giving rise to forms that are unpredictable. This juxtaposition of precision and Costello’s embrace of imperfection continues to be a significant exploration.
Costello has exhibited in renowned galleries and museums worldwide, including Palais De Tokyo, V1, Deitch Projects, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. His installations have made an impact in cities like Tokyo, Paris, Seoul, Rome, and London. He has also collaborated with creatives and well-known brands such as Nike, Tiffany & Co, Virgil Abloh, and Tommy Hilfiger.