K.Flay Fridays: The Art of Music

I’ve been thinking about this article for a long while. Every couple of weeks, I’d find myself checking Instagram to see how much longer until week 52. Like my standard posts, this was intended to go up on Wednesday… but after some obvious considerations, Friday quickly became the new deadline. Going into the draft, the ridiculously long subtitle “How A Dumb Joke Turned Into A Year Long Project” stuck with me. The minimalist approach, however, has its benefits. The tale of how this project came to be is slightly peculiar. Bear with me.
For the uninitiated, K.Flay happens to be a white female rapper born in Illinois — not exactly your typical mix of quirks I’d say. How did I even find this oddity in the first place, you ask? Faced with yet another blasé day at the office, I put on the good ol’ headphones and lull myself into another episode of one of my weekly podcasts (#TeamGFBRadio represent). Within the music segment, the host, Dave Lang, adamantly throws out the name K.Flay, nearly swearing by the quality of her verses. Intrigued, I venture forth to the Internet and unearth this “K.Flay” entity’s signature jam, No Duh. In little time, I track down the rest of her work and it all slowly begins to just melt in mind. After a year of listening to her EPs and mixtapes, I decide she’s worthy of being the first artist I’d see live. 

The trip to Exit/In in Nashville was easily one of my best decisions in 2015. Not only did I see the one and only Suburban Rap Queen in the flesh, I met some amazing people who also managed to discover this niche indie goddess. On the same day I saw K.Flay live, I began anticipating our next rendezvous. At a later date, I explain who I went to see to my gym “colleagues” and they do what they always do, criticize. The thought of a white female rapper being skilled at her craft was too much for their minds to cope with. The only reason I could enjoy her was for her looks, or so they claimed. In that moment, I decide to start a movement — something to celebrate my appreciation of this eccentric artist. I quickly (and jokingly) draft a photo edit of Ms. Flay with some hearts in the background and send it their way. Thus, the era of #kflayfridays began.

And now I have to apologize. Using the term rapper before was slightly disingenuous on my part; her overall style best described as genreless — a hodgepodge of music, a premium potpourri of lyrical treats, the best of all worlds. If I press play on a new K.Flay track from, I have no clue what the heck I’m getting myself into. Flay can go from rapping about mental health issues one moment to obsessing about vanilla coke in the next, yet there’s always just enough of an authentic byline to let it all come together cohesively. The first half of the tape she’s dropping rhymes, waiting to sink you on the back nine with a woeful ballad. It’s this strange, yet skilled, juxtaposition that makes her so intriguing as an artist. K.Flay isnt one to produce Top 40 music, she just makes what she wants. I could talk about her style all day, but it’s best to check it out yourself.

K.Flay Fridays may have started as a joke, but I quickly began to take it very seriously. Digital Imaging marked a skill I had a serious appreciation for, but little reason to indulge. By spending a little time each week on this project, I was confident I’d improve as an artist. Though my viewership might not show it, over the year strides were made in quality.

Doing 52 image edits of the same artists wasn’t easy — K.Flay doesn’t have an arsenal of images behind her name and using other people’s images as a foundation without their consent isn’t ideal. Ultimately, I decided to move forward with the project, as each photo  made significant changes to its source material. Another challenge was balancing quality with innovation. There are a handful of actions I can make on an image which guarantee a good end result; in that respect, it’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of making everything samey. Every few weeks, it was necessary to review some of the older works to ensure I wasn’t catching a case of artistic tunnel vision. I haven’t yet decided to keep #kflayfridays going on at the same weekly rate I’ve done up to this point, but I still plan on furthering my skills as a digital artist.

A few more samples from #kflayfridays can be found below, the rest can be located at my personal Instagram. In the future, works will be posted on my new Instagram dedicated to art. If you like what you see, make sure to follow. I’m excited to see what advancements year two will bring!

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