Dark Art & Craft interview's independent artist Cristóbal López, who's better known for his work under the name Kerb Crawler.
We'll start with the basics. What's your name, location, and occupation?
Kerb Crawler: My name is Cristóbal López and I live in Santiago, Chile. I'm an
independent artist, husband, and father.
Why did you start creating artwork?
Kerb Crawler: I grew up watching my older brothers draw. Through art, I learned something about myself while having fun. It’s been a large part of my life since I was a kid. I always knew I wanted to be an artist: my parents helped me stimulating my creativity and knowledge on art from year one, giving me materials to work and books to see.
Any particular types of books?
KC: Honestly, art books, encyclopedias, some comics, and random magazines, like Popular Mechanics and National Geographic. Whatever you could find with cool images in the '80s.
What does dark art mean do you? Do you feel like you are a dark artist?
KC: Dark art generally seems to encompass the macabre – like witchcraft, black magic, playing with the power to possess and control other peoples minds, to do harm and submit – all things that are fun for me, but the relation with dark art in "ART" is relative to all subjects and the darkness comes on how you expose them.
The concept of darkness in art to me is related with the subconscious, all
the imaginary occult in our minds, desires, and impulses out of our control that we can't handle, because they are repressed by morality and social order. Personally, I think the role of dark artists is to unlock those deep, dark, occult desires within the depths of their viewer. I don’t know if I’m doing it right or if there is a real way to achieve that. I think it all depends on who the viewer is because imagery is so subjective. For example, an image of kitties in a basket can became a reminder of some trauma or hidden desire and is way darker and intense than some of my illustrations. It is impossible to know the depth and impact of imagery, one of my goals to explore this in my work.
How would you describe your art?
KC: I would describe my art as an independent being that lives whispering inside me – I invoke it or it can speak to me anytime.
How do you sit down and create your work? Do you have creation rituals/how do you get inspired? What goes on in your mind before you bring pen to paper?
KC: The only ritualistic components about a drawing session for me are complementary to the creation process: I like to grab something to drink, cigarettes, and find something to watch on the computer prior to a drawing session. My methods to find inspiration are mostly all on the internet. Tumblr is a very important tool because one can find a very wide (and random) collection of favorable images, from Renaissance paintings, comics, bizarre pictures, gore, to a lot of erotic/porn imagery. The other method is just work ideas in my mind until they take a form. I know an idea is correct if it really turns me on.
What is your favorite medium to create with? What other mediums do you use?
KC: It really depends – I use what I have at hand. My studio is a very tiny room
with no natural light, so pens and paper are the easiest way to work in a clean and fast way… but my goal is to become a painter, and I'm about to give that step. I also have done some engravings but I have much more to learn about that technique.
Who would you say are some of your greatest influences. Why?
KC: My influences are always changing as I'm always looking for new ones. My timeless influences are definitely the Renaissance artists from Leonardo to Bosch, the Romantics like Gustave Doré or Luis Fernando Falero, others like Goya, Velazquez, Balthus, Kittelsen, Martin van Maele, Felician Rops. I’m also eternally inspired by tarot cards, medical illustration from the 19th century, comics (not superheroes). My most recent influence has been psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis as an influence – can you elaborate?
KC: Psychoanalysis inspires me because of how language is utilized to open the door into the subconscious. It’s fascinating how word association has such power to construct reality in our minds – even when it’s subtle. I love the way that psychoanalysis explains the main construction of the self through sexuality, and how that sexuality needs to be repressed by certain mechanisms to exist in society. We carry on with all those ghosts inside and it’s so beautiful that the analyst gets to see the shades of that inner being, sometimes its like poetry, sometimes like science. My work is all about sexuality, and psychoanalysis inspires me to be more and more sophisticated in how to expose those sexual contents... the desire is hidden under a veil, and I like the veil more every day.
What are your favorite brands/creators that you think everyone in this interview must check out?
KC: In addition to all of those who I named before, here are some artists I would recommend checking out on Instagram: Jeremy Bastian (@jeremybastian ) Aaron Horkey (@aaronhorkey) Joao Ruas (@feralkid) Richey Beckett (@richeybeckett) James Jean (@jamesjeanart) and Russian artist Vania Zouravilov, who is more easy to find via Google search.
Arguably, you're one of Instagram's most notorious targets for artwork censorship. Describe your experiences being censored online, and your opinions on social media marketing for artists.
KC: I don't know why I have been censored so many times… maybe because I have no filter? I post what I do and I don't mind if my art offends someone: it is what it is. I don't have anything else to show! After five deleted accounts, my policy stays the same. I won't change my content just like Instagram´s censorship will stay the same so its a clash of forces where no one will win. As long as they deleted me, and I can start again and again with new accounts. Art should live where the people are, in the same channels. It’s important content for people they consume more and more periodically through social media, to think about a platform exclusive for art its useless, because the way to consume art for people today is mostly on social media and it must coexist with everything else.
Being censored affected my mood and my livelihood on the first deletion, but now it doesn’t – nothing does. I don’t give a fuck now.
How do you feel about the relationship of art and social media?
KC: Well, fucking social media change our world in every aspect of daily life: it’s like a big market where everyone sell his stuff. If you are an artist you will show your art, if you are a model/beautiful you can show yourself, if you are an intellectual you can showcase your ideas - there always will be someone interested on what you have to sell. What I like the most is that its open to everyone. I hated how in the past art condemned to artists and art critics and hidden into galleries where the business of art was making fortunes selling exclusive shit that no one gets to see, while regular people never gets any benefit from art in their lives, its more "democratic"… and fuck I hate that word.
What advice do you have to amateur artists out there?
KC: My advice to those who are starting is to keep the idea in the same level of importance as the drawing or painting skills. A lot of people work very hard and achieve the technical part in a very impressive way, but when you don't have an interesting idea to show through your art, it never becomes a true tool for your spirit. I strongly advise every aspiring artist to learn how to speak with intention – always have something to say. One needs to work the mind, the eye – with these two, the hand will know what to do. If you can’t do that, just keep drawing horses or Angelina Jolie portraits, there’s a market for that too.
To support Kerb Crawler, check out his Instagram under the moniker (for now) of @kerb_crawler_g, or buy some prints from his bigcartel - https://kerbcrawlerghost.bigcartel.com/