Phil Shafer is a Brooklyn-born kid in the heart of the Midwest. In the 1990s, he roamed the halls of his inner-city art magnet high school with a manual camera hanging from his neck, poised to capture the moments unfolding around him. The setting was Kansas City, Mo., a sprawling metropolis straddling the border of Missouri and Kansas. Shafer’s interest in graffiti began in his early teens and he soon adopted a street moniker that reminded him of the East Coast. It was then that his alias, Sike Style, was born.
After high school, Shafer attended the Kansas City Art Institute, whose past students include Walt Disney and Robert Rauschenberg. Shafer majored in photography and digital media and soon became known throughout Kansas City by his ubiquitous stickers and wheat pasted posters that plastered street signs and utility poles. The bold designs and typography, carried various messages and bore the machine mask that became the Sikenomics trademark.
After graduation, Shafer landed a job as a graphic designer at KUMeD Center and got heavily involved in designing merchandise for local Kansas City hip-hop artists. Shafer’s success in selling T-shirts and buttons for other people led him to a venture creating and selling his own designs. His clothing line, Sikenomics, established in 2006, is now sold in some stores and online. Shafer draws inspiration from his childhood growing up in Brooklyn, hip-hop culture and his fine arts college years, for his approach to art making.
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