Kii Arens is a Pop-Art Designer with a bent towards Rock-N-Roll. Never formally trained, this St. Paul, Minnesota native grew up with a fascination for album covers, band logos and font styles. He credits Saturday mornings in the '70's spent watching Sid and Marty Krofft as his main inspirations for colour. His big break came when working in the main office of Woodstock '94 in upstate New York. After noting that all of the designs submitted for the event looked as though they were made in 1969, he created a design for the backstage passes that wasn't a tie-die and was immediately reassigned as their new graphic designer for the event.
Upon his return home from "Mudsville", he received a phone call from Niceman, a Rock-N-Roll merchandising company who hired him to design tour shirts for their never-ending roster of artists. Working in an office at Twin-Tone Records, he created designs for such artists as: Cheap Trick, Sheryl Crow, R.E.M., Helmet, Liz Phair, Soundgarden, Seal, Van Halen (with Sammy... boo-hoo), Marliyn Manson, Everclear, and more. While at Twin-Tone, he was also asked to design album covers as a return favor for all of the free late night computer time.
Since then, Kii has designed over 50 CD packages for various local and national artists. He also has created a few orignal fonts. In 1999, Kii was once again hired by Woodstock to design the look for the 1999 event. Before agreeing on a fee for his work, they used a design of his in a full-page ad in U.S. Today without permission. Due to their mistake, Kii gained a chunk of change and, believe it or not, a spot on the main stage for the rock band Flipp... in which he plays guitar, sings back-up and handles all design and artwork. The Woodstock designs allowed him to move from his basement apartment in Uptown Minneapolis to a warehouse loft in Nordeast that is taking him into a whole new world of design and on to his latest venture... photography.
The latest development in his world of design is a large series of SPIN-ART pieces which were recently featured at the Flatland Gallery and OX-OP in Minneapolis. Currently various prints can be seen at The OutrGallery in Melbourne, Australia and Ultra Creative in Minneapolis. His frist SPIN-ART piece entitled 'La-La Land' has become the album cover for Cheap Tricks' latest release entitled 'Special One'. Kii states, "This was an idea conjured up at a Spin-O-Paint booth at the Minnesota State Fair about three years ago. I have this never-ending tendency to tickle the memory banks of my childhood through my design. This body of work is a reflection of my playful design sense through shape balance and color juxtaposition".
Designed Toy Releases
Toy Series Participation
- Dolbee - 5" "ATP My Bloody Valentine", 365 pieces, 2008
- Qee - 2.5" Bubble Lula, Ox Op 2a Series, 2006
Customs & Show Pieces
- Jouwe - custom for Jouwe Custom Show (US), 2010
- Piece(s) for Idiot Box, 2009
- Vadar Helmet for the The Vadar Project, 2009
- Custom Hot Wheels VW Bus for the Toys show, 2008
- Vadar custom for The Vadar Project, 2007
- Piece for Stuffed, Plush Food Show, 2007
- Piece(s) for I am 8-Bit, 2005
- Circus Punks - custom for 100 Circus Punks Rule NYC, 2005
- Qee - custom for Qeedrophonic, 2004