Artist Spotlight: Hydrohipo

Inside a graffitied backpack lives a quote. The quote reads “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow.” The backpack belongs to Kailon Medrano, a Denton artist known as Hydrohipo, and the quote is his “little tag.” Looking at it every time he takes something out of his backpack reminds him of his dreams. “I have a lot of them” he says, but one of them is for his art to be recognized and it's starting to happen.

Hydrohipo's Oaktopia T-shirt design

Hyrdohipo is one of the two Oaktopia T-shirt design contest winners. His design features the Oaktopia logo inside an eye bordered by rose petals with tears dripping from it. The design is based on one of his drawings. It specifically focuses on the dilated pupil which occurs he says “when you see someone you love,” a feeling he definitely has for Oaktopia. Being a Denton local, Hydro has known about the festival since its first year. While he couldn’t afford to attend the festival that year, it didn’t stop him from going to the square and listening from afar. “I didn’t have any money so I was just outside sitting by the fence listening to music. I didn’t actually go inside, but I was around. I remember the environment,” says Hydro.

When Oaktopia came back around the following year there he was back on the square enjoying the environment when he heard Immortal Technique, an artist he looked up to, announced over the PA. He immediately ran over and bought a wristband, which he still has to this day, and attended his first concert. “I was freaking out. It was one of my best nights," he says.

The Price You Pay
Drawing by Hydrohipo

Emotions play a big part in Hyrdrohipo’s art. Tears are a reoccurring theme and are a representation of Hydro’s own emotions. He says, “I remember when I was younger. I just cried like I don’t care. It’s a good thing now.” By taking those emotions, and letting them manifest inside himself he has been able to turn them into a part of his creative identity. Drawing mostly women, he masks himself behind these beautiful yet monstrous creations. They’re representative of how society can turn a beautiful person into a monster. While all the portraits he draws feature beautiful women - they all have monstrous qualities - with anything from stitched together corners of mouths to horns. And they all feel as if they should be painted on a wall somewhere. This comes from Hyrdo’s roots in graffiti and street art.

Hydrohipo was taught to draw by his dad, who was raised in Miami and took part in the graffiti culture down there. His dad moved to Denton when he was seventeen, met Hydro’s mom, and eventually had him. He taught Hydro from a young age how to draw and make stencils, instilling the foundation of Hyrdohipo’s style. “He really influenced my art. That’s how I honestly started. I have graffiti roots,” Hydro says. Throughout school he faced teachers who didn’t like that style of art, but he still stuck to his roots as “the street art kid,."

Teenage Runaway
photo by Hydrohipo

Along with being an illustrator and painter, Hydrohipo is also a photographer. He learned from his girlfriend, Jackie. The introduction into photography began as a way to get to know her and eventually he “just picked it up.” Both being into fashion, they work together taking photos of each other. Hydro then uses those photos he takes as models for his drawings. While he says she doesn’t consider herself a photographer, he credits all his knowledge of photography to her.

 The Dentonite is proud to present a sample gallery of Hydrohipo's art and photography Check out more on his Instagram where he frequently posts new work.  You can also catch him doing a live painting at Oaktopia this year.


Header image design by Jason Lee