His now famous live painting exhibitions for the Sony Music Group, the New York Yankees, MTV and others, have placed this Brooklyn-based artist among the elite in a notoriously pretentious New York art scene, while gradually gaining national recognition.
Growing up in Baltimore, Kirhagis would often dream his days away, looking up at the big green sign near his home that read “I-95 North to New York.” Knowing early on that he wanted to be an artist, he envisioned a new life for himself and planned his escape to the “mecca for art” as the next step in his future.
Although he never received support from his peers or family members as a child, he constantly painted and interpreted everything he saw onto paper.
“I would pull out my mother’s eyeliner and draw on a paper towel or something,” Kirhagis recalled, looking back on some of his earliest memories. “I was always drawing what my eyes saw.”
In high school, he hid behind his athleticism by joining the wrestling and soccer teams at Archbishop Curley in Baltimore, just off the nearby exit to his planned escape for independence.
When he was alone, he looked to the works of Salvador Dali as a refuge from the life he was leading and a testament of art’s endless possibilities. In time, he developed his own techniques, a definition for his own personal success and soon began his journey.
“I always believed in my gift and my talent,” he explained. “It was always something outside of myself that I truly feel was something given to me, and I didn’t need anybody else to believe in me.”
While his parents would not support an “impractical” degree in art, he eventually convinced his parents to support the move to New York to the graphic design program at Hofstra University.
It was there where he was able to use both his appetite for art and his newly established skills in Photoshop and design programs to quickly achieve a degree in 2005.
At 22, he started Brikwork Studios, his own graphic and web design company he developed while attending college. Right away he was creating logos and designing for companies like Exit Realty, South Hampton Brick and Tile, and Synergy Fitness Clubs.
His business took a devastating hit in the economic bubble of 2008, sending him back to the drawing board.
“I took a one-year office job, built the company up and after 12 months they let me work from home on salary,” he said. “I made a promise that I don’t ever want to look somebody in the face and say I didn’t believe in myself and I didn’t pursue my dreams to the best of my abilities.”
In his free time, Kirhagis painted and developed his craft. He was drawing for passion again.
He started a series of live painting exhibitions around the city, which soon gained recognition.
His now-legendary performances at Velour Lounge in Chelsea granted Kirhagis citywide recognition and a contract from Sony to perform at an album release party for John Legend and The Roots.
Since then his career has taken off, performing live painting exhibitions for the PGA National Launch in Orlando, Justin Timberlake’s Shriner’s Hospital For Children in Las Vegas, the BMW Charity Pro-Am and many, many others.
“I just know when I see a kid from public housing, and there’s a 70-year-old white woman from a whole different fabric of life, conversing over my art,” said Kirhagis, “through the art or the image, the fact that they can stand there on common ground and share a smile, and that content came from my hand and my mind, I truly believe I can make a mark with the things that I do.”
Today, Kirhagis, 29, is preparing for his next show set for Sep. 5 – 30 at Sacred Gallery NYC, located at 424 Broadway in SoHo.