When we last caught up with Milwaukee artist Kristopher Pollard—a.k.a. Kpolly—he was fulfilling his duties as Milwaukee Film Membership Manager by donning a blue bathrobe and dancing seductively before a screening of Blue Velvet. Prior to that, he was celebrating the release of his first book, Fake A$$ Rappers, which featured drawings of, well, fake rappers. Now, the tireless artist is prepping for a new solo show: “Slap Fights With Kpolly,” opening Friday, October 21 at Hot Pop, will boast recent pen and ink drawings of pop icons like James Spader, Cornell West, and Dolly Parton, and will serve as a preview of Pollard’s second book, All My Friends Have Butts.
First, the butts. “I use my friends to pose all the time and it’s great,” Pollard explains. “I’m doing a sort of whimsical portrait of each of my friends. Then, a second portrait of just their butt. Everyone who poses gets to choose how their butt is presented. So far it’s fascinating to see what people choose.
“Butts are lovely and all, but they’re much more,” he continues. “They can be funny or sexy or weird or structurally integral. I had a pinched sciatic nerve once, so that became evident right away. Generally, it’s just a fun way to create some elaborate portraits with a sense of humor.”
As for the drawings of Spader, West, Parton, and more, Pollard offers a simple explanation for his fascination. “I just draw the pop icons that I’m into. It helps if they have a look that is fun to dig into. Lyle Lovett and Cornell West have amazing faces. I did a series of James Spaders. The evolution, or devolution, of his hair alone is art-worthy.”
The opening reception for “Slap Fights With Kpolly” will be held at Hot Pop on Friday, October 21 from 6-9 p.m. Original work and prints will be available for purchase. The show will run through November 26. Despite its title, Pollard asks that you not actually slap him. “[I’m] a big man, but [I break] just like a little bird.”