While pop art might seem like a relic of midcentury design, the art form is actually very much alive and well, thanks to artist Kii Arens. The St. Paul, Minnesota native grew up on rock 'n' roll, and, early on, developed a love for the groundbreaking album art, band logos, and fonts of the sixties and seventies. As such, it is only appropriate that his first big break was Woodstock 1994: While other artists were trying to recreate the tie-dye magic of 1969, Arens developed a look that was thoroughly modern, and was quickly promoted to lead graphic designer for the mud-filled rock fest. After that coup, Arens began developing designs for a litany of big-name musicians and bands—Cheap Trick, R.E.M., Soundgarden, Seal, Van Halen, Marilyn Manson, and many more. Today, Arens’ work runs the gamut from his signature pop creations to photography to SPIN-ART, and can be seen at various music venues as well as in some of the top galleries around the world. Here, Arens shares his thoughts on donuts, handy decorating tricks, and life as an artist.
What’s the one habit you have that changed your life for the better?
I’m not sure if you’d call doing art every day a habit, but I usually wake up every morning conjuring color combos and design concepts. My habit is fueled by my daily trip to Gold’s Gym across the street, where I get my coffee. Someday I’ll work out, maybe.
What’s the one habit you have that’s not so great?
L.A. is jam-packed with donut shops in every shape and size. The first thing that gets me is the kitschy look and name of the place, and then, of course, the donut itself has to deliver. You must have whole milk with your donuts as well—double whammy.
What’s your naughtiest habit?
Like I’d tell you.
What’s your secret (or not-so-secret) décor habit?
When I paint my walls, I always add a six-inch white border with rounded corners, made using an LP. It really makes a place look clean and cozy…and a bit like a Rubik’s Cube.
What three décor habits should every woman adopt?
Challenge yourself with a bright color.
Try a crazy idea—something straight from the gut—and don’t skimp on your delivery.
Stay away from animal prints. They only make you look older.