How Krink’s Craig Costello Turned A Passion For Graffiti Into A Global Business

How Krink’s Craig Costello Turned A Passion For Graffiti Into A Global Business

You know that paint-drip aesthetic that’s helped define modern day graffiti? Well, it’s all thanks to one particularly influential artist named KR.

The Growth of Graffiti Culture

While growing up in Queens during the ’80s, KR was surrounded by graffiti writers, skaters, and punks. Graffiti was part of the landscape, a subculture rooted in stealing paint, tagging illegal spots, and experimenting with multiple tools and methods. When train graffiti died out in the late 1980s, art moved to the streets, and writers needed to become more mobile.

Krink’s signature drippy paint aesthetic. Photo by Craig Costello

This shift required more compact markers as opposed to messy homemade versions. Pilot-brand silver paint markers were the preferred tool, but they lacked the versatility craved by many artists, including KR.

In the early ’90s, KR relocated to San Francisco and discovered a thriving graffiti scene. Here, writers worked in designated areas like parking lots, but KR had bigger ideas. He used the city streets to experiment with an array of tools and techniques—constantly striving to achieve a bigger, drippier look.

Developing Krink

Through this trial and error, KR’s Ink, or Krink, was born. By the end of the decade, KR returned to New York and brought his new concoction with him. At this time, the underground graffiti culture was beginning to surface as an accepted form of self expression, and KR began selling Krink at streetwear retailer Alife.

Early Krink bottles created by KR.

Krink Today

Flash-forward to 2020, and KRINK is more than an underground graffiti brand. The growing line, which sells tk, tk and tk, is headquartered in Brooklyn and ships around the globe, from California to Tokyo.

The brand has also developed collabs with companies like Nike, Casio, and Coach, and continues to create limited-edition projects. Meanwhile, the signature paint-drip aesthetic has become a standard for street-inspired artists, reflected both in graffiti as well as into graphic design and apparel.

Shop the full KRINK collection here.