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Small Drawings, High Hopes

Kyle Krauskopf | Small Drawings, High Hopes | Seattle, WA

A self-proclaimed vagabond, Kyle Krauskopf's journey through life thus far has seemed to have happened as if strapped into a roller coaster of the mind, taking him on some magnificent highs while always looping back and spiraling down to humbling lows and into another taxing climb out of those mental depths. Born in Indiana, young Kyle was a beefy lad with glasses and a bowl cut, more into superheroes than race cars. His peers, as many typical kids unsure of their own self will often do, would tease him for what they deemed surface flaws with no true sense of the impact negative words can do to another’s psyche. Showing his determination and resilience at a young age, Kyle went on a self-imposed diet and exercise routine until he felt good about his body. Finally confident to get into the ring with the other kids and make a new name for himself, puberty attacked, knocking him to the mat leaving face-scarring acne and stripped him of his short-lived belt of confidence. Kyle crawled out of the ring and retreated into his mind where he would embrace his creativeness and begin another march forward in life using art as his new source of fuel.

He spent his college years dedicated and focused solely on art and becoming the best artist he could be only to find himself stalled on the tracks again, stuck with a studio degree in drawing and an almost nonexistent job market looking for his talents. As his friends moved on and began new lives and jobs, Kyle dug in and carved his way by building his own art gallery, proud of his accomplishments but more grateful for being able to have a place for other artists to show their work to the public. But as a year passed, he still felt as if something was missing and knew this was not “it” that he was in search of.

Kyle packed up, said goodbye to the studio in Indianapolis, and headed for Seattle, Washington, for his next chapter in life. The roller coaster ride would continue in his new life out west with grand achievements woven in with lows of poverty, heartbreak, anxiety, failure, and depression. As each depth would grasp him, he continued to find enough fuel through his art to pull him through those desperate times onward to another period of success. He would help to build a brewery, mountain climb, backpack through Europe, build an art gallery and studio in the heart of Seattle, Pike Place Market, and become a collected artist of The Getty Museum in Los Angeles - accomplishments many would feel as reaching the top, but Kyle still felt like the young beefy adolescent trying to figure out where he fit in with the world.

Kyle heard from friends back home; after five years in the making, they were set to break ground on the construction site of their own independent movie theater in Indianapolis. Wanting to help them bring it to fruition, Kyle once again packed everything up and headed across the country to start anew. Soon after his arrival, construction halted as a larger, rival theater moved in, quickly ending that chapter and leaving Kyle wondering if he may have made one too many wrong turns. Feeling defeated, reflection would spark the realization that it had always been through creating art when he felt most free.

As the months went by and hopes of getting the theater back in motion dwindled further away, he turned to his art for guidance. If he could not help the theater as intended, he would create a new challenge, a new six-inch square, mixed media drawing each day for the next year. With that, Small Drawings High Hopes was put into motion.

Soon returning to Seattle, he was lucky enough to find work with Apex Art Lab and became a professional art installer and frame maker which provided him with the resources to frame his 365 pieces of small drawings. Kyle then stumbled upon the chance to help build a new contemporary art center where his sweat equity would be rewarded with a venue to display his Small Drawings High Hopes creation. As his hard work paid off, plans for his biggest display party began, only to be sidelined by COVID-19. The quarantines began and the weight of all his efforts were felt simultaneously. Wanting to show his work, he partnered with the Seattle chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness and together they presented a week-long, live streamed art show.

As the show went forward and his work was explored, he noticed making a piece of art each day was inevitably his diary. Viewing each piece, he can vividly remember almost every event of each of those days which would inspire other works entwined with feelings of frustration, persistence, sorrow, wanderlust, and love. It may not have been the door-busting extravaganza he had first envisioned, but it did move him one step closer to his advocacy for mental health. Kyle believes everything starts in your own mind and that is a place no one else can go. He knows even the smallest click of the mental dial in a different direction and his disposition and health could have been wildly different. We must nurture our minds. If that is outside one’s own control, it is paramount to be able to find support and resources that can help.

Follow Kyle on Instagram @kylekrauskopf

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