Opportunity struck a Texas State student after his self-promoted art gained popularity within local and national rap culture.
Kristopher Tondre, electronic media senior, started drawing at a young age. With time and practice, Tondre discovered which styles, subjects and mediums he preferred. Now, he creates his unique art with markers—usually a Crayola variety pack. His style reflects Japanese aesthetics.
Tondre credits most of his artistic success to North Carolina rapper Deniro Farrar, who showed him the potential he had as an artist. It all started when Tondre created a small thumbnail and tagged Farrar in the post on Instagram. When Farrar saw the post, he commented on the photo and reposted it to his own Instagram account.
“I would not be doing this if it wasn’t for him,” Tondre said.
Farrar was instantly attracted to Tondre’s creative style.
“I just felt connected to his art,” Farrar said. “It was the unique element of it. I could feel the passion.”
Over the past three years, Tondre has created family portraits for Farrar. He also designed album art pieces for Farrar’s “Mind of a Gemini” EP.
Tondre creates Snapchat geofilters for all of Farrar’s tours and performances.
“We have a pretty set layout for it,” Farrar said. “With the Cult Rap movement that I have, I have everyone doing prayer hands in the crowd, so he’ll make a geofilter of me with a big crowd with their hands up behind me.”
As his popularity increased throughout rap culture, opportunities continued to fall into Tondre’s lap. He discovered San Antonio rapper Milli Mars when he was a high school senior, and has been a fan ever since. Tondre wanted to do something significant for Mars.
“I thought, maybe if I make him a picture, I can talk to him and meet up with him,” Tondre said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Mars, who speaks highly of Tondre in terms of talent and friendship, appreciates everything he has done for him.
“I met him at a show,” Mars said. “He came as a fan, but ended up becoming a friend—like family.”
Since then, Tondre has made multiple cover art pieces for Mars’ singles.
“He’s a very unique artist,” Mars said. “Whenever we’ve given him a single, he’s done exactly what we ask, which helps bring the art alive.”
Tondre’s art has been featured in XXL Magazine, a major hip-hop publication that highlights hip-hop news, rap videos, music reviews and interviews.
When asked about his success, Tondre said he views his art as a passion, not a job opportunity.
“I’m nothing special. I’m just a person,” Tondre said. “I’m just trying to leave a positive influence while I’m here.”