The New York art scene crowns a new king.
Every revolution needs a leader. Every resurgence needs someone to bring attention back to that subject or art form. We are currently in the midst of both a revolution and a resurgence in the New York art scene and I do believe we have found our leader. His name is Brian Kirhagis, also known as BK The Artist. BK is the artist we have all been waiting for, some since the passing of the great Salvador Dali.
BK does not just paint or sculpt. BK challenges our minds and hearts to truly examine his paintings and find their deeper meaning within ourselves. BK asks society, technology and humanity to reexamine themselves and their perceived importance. Take a good look at how BK challenges the existence of all of our favorite websites in his painting “The Metamorphosis of Social Narcissism” from his BK X Dali exhibition.
Examine his painting of Trayvon Martin, which he displayed in The Bishop in Brooklyn for Black History Month, and you will see how BK is creating social commentary through paintbrush strokes.
I look at BK and I do not see a painter. I see a human who is commenting on how he sees the world without saying a word. His colors scream out his pain. His lines in paintings such as “Pillow Talk” smile at you seductively.
His message in his painting “God of Sun/Son of God” is so intricately layered that we could create a college course just to attempt to decipher every hidden message and lesson.
I challenge anyone to look at a BK painting once and attempt to explain the meaning of the painting. It may be impossible. As I told BK when we sat down for our interview recently, his paintings cannot be digested in one viewing. There are so many hidden jewels and intricate details that a person has to view his paintings multiple times to begin to understand a portion of what the artist was thinking or feeling when the art emerged from his fingertips.
I first discovered BK’s art through Dame Dash’s Instagram page and eventually his gallery, Poppington Art. When I visited BK’s exhibit at Poppington Gallery I immediately became a fan. I felt as if I had discovered some sort of treasure and I did my best to share that gem with the world. Truth be told, his art inspired me to write and in my mind I wanted him to be my first feature.
After the Poppington Gallery exhibit, BK came back even stronger with his BK X Dali exhibit at The Sacred Gallery in Downtown NYC. BK told me he worked on this exhibit for over two years and it was well worth the wait. The concept of the exhibit was a reimagining of Salvador Dali’s most famous paintings under the question of “What if Salvador Dali was born in 1983 instead of 1904?” This exhibit, which I visited many times, was critically acclaimed. Schools began bringing their art classes to see the exhibit and to speak with BK. He has since begun visiting schools and speaking to children, delivering a message of inspiration and belief in one’s self and one’s dreams.
I recently had the privilege of talking at length with BK. For over three hours we discussed everything from his beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, his decision in college to follow his dreams of painting, a certain teacher who unknowingly motivated that dream, ‘90s hip hop, and a wide range of other topics. We also discussed his upcoming exhibit “Levels” at the Atelier in Midtown Manhattan, opening May 1st. I know you will enjoy this video featuring highlights of our conversation – and I recommend everyone come out to the exhibit and witness a legend in the making.
I would like to thank Brian Kirhagis for allowing me into his studio and sharing his thoughts and experiences. I would also like to thank Natasha Homsi for filming the interview and Robert Lynn for editing the interview. - Joseph Arzuaga