Unorthodox Inspirations: Kleeshay

The mind of an artist is an active one without a doubt. The ability to stay active mentally and spiritually is a trait that can draw influence from pretty much anything. You might look at something mundane and just leave at it that, or you can find yourself sucked in a worm whole full of new ideas that may or may not even have anything to do with what it is in the physical dimension. From socks to sock puppets, from a couple rocks and wires to an iPhone, it’s evident that all of the technology we use today all started with a simple thought and belief, for example.

I’d like to call this abstract sensation The Unorthodox Inspiration.

I recently had a brief conversation with visual pop artist Kleeshay during an 8-Bit video game themed art installation event at Blank Canvas revolving around this topic, as his creative expression is something I perceive as something that has an unrelated influence, yet said influence does pop out at you like the cork of a champagne bottle.

Coming from Vaughan like myself, we talked about how diverse the vibe is when you come into Toronto as opposed to the ever so white-picket fenced suburb. When you get bored of all 4 bars, “Mills”, “Land”, and “Sus”, save some of daddy’s money, pay up that double-fare, and come down to Blank Canvas to see some of his work in person. I’m sure you’ll feel what he’s Abel to deliver…


Speaking of that champagne, pop one open after reading because we all deserve to celebrate the human ability to be so easily inspired, and more importantly, the ability to pass on that very same feeling. What a time!

What sparks your mood to create? Anything out of the norm and unexpected?

An unexpected thing that gets me in the mood to create is watching an episode of South Park. The fact that they are able to pack in so many layers of commentary and satire on all the most current social, political, and pop culture happenings (all in under half an hour) makes me want to strive to create something at least half as relevant and stimulating. I recently found out that each episode is made in 6 days which reminded me of my own process of trying to complete larger scale paintings within the span of a week.

I love the mixture of concepts in a lot of your work. Does anything in your process involve finding something abstract drawing from the mundane? 

Something that happens often that might inspire a premiss for a piece is [when I’m] listening to Hip Hop that is laced with grand braggadocios lyrics while carrying out something mundane and boring in my own life, and on the odd occasion those two things end up blending in my mind creating a sentence or a concept that I can then end up turning into a piece of art. The fact that it’s two completely unrelated things combining makes for an unusual, unexpected and hopefully humorous concept.


What factors in your process allow you to translate that? What allows the message to received in both obvious and abstract ways? 

I think by employing simple line work and flat colour fills that are synonymous with pop art, the messages or themes that I’m trying to convey come across more fluently. In some cases where the thought or concept is more abstract (eg. collaging together images from anime culture with a Kardashian and a product logo) the inspiration is random but conveying through the lens of pop art allows the work to still be enjoyable and familiar.

Some of my favourite pieces I’ve seen at Blank Canvas come from his collection if which  can be seen on his Instagram, and available for purchase on his website.




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