Kai & Sunny Paint The Downtown
Kai and Sunny recently completed a mural at our very own Great Bowery office in New York City. The project was commissioned by Nutrafol, a hair wellness company, and unveiled during a launch party for the product. When asked about their inspiration and process in creating the mural, Kai admits that they designed for the job in mind and that they were focused on trying to capture dynamic movement. However, like all of their work, their process is holistic and informed by their environment, so the final piece is up for interpretation. “I think society is shifting right now and everything seems to be fighting,” Kai explains on the direction of the project. “We try to navigate through that. The idea of change is a good thing, it’s not that hard to explain but it’s an abstract piece. People can take what they want from it, but I wanted to get the idea across of shifting and moving and some kind of change.”
The style of the piece is in fact juxtaposed with the method they used to create it. When speaking about their process, Kai described a process that is “quite methodic and thought-through.” He further explains that their process does not include free form, it’s focused on planned design. Their piece, which is painted with acrylics, includes 10 different colors. “We work through our colors, so we work from the lightest up to the darkest,” Kai adds. “Very slow, very methodic and start to finish, so we know what we’re doing.” Kai and Sunny are not new to this process of collaborative creation. Their style evolved organically through the partnership. “We’ve been working for 15 years, and together, 16 maybe. It’s just been a natural process of chipping away, and extracting, and deconstructing, and building it up again.” Kai and Sunny’s use of a methodic process to create an image that captures fluidity is a paradox, but it informs their interpretation of the final product.
While their work is open to interpretation, they value the consistent symbolism of constructing large pieces out of thin lines and the detail of how many tiny, delicate parts make up an impressive whole. “We liked this idea that a single line is very fragile, with the lines in the beginning. You get a group of lines together, hundreds of lines, or even a thousand lines, and it has the strength and the structure, to create an image. There is something quite nice in a line, somewhere, very fragile, but with a thousand lines you got strength and power and color and movement,” Kai explains.
Kai and Sunny’s work is a wholesome collaboration between process and message. While their process is deliberate and focuses on precision, the message is one of change and progress. Kai explains that what attracts him to making this type of art is that “going back to the one line, fragile, hundreds of lines, makes something interesting, makes something powerful. If we all come together, we can make change.”