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Behind the Artist: Covering 75’s KFiSH

Kelcey Fisher recreates SDM's very first cover from October 1948 by reimagining it in 2023


Kelcey Fisher, the local artist professionally known as KFiSH, is comfortable pretty much anywhere. Drop him in his current homebase of Encinitas and he’ll find inspiration in the roving tides and casual metronome that plots the neighborhood’s classic chill. Plant him in Bushwick, NY and he’ll adopt the patina of grit steaming off the far-flung borough’s sidewalks. Hell, he might even start painting on them.

It’s this amalgam of beachy sensitivity and urban gravitas that gives KFiSH his signature style. He even has a name for it: “controlled chaos,” a wavy pattern of distinct strokes, at once mesmerizing in its ease and deafening in its repetition.

His duality of breezy calm and stark ambition was one of the reasons we asked him to reinterpret the very first cover of San Diego Magazine. Each month in 2023, we will be asking a local artist to recreate one of our iconic covers from the past 75 years. For January, we’re debuting our very first cover from October 1948: a line drawing of the Majestic Hotel by E. Miller.

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A post shared by KELCEY FiSHER (@kfishla)

Though a wanderer at heart, KFiSH claims that San Diego will always be home and is often the impetus of his visions. Having moved from a small beach town in Florida to Coronado (where he spent most of his childhood), being in San Diego was a surreal opportunity for him, one that allowed him the chance to be surrounded by both a city filled with colorful murals and another country only 15-minutes from home.After a couple of years in college in Maryland, KFiSH moved to Los Angeles to pursue his art. In storied LA fashion, his career was kickstarted at a party headlined by Steve Aoki where he took his chances by presenting him with a portrait of himself.The LA doors swung open. The meeting led to commissions, lucrative brand partnerships, vast murals, and eventually art shows of his own. Fast forward to San Diego, where our city and its border status have become a clear influence for him.

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A post shared by KELCEY FiSHER (@kfishla)

“I love the colors, the murals, and the vibrance of SD and Mexico,” he says. “Experiencing the uniqueness of different cultures [and] lifestyles is one of my main inspirations.” It made sense, then, when presented with the concept for the reimagined cover, that he played with the Padres’ City Connect jersey colors to help illustrate Petco Park.“I’ve always seen Petco Park as a cultural meeting space in San Diego,” he says. “I’ve been to many games and created a lot of memories there with friends and future clients. I always loved the energy and, when designing the cover, I saw it as one of the most iconic San Diego spots.”

See his cover here, paired alongside our original cover, and keep an eye out each month for the artists we’ve tapped to help us celebrate our birthday.

By Danielle Allaire

Danielle is a freelance culture journalist focusing on music, food, wine, hospitality, and arts, and founder-playwright of Yeah No Yeah Theatre company, based in San Diego. Her work has been featured in FLAUNT, Filter Magazine, and San Diego Magazine. Born and raised in Maui, she still loves a good Mai Tai.

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