A recent pop-up exhibit at Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point highlighted the work of artist GED_KID. Curated by Wade Bonds and Gail Gee Powell, the exhibit displayed the 24-year-old creator’s artwork, which consisted of both paintings and animations — all of which he came to fame for on social media.
Working with pop culture icons Cardi B, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla Sign, Kodak Black, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Future, GED_KID has cemented a name for himself in the music industry in addition to the art world.
GED_KID came from the Democratic Republic of Congo to New Hampshire in 2000. Although he was a reserved kid, he began focusing on art and connecting with his community even in middle school.
As a child, he loved cartoons like Elmo and Arthur. Seeing their illustrations come to life convinced him to do something similar. When he graduated high school, he decided to pursue his art dreams and spread his vision. At Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, he realized he wanted to give back to the community.
“Growing up, I didn’t really have all the certain artistic equipment and all this amazing technology to keep up with what everyone else is doing,” said GED_KID. “I thought, I really want to create something to inspire the youth so they can also pick up art and know that it’s not just them in a small world, so they can help motivate and inspire others.”
While in college, he started posting on Instagram, promoting animated content. He has since amassed over 290k followers.
When Atlantic Records saw his artwork, they recognized his talent. GED_KID got the opportunity to create animated visuals for Cardi B and other artists. He described this as the “turning point” in his career. It was then that he realized, “This is bigger than just Instagram. This is a movement.”
Humble and down-to-earth, GED_KID was grateful for the approach celebrities had towards him. Without knowing the artist behind the animations, they had unbiased admiration towards his products, he said, and artists found him solely through social media.
Aside from the visuals he creates for musical artist, GED_KID now also manages his own music artists who are doing well.
“Since I already am in the field of working with musicians by creating animations for them, it allows me to understand the music industry,” GED_KID told Brooklyn Paper. “It helped me gain the knowledge to manage my own talent. It’s been great outside the regular painting and art.”
GED_KID’s City Point exhibit featured different messages from the artist’s life, including before and throughout the pandemic.
One of his pieces, “Excuse Me for My Table Manners,” also received a National Art Award. It depicts dictators who thought they represented strength, although not in the ways that matter. At the end of the table seating problematic leaders is a sign before an empty chair reading, “Reserved for you.” The piece challenges viewers to decide what strength means to them.
His self-portraits, meanwhile, represent the difference between his polished high school appearance and his stressed, messier “art student” appearance in college. In the art school version, he appears to be the victim of violence. His clothes are torn and there are stains on his face. However, the artist assures the stains are paint, not blood, and the shirt is simply a worn garment to soil during lessons. He still wears the crucifix necklace in the portrait.
“I appreciate all the support, it means a lot,” GED_KID said of this exhibit, which ran from June 24 through June 26 and again from June 30 through July 3 at City Point.
For more on the artist, and to view some of his work, check out GED_KID on Instagram.