Just like many 16 year olds Sirb K, a designer from Ontario, Canada, likes; metal, art, comic books, videogames, zombies, clothes and photography. However, what makes this 16 year old different is that when he assumes his alter-ego ‘Inkemplete’ he is a fast rising, talented designer! He has already designed for major touring bands such as A New Found Glory, Silverstein and A Day To Remember. So why ‘Inkemplete’? “What do i feel about my art?” says Sirb, “it’s never complete because I am never satisfied.” I had the opportunity to interview Sirb about his work and his goals. He is a really cool, humble guy with a bright future ahead of him! This interview is the result! Enjoy.
TH: What is your background and how did you end up doing what you do?
Sirb K: I guess I have been and art-head since I was a kid, because I really enjoyed any art form, music and cartoons especially. Even in class, I used to draw any chance I got, I still do that haha. I just really love to create, and I applied my creativity to everything. At home I would just draw up comic books, cartoons, trading cards, and sometimes make sculptures out of household items. When I entered high school, my school didn’t really have any good art programs or anything, and I move around a lot so it’s tough to keep track. So instead, I just focused on improving and learning a bunch of new things, which is my favorite part. I just want to keep learning new things, new techniques, and stuff like that. Graffiti, cartoons, comic books, movies, and music are my greatest influences. I ended up designing merchandise only in April, which was when I sold my first piece to A Day to Remember. It just took off from there, and has been a thrill so far!
TH: Was there a defining moment where you realized your true calling?
Sirb K: Since I love music and art, I understood that I needed to find a fusion of the two. Like, I tried music alone, and I tried art alone but it felt like there was still something missing. Together they form a symbiotic relationship for me. So I entered the wondrous world of graphic design and print media, and started to teach myself how to draw better and better, and learn how to use design programs, but I will always have room to learn. Right now my aim is to use the least amount of resources as possible in terms of developing my style, and learning certain things like anatomy, it’s nice to say that you are pretty much self-taught, but I am open to formal education.
TH: What is the most difficult thing about being a graphic designer?
Sirb K: For me it would probably be the sketching stage. Since I haven’t had any education in arts, I really have trouble getting great ideas onto the old 8×11. There are just too many mental barriers that disallow me from starting, because I don’t know where exactly to start. I tend to start something, get really frustrated and I literally tear the sheet up, and this goes on for days sometimes. The problem isn’t inspiration, I am almost always inspired. I just need to figure out how I want to start. Whatever, it comes to me eventually! Although I would love to get some education in arts to really improve the whole process, and some better equipment is also on my wish-list. It may sound lame, but with the increase in technology not having proper materials can leave you behind.
TH: What has been your highest and lowest point with designing and why?
Sirb K: I’m sixteen and haven’t been doing merch for very long, but in terms of actually designing my highest point would probably be the clients I get. I was surprised to design for bands that I never dreamed of even talking to. Above all, the best part is sharing my work with others. This interview is also an honor for me, and it could be something great to look back at after a few years. Improvements in my artwork skill are also my eternal goal, and I kinda like it that way, it let’s me enjoy my work forever. Other than that, I am looking forward to who I will have the opportunity to work with, and the improvements that I can achieve with every piece.
TH: What is your all time favourite design (by yourself) and why?
Sirb K: So far, a piece I created for a Silverstein’s Canadian tour. There are some minor details that I could have done better, but I really love the overall composition. The shape and the colors just look great. Also, a piece I did for New Found Glory was received really well which definitely motivated me to work harder and receive an even better response. When I read some comments about it, I was all happy for the rest of the week, haha. I absolutely love it when something I work hard on gets what I think it deserves.
TH: Who has been your favourite client to work with and why?
Sirb K: So far I must say, Paul Koehler from Silverstein. Not only has he been consistent with e-mail responses, but he has provided me with constant work. It’s great, and I think he is making a good investment in my artwork. I can only improve from here yeah? Truly though, I love all my clients, because they love my work.
TH: What one nugget of wisdom would you offer up and coming designers just starting out?
Sirb K: Nugget, haha. I still have a lot to learn myself, but what I would offer as some advice would be to be innovative. Inspiration is great in itself, but straight up biting someone’s style is not good for you, the “bitee”, or your client in some ways. Additionally, working for yourself is an investment on its own, because you practice different ways to do different things. There’s not downside to it at all, you can only improve.
Oh and don’t just design for the money, c’mon haha!
TH: What is your creative next step, where do you want your style and repertoire to go next?
Sirb K: Next step, let’s see; Developing my style, working and working until I produce something distinguishable, unique, and long lasting. I really would hate for my art to be part of a fad or passing trend or something. Problem is, I really like to change things up so it’s quite difficult for me to stick to one thing. We shall see. My aim is really to keep improving, and letting people know about my artwork, and how I do things.