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Local artist brings street art style to Denton

Local artist brings street art style to Denton

10/30/2016 DENTON, TX Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, poses for a photo as he works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Credit: Hannah Breland

Local artist brings street art style to Denton
November 02
18:34 2016

Kailon Medrano, 20, is a local Denton artist who goes by the moniker Hydrohipo. His style mixes street art with realism, allowing him to create pieces that look both photographic yet unique.

He was featured as a winner in this year’s Oaktopia music festival t-shirt contest and as one of several live artists.

“I guess my inspiration comes from everything,” Medrado said. “For me, when I do stuff, I don’t just want it to be a hobby. I want it to mean something more.”

Medrano was born in Denton and grew up in Krum, a neighboring Denton town.  He said when he was younger, he took a lot of time creating street art, picking up some of his artistic influence from his father, while developing a style of his own. The artist now spends time in and out of Dallas, taking photographs, painting, drawing and boxing.

“All of my art plays off my thoughts,” Medrano said. “I hide behind these images.”

His art often pictures “monstrous” women who he says are “beautified, but still have battle scars.” His art plays off of emotions and is an attempt to draw an emotional connection between the characters, Medrano and the viewer. Medrano says he depicts women more frequently because he relates to women, and their expression of emotion, easily.

Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Hannah Breland

Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Hannah Breland

“As artists, we’re emotional, in any sense like in writing, like in music,” Medrano said. “We’re all emotional to our craft. When I was younger, I used to cry. I guess when I would get angry, sometimes I’d cry.”

Tears are frequented in Medrano’s pieces. The tears, he says, don’t necessarily show weakness, but rather raw emotion. He wants the tears on his characters, though up to interpretation, to be a sign of expression instead of instability.

“They’re crying, but they look okay,” Medrano said. “They don’t look sad.”

Winning Oaktopia’s t-shirt contest meant that many residents and festival attendees saw and wore Medrano’s work, which was printed all over the festival.

“I love his aesthetic, you know, it’s kind of graffiti, more edgy I guess you could say,” Matt Battaglia, CEO and co-founder of Oaktopia, said. “We just got to talking more and he kept showing me stuff.”

At the festival, there were live artists and art installations, a part of the festival that the Oaktopia crew has kept alive since their first year.

“We’ve done it every year since year one, I guess just through contacting people the first couple of years, finding out who the street artists were, and just asking if they wanted to,” Battaglia said. “Through that, I kind of developed more relationships with people and they just started coming back every year. I know all of the artists personally. I love them all, they are all super talented. We have a lot of talented artists in Denton.”

One of Medrano’s latest pieces, a live art installation he created in three days at Oaktopia, was stolen off the street after the festival. The piece, a sizeable illustration, was of a character he  originally drew out in one of his sketchbooks, unfinished. At the festival, he let attendees try their hand at his piece using his paint markers, which added random drips and lines of color all over the canvas, fully encompassing what it means to have “live art.”  In full scale, the piece was complete.  

Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Hannah Breland

Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Hannah Breland

“It sucked, but I was just surprised someone wanted it that bad,” Medrano said. “They moved like an eight or nine-foot painting with a frame. It took like two to three people to move it, so they were dedicated. I was sad to see it get stolen, but it’s happened to me before.”

Medrano said in high school, his art had been stolen off of the walls, with one remaining ripped in half.

“That was more just for fun, but I wanted this one,” Medrano said.

Medrano attended Denton High School, which is where he began developing and honing his style under the watchful eye of James Rosin, one of Denton High School’s art teachers and also the department head of visual arts.

“I’m very, very encouraged, so happy, that he’s really making a name for himself,” Rosin said.

Rosin said that during Medrano’s time in high school when he first came to his classes as a freshman, he saw the influence of street art in Medrano, but sometimes his pieces were someone else’s images, redone by Medrano’s hand. What Rosin tried to capitalize on and develop was Medrano’s original style and in turn his own original images.  

“I knew this kid was going to do just fine, but at the same time he wasn’t making anything that unique and original,” Rosin said. “When he was here, we really helped develop his own voice, his own style, incorporating his own intricate designs into something that he had already been doing.”

Medrano and Rosin were close, and Medrano names his high school art teacher as one of his main influences in developing the style and individuality in his own original art.

“He was more of a friend than a teacher,” Medrano said.

Moving forward, Medrano wants to stray from the traditional art path of being featured in galleries.

“I would like to see galleries, but what I want to see more of is commissioned murals or murals for a cause,” Medrano said.

For now, Medrano’s art has made it again onto another t-shirt as the winner of another music festival’s t-shirt contest, “Band Together Denton”. The festival will be a two-day festival, split up between 10 house venues, featuring 60 bands.

As a kid, Medrano said he might have tagged something or put up a sticker on his way home. Murals to him would be an homage and reminder of his antics from when he was younger. In murals, Medrano could relive that experience of seeing his art and influence on a street he walks.

“I think it would be cool to walk by a side of a building where I live or where I grew up at and see murals by me,” Medrano said.

Featured Image: Kailon Medrano, 20-year-old Denton resident, poses for a photo as he works on one of his art pieces at West Oak Coffee Bar. Hannah Breland

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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