Kevin Hackett, one of the leading graphic designers in Christian Hip Hop, sat down with New H2O for our Artist Interview Segment
Graphic designer and artist Kevin Hackett has had his thumbprint across Christian Rap music for quite some time. His work has been seen on a number of projects ranging from artists such as nobigdyl., Lawren, Adrian Stresow, Kaleb Mitchell and others.
His unique flavor and attention to detail make his work stand out, creating incredible visual stories that are told alongside each artist’s music.
We got a chance to sit down with him and discuss his passion, his work and what drives him to create breathtaking art.
NH20: It seems like the Kevin Hackett footprint for artwork is all over some of the biggest artist names these days.
Your style and unique flavor stands out among the landscape. What shaped your design style and approach to creating single and album artwork?
Kevin: I think it’s impossible to pinpoint anything that inspired me specifically for what I’m doing today, but I think it always comes down to the influences and personal tastes of the designer themselves.
I remember I was 13 years old I saw the cover for Man on the Moon 2 by Kid Cudi and immediately I fell in love with it. I just thought it was so epic and fitting to the title of the album, that it inspired me to start making art for my songs.
That initial style of like, the roughed up texture and dusty look, was all that I was doing at the time. I think that changed when I saw the art for ‘Mercy’ by Kanye West. That was like my first, real, understanding of minimalism.
That approach to art shaped my style at the time a lot.
One after the other of seeing works by some of the best in the game really impacted my creative process. (Now) I have a style of my own today, which is a balance of minimalism and maximalism.
Even now I’m always trying to evolve that and be different than I was in the past and not use the same ideas but still maintain a consistent style.
Really those initial designs that impacted me drives me to make designs that make others feel how I felt when I saw that Kanye West and Kid Cudi covers.
NH20: How important is artwork to the listening experience? Why do the two need to be cohesive?
Kevin: I think today album art is more important than it ever was (or has been).
I remember that Akon said that album art isn’t as important anymore because of how small it is on iTunes or on the music app or on Spotify, but now it’s the opposite.
We’re exploring more music now than ever and the art is the first thing that you see before you click on the song.
NH20: As a designer, seeing the landscape of art that is out there right now, what are some of the things that stand out to you as far as the state of quality artwork goes? Less of it? More of it?
Kevin: There are no rules to art anymore. It’s literally, just have a square, and that’s it. There are artists that are bringing such an original and unique style to the field.
I think that’s (exactly) what we need in today’s climate.
A lot of designers do the same stuff over and over again without an attempt to evolve their style. You can’t be comfortable in a single style just because it worked once.
I try to avoid this at all costs.
Unless I’m building a consistent look or direction for an artist, I always try to change stuff up. It’s great to have a style, but don’t stick to it for your whole career. I would love to see more designers evolve their work.
NH20: What are your top five pieces of artwork of all time, outside of your own work?
Kevin: Man on the Moon 2 by Kid Cudi is my favorite artwork of all time. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West is another favorite. Because The Internet by Childish Gambino. Flower Boy by Tyler the Creator. Also the album covers for ‘The 1975s’ two album covers.
Be sure to follow Kevin Hackett @iamkevinhackett