We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Kesoglides and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Steve, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Growing up I always wanted to be an architect. I always liked art and enjoyed drawing. I wound up attending the High School of Art and Design in New York City. At the same time, my father was a professional photographer so for work I got into photography and pursued that career for awhile. I learned everything there was to know about the profession. While photography allowed me to be creative, in the meantime, I kept drawing and painting because it was something I really liked.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets us apart from the rest is the fact that we were among the first to write graffiti and from a young age – some as young as 12 years old. We pioneered colorful designs on the subways. As the creator of using squiggly lines and arrows around my name, I inspired other artists such as Keith Haring. Being part of United Graffiti Artists, I am most proud to say I was included in some of the first shows to feature graffiti in a gallery. Jumping down into the train tracks and visiting train yards, such as the Ghost Yard on 207th St (which we were the first to do) in Manhattan, was not easy. We faced some challenges as young kids making our mark on the city. As for learning lessons, in order to achieve success you have to take risks.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well I live in New York City so there is something for everyone. The food is what stands out the most. You can enjoy an authentic meal from any part of the world. NYC offers a variety of cultures for visitors to enjoy and experience. I would suggest they visit Astoria, Queens which features some of the best food in town. I would also suggest they enjoy the scenic views of the Manhattan skyline from the piers in Long Island City.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father really had an impact on me from early on. His hard work inspired me to also work hard for the things I wanted in life as well. Nothing was handed to me – he showed me how to achieve success.

Website: Sjk171.com
Instagram: Sjk_171
Other: My artist name is SJK 171.

Image Credits
Myself, SJK 171, early photos from 1970s and recent canvas.

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