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HOMETOWN HERO: Franklin Kernes

by | Jun 24, 2020 | Bottom Right Box, Voices of Davidson

Franklin Kernes and his daughter

Popular Davidson creative resource, Franklin Kernes, has been a professional artist for six years and a graphic designer for ten. He and his wife have a darling four-year-old daughter, Noa, and reside in Kannapolis. Kernes has lived in the area all of life, growing up in Mooresville. His wife is from San Diego.

Kernes’ work can be seen not only in homes and businesses in the Lake Norman and Charlotte areas, but also nationally and internationally. His latest pieces are usually on his Instagram site:  @fk.creative.

Kernes gained recent acclaim for his selection to paint one of the letters on downtown Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter mural. Here is his fascinating story:

“Sunday, June 7, I got the go ahead to proceed on my letter, with sketches due for approval before 2 p.m. on Monday. We then painted for nine hours on Tuesday in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Charlotte.

For the letter V, I wanted to keep things simple and the message clear. I wanted Black Lives Matter to be the center theme but also to reinforce Girl Power. Being the father of a four-year-old girl, I wanted her and other little black girls to be represented and inspired.

A lot of what she’s into these days (i.e.princesses) does not reflect an image of her, so I want to do my part in changing that representation.

It was hot, the asphalt was unforgiving, and we were tired, but everyone participating was smiling and having a great time. The vibe and energy were like nothing I’ve felt before as an artist.

The experience for me was symbolic. It was a glimpse of what it’s like to be Black in America. We are constantly under “heat,” and we are tired and America can be an unforgiving place, but we are still able to find the joy in creating beautiful and incredible things. I am still taking it all in, but am honored to be a part of it”

Tell me about your day job.

Well, I’m an artist first. My “other” job is graphic design. I’ve worked at PostNet here in Davidson for quite some time now and have helped many small businesses in the area grow.

How did you uncover this passion?

I think deep down, everyone knows what they want to do. It’s just a matter of action. My wife helped push me into the action steps and I’ve been on this marathon ever since.

What inspires you every day?

I’m inspired by my family, by nature, by experiences, the list can go on for forever. If you just pay attention, inspiration is all around us, all the time.

What are your challenges and speed bumps along the way?

Just like with anything, there are always ups and downs. But I’ve learned to power through and stay on course. I’ve had challenges, like not having a space to create in or difficulties with having enough time. But I think that’s just the universe’s way of seeing how badly you really want something.

Secrets to staying motivated and positive?

I have a pretty positive personality but staying motivated is difficult at times. It helps to have the right types of people around you.

How can Davidson residents best support you?

They can buy art! LOL! Actually, a lot of my collectors are here in Davidson. They’ve been supportive since my first solo exhibit.

Andrea Caughey

Andrea Nordstrom Caughey is a magazine editor and lifelong writer who hit the jackpot moving to Davidson from California.

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