Drawing, art and illustration have always been a big part of Massachusetts-born Zach Kremer’s life. His mother is an illustrator and Kremer — professionally known as Qwynto — happily remembers her influencing him from a young age. “One of my fondest memories was traveling with her to Paris and spending the better part of a week drawing anything and everything we saw throughout the city,” he said. After relocating to Denver in January, Qwynto is “stoked” to continue his career as an illustrator and muralist in Colorado.
Qwynto first lived in Denver while working with Americorps NCCC. “I have lived in many places but have always longed to be back near the Rockies,” he said. He derived “Qwynto” from “Quinton,” his middle name, and the desire to have a separate his identity from his art. He’s “always admired how graffiti artists wrote their names. Their work was always recognizable, but their image was a bit of a mystery unless you knew them personally,” he said. “For me, using a surname made the focus more about my art and less about me personally.”
Qwynto’s mother has always been one of his biggest inspirations. “When I was little, she would print out copies of her line drawings for me to color in to keep me busy in order for her to meet her deadlines,” he said. “It wasn’t until high school that I began to think of art as a possible career choice. I threw myself into it full force, signing up for as many courses out of school as I could.”
Growing up in Massachusetts, Qwynto often spent time at the Rhode Island School of Design Nature Lab with his mother. He also spent time in Boston, where his father had a photography studio. “My work has been heavily influenced by my travels, by seeing different forms of architecture and various approaches to color, pattern and texture in environments and artwork throughout the world.” He often takes a more creative approach than literal, using bright colors like deep blues and bright pinks for skin and hair.
Appreciating the Process
Experiences like Paris with his mother are the type of adventure that informs his art. “Narratives are what drives my imagery,” he said. “Whether I’m designing a mural, illustrating a storyboard, or brainstorming an article graphic, I have a story running in the back of my mind that inspires my character’s settings.”
When asked about his favorite part of his work, he cited the process and transformation of a project. “Taking an idea and making a story from it, creating a narrative that viewers can insert themselves into,” he elaborated. “Having it start as a rough sketch, and gradually building it into a finished piece is what I love most. Seeing how people interact with my work, formulating their thoughts about my intentions is also exciting when creating new pieces,” he said.
A New Home Base
Despite being new to Colorado, Qwynto is already happy with his choice of home state. “Even though I haven’t lived in Colorado for too long, it feels more like home than anywhere else I’ve lived,” he said. “Most of my work is related to or reflects nature in some way. Being able to run and cycle every day throughout the Denver trails has been a dream come true and having the mountains only a hop and skip away has kept me energized to create new work.”
The Colorado environment is allowing him to rely less on photographs while illustrating. “In the past, I often used photo references that I find on the internet, but since moving here, I can experience and get my references firsthand,” he said. A newfound love of skiing has even inspired him to conceptualize skis decorated with his own artwork. Qwynto hopes to keep Colorado as a home base while continuing to explore the world. “Traveling with my work has always been a big dream of mine,” he said. I try to keep an open mind for where my work could exist, whether on skis, in magazines, galleries or on the side of a building.”
A new Qwynto mural will be up at Blackbelly, a Boulder restaurant and butcher shop, in the next few weeks. He also fills his Etsy shop with daily paintings. Some of these will be on display at The Golden Mill — a community gathering place in Golden — at the end of May.
To learn more about the artist, go here.