Krystopher Fakir has been in Colorado Springs a year, and has made his digital content business a highly visible entity in that brief time, from a headquarters managed out of a colorful former house on West Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City, to his multifaceted K.F.E. LLC that includes an art space, the KFakirTV, and a brand development operation utilizing multiple media modes.
Fakir’s time in Florida as assistant marketing director at World Wrestling Entertainment helped grow his experience in sports marketing as well as event curation, so the tagline of his business puts sports and entertainment on an equal footing. He has been an active Rotarian since coming to Colorado Springs, and his networking with video and performance specialists makes him optimistic about the opportunity to sponsor a variety of events, using this year’s Territory Days as an initial springboard.
How did the marketing jobs you held in Florida steer you to the type of media and event company you’ve created here in Colorado Springs?
All of them, beginning with WWE at 20 years old, helped to cultivate an artistic direction that professionally brought my culture and upbringing forward. Several professors and colleagues helped keep my name within the industry loop. My skill sets and experience could contribute to a ‘creative-preneur’ direction. Gaining these skill sets gave me an open mind and perspective to start something new, and provide an avenue for other creatives like myself to be in business about themselves, for themselves, in all communities.
What did you find appealing about the Florida creative community, and what brought you to Colorado Springs?
Florida in some senses was like California, ahead of its time and progressive with creative visions. In Florida, groups like to entertain and engage, while helping the community progress in healthy directions. In each industry I was in, I saw different results. What brought me to Colorado Springs was wanting to settle down. I was here initially in 2013 for an internship with U.S. Olympic Committee. In just a few months, I saw something that was so subliminal but with so much passion and fire there, I immediately got the sense that I could settle down while keeping the passion I wanted to contribute to the community.
2013 seemed to be just the time when the city was recovering from the 2007 financial crisis, and ready to grow up and have a cultural community to match its growing size.
I’ve shared stories with colleagues in Rotary, and that’s a common view. Those who have been here since the early 2000s gave me a different perspective on where Colorado Springs had been historically. It gave me the clarity to realize this place is still growing along several dimensions. The fact the city has become more progressive over the last 10 years is a domino effect of many creative individuals’ impact. A fellow creative owns a clothing line, and is familiar with Denver, and I’ve traveled briefly to Denver a few times, and we both agree that Denver is lacking an identity. It’s a melting pot that can hold many personalities and many cultures, but Colorado Springs was founded on a more centered place for belief, and I think that’s what creativity can sculpt itself toward. It can give Colorado Springs the upper hand in the coming years in strengthening its community identity.
A year ago, as you were moving here, what did you see as the value-add that you could bring to the media community and creative community?
The LLC I established then was a shell company holding three brands: KFakirTV, my media company; digital publishing and marketing in an artist-expressive platform; and Kynection, the brick-and-mortar facility you are in. The last leg contributes to the community because artists can come here, media specialists can come here, and can venture into the therapeutic side of art. Media, art, content creation, all have an underlying therapeutic side that can help individuals grow. That is where I like to attribute the unique elements I can bring. Kynection can be an element, or I can be working in the community facilitating people’s growth. Artists as a whole often are misunderstood, and I figure my background in new media and sports marketing can help provide a missing communication element.
The city has large gallery collectives like Cottonwood that carry a therapeutic element, but it seems you would argue your smaller size provides better focus.
Many individual galleries and collectives like Cottonwood serve the community well. There’s no sense of competition, because my facility and services are for the right people, in the sense that those in need of this particular blend will be here, and those who are not are still welcome. Our doors are open to all. Whether you’re a veteran, a college student, even a younger mind, you have a safe space to develop talents and therapeutically find who you are as artists.
There are younger would-be artists who have always heard they can DIY everything in becoming a TikTok or YouTube influencer. Do you have to show them that to hone their identity well, they need a little bit of guidance in developing their talents?
You can take an educational route to give you a boost in understanding how you might fit, but you can’t just throw your vision up against a wall to see what sticks. Back in 2018, my brother and I started a podcast called “Creative Control.” I asked at one point, how far can a creative go? We can be extensive in thought processes but really absurd in the practicalities of implementation. His answer was that it is a technical framework that informs the artistic mind. We can help you build that foundation. You could eventually find that foundation on your own, but it would be a much longer process.
In practice, how do you build a client base and make people aware of your services?
The operational side just started. My Rotary contacts got me in touch with leading individuals in the community. Each contact has a pocket of consumers, an audience, to whom I could offer a tailored service. I don’t believe in competition, I believe in partnerships, so I can work with a roster of creatives. You always have to be willing to work with other platforms.
In the past, there were people who used the term “creative” to refer to marketing and brand creation, and another using the term specifically to address visual and performance art. It sounds like you are trying to bridge that gap.
And look at the way that related to social media. I’ve seen shifts from MySpace to Vine to Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr to TikTok, each having representations and an image about itself. We always have to adapt in the way we perform marketing, and in the way we present art. Each adaptation molds a different vase. Who would have guessed Facebook would become the Metaverse, incorporating VR and gaming? The next step is seeing particular social media platforms mirroring services in others, so you end up with a broad-based platform of streaming services. There won’t be a ‘winner’ in social media platforms, people will pull together what they need. In the past, social media choices might have been demographics and psychographics, now it’s psychographics, building what you need without regard for Facebook being for older folks, TikTok for teenagers, and the like. That means any advertising campaign is less tangible, less print ads, and more about virtual reach.
How mature is this city in understanding that adaptation model?
Colorado Springs is well past its adolescence. I’ve met very savvy people here. There are also people from Denver to serve as mentors and help keep the progression going. This city on its own has strong capabilities, and it gives me a sense of peace knowing I made the right decision about where to locate.
I would say that there are many people from different sub-communities in Colorado Springs who all seem to be mutually helping each other down the same path. A lot of people want to build bridges to reach a commonality that’s missing. And the wider community now includes everyone from Peyton and Falcon to Widefield.
Let’s say a client arrives with a solid sense of what their image should be, but a fairly amateur or uninformed sense of how to implement the image. How much guidance do you try to give?
I don’t want to think that I hand-hold. I want to be a father, but not a helicopter father, instead, a communicative father. I lay out the issue of brand identity, and try to offer guidance on how content is presented. I ask them the purpose for which they would use any social media platform. Once we define that, then we work on the narrative. We help walk the client to the end goal, while realizing we’re all students. You will always stumble on the way to an end goal, but consistency of presentation is what helps you grow. If you impose directly on someone’s direction, it’s no longer theirs.
And you operate with other creatives to craft someone’s vision?
Teamwork is like point guard in basketball. You need to know the right people in the right positions, and what their skill sets are. My roster of helpers is not just local, but Florida, Chicago, New York, California, North Carolina, Texas, friends in all those locations with strong résumés.
Your headquarters itself suggests a sense of fun, of people coming here precisely for an arts environment.
We have a few events coming up, involving gaming and shared experiences. We’ll partner with a couple local coffee shops. Since COVID, people have been looking for shared experience. We might not have a large capacity here, but we will fine-tune events for the number of people we can accommodate. I molded the interior around my own tastes, and I am definitely unorthodox and weird. This is not intended to be an office space, but a digital arts center, with a relaxed sense of how patrons use it. We’re also looking at open-mic performance under the ‘Poetics Paradise’ banner. I’ve discussed some ideas with local director Lynne Hastings, who is helping establish ties with local poets and artists.