There’s a psychedelic-leaning approach underpinning Sydney-based artist and designer Kris Andrew Small’s work, with his use of bold saturated colours; textures; photo-based collages and kinetic type-based compositions. “Movement, colour and madness are the best words to sum up my work,” he tells us; qualities that have attracted the likes of Nike, Sony Music, Wonderland, Crack Magazine, Reebok and Adobe as clients and collaborators.
His output is also a form of activism. Having left a decade of working in advertising to pursue his own art full-time, he explains, “I like to use my work as a platform to discuss issues, mainly LGBTQ rights, but also any form of inequality: it gives my work a sense of purpose.”
The impact Keith Haring (Small carries his journals around “in case of emergencies”) and 80s club culture – the likes of Madonna, Grace Jones and art director Jean Paul Goude – is evident across his portfolio; whether in a commissioned zine for Omega; personal zine BOYS, inspired by neon signs he saw whilst travelling in Hong Kong; or typographic artwork ‘Boys Like Boys’, which was shown in his 2019 London exhibition HOMME. Small also cites his friends and family as a big inspiration to his work, which broadly aims to inspire people to stand by and express what they believe in (deriving from his own experiences growing up as gay in a macho-leaning culture) – hence artworks bearing slogans such as "Man is Femme" and "It's Gay OK!"; and more broadly, to make people happy.
Small says he got to where he is today by “staying focused” and making work “that really was honest to me. That’s when people started to take notice and, well, hire me...I’ve always worked very hard to make work that I think is different to everyone else and that’s making a statement.”