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“A E Kieren”

During the Fire Island Invasion, while surrounded by hundreds of flamboyant drag queens all waiting to board the ferry to the Pines, I noticed an artist quickly and successfully painting some of the beautiful Invaders.

Being impressed by his artistry, I quickly grabbed one of his cards and decided he was certainly worth a conversation.

You are an amazing artist.
Thank you, I’ve been doing it awhile.

How long?
Sort of always. I was always drawing. Then I went to art school, then I also came to New York and went to SBA to get my masters.

Where are you originally from?
I’m from Michigan.

So we met on Fire Island, I saw you draw, or paint actually China. So what is it you do, just hang out and see who wants a picture of themselves?
Depends. So I have my own website where I sometimes go to events and sketch what people are wearing. I go to a lot of parties in Brooklyn and recruit volunteers. I tell them I really like what they are wearing and that I would like to grab a sketch of them for this fashion illustration website that I do. The job on Fire island was a little different because I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was doing it for “The Front Row”, which is a fashion publication.

Are you a fashion artist?
I do a lot of fashion, but my real specialty is music. I go out in the jazz venues around town sketching live performances of musicians. I definitely enjoy working in fashion because it can be a lot of fun, it can be lucrative, glamorous, and all that good stuff. However the music is the most fun. There are certain times when those worlds collide. I do some pictures that would be intersections of the world of fashion and music.

Do you sketch a lot in the gay community?
Definitely! If you go to my fashion illustration blog, that’s kind of the whole point of this. It’s sketches from the queer underground in Brooklyn, and what the club kids and drag queens are wearing, because that’s interesting to me. The reason why I started that website because is most fashion illustrators only draw one way. Every body is very slender, and I want to do use fashion illustration to document the fact that all people aren’t necessarily super skinny, or super rich, or gender conforming. I sketch handicapped people that come to the bar dressed up and wearing something that they love, because fashion should be to me, for people who just wear what they like.

Where do you hope to be with this in 10 years?
I would like to be documenting what people are wearing and what the musicians are playing. I would like to be doing it in a more public way, like I would like to be sketching for Vanity Fair, or one of the labels, for a client instead of just for myself.

For more information:
www.aekieren.com
www.AEKSR.com (Queer underground fashion illustrations)
Twitter and Instagram: www.instagram.com/aekieren

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