Sunday Morning Inquiries: A studio visit with Sky Welkin
Written by Corianne Wells | firstname.lastname@example.org
(DENVER, CO) Sky Welkin has his head in the clouds.
Born Derek Simon, Sky has lived and drawn all over the world. Growing up in Panama, Thailand, and the United States, he found comfort in the sky’s consistency; always changing slightly with each new place, but ever-present no matter how far he moved.
As a self-proclaimed hip-hop head, Derek knew he would need a pseudonym to create a new identity and brand for his artistic career and, naturally, ‘Sky’ fit. And as for Welkin? It followed from the Old English word ‘wolcen’; meaning ‘heavenly skies’. Thus, ‘Sky Welkin’ was born. Since it’s conception 3 years ago, Derek has extended the meaning of Welkin to encompass his unique universe and the cloud-like creatures that inhabit it.
The ‘Weebees’ as they are called, have no gender, no face, and no names. Blank, sometimes hollow, eyes occupy their cloud like bodies while sprouts of greenery emerge from the head of every character. For the viewer, it’s impossible to know whether there is a single reoccurring character or millions. In Sky’s universe, there is no Charlie Brown leading the charge to enlightenment, but rather a steady influx of characters willing to question existence, themselves, and each other.
“I see the Weebee’s as an extension of myself, allowing me to be inquisitive, curious and even critical. If I have a thought I want to get across, and I can’t do it abstractly, I have the option of making it a literal thought for a Weebee.”
The hollow eyes and quiet disposition of the Weebees allows one to enter more willingly into darker questions of the subconscious, lack of reason, and wordplay. Sky’s figures aren’t simply expressing the idealistic views of the Sunday morning innocence from which they came. Instead, they are a force of introspection and existential inquiry. Allowing the unfamiliarity of the Weebee’s world, with no rules or boundaries, to serve as a mirror to our own depraved perimeters.
As Sky and the Weebees continue to create their very own universe, the artist draws inspiration from other contemporary makers like Mr., Futura, and Takashi Murakami; each of whom has mastered the ability to invent their very own visual language.
“I don’t know if artists should get credit for juxtaposing two things that already exist, though I have a soft spot for artists like Kaws, godfather of copycat artists, I rather work on my own language and reoccurring themes to create the Sky Welkin brand.”
As both an artist and a brand, Welkin’s malleable theme and limitless universe allows his work to cross over mediums, with painting, digital work, comics, writing and fashion. As the work grows so do the Weebees reach. The sky is the limit.
Sky Welkin received his BFA from Old Dominion University and is currently living and working in Lakewood, CO. Click here to learn more about Sky.