Kirk Randall Harris was the first child born to Winifred and Robert Harris on November 5, 1964 in the Bronx. His arrival was tenuous as he was born 2 months early, and after enduring extremely low birth weight and blood transfusions, his chances of survival weren't very good at all. Fortunately, Baby Kirk pulled through and the legend of “The Amazing Kirkster” began. Soon after he was born, the family moved from the Bronx and Kirk was raised as a proud Harlemite (Polo Grounds). In 1966, younger brother Kyle was born and the tandem was formed.
At a young age, Kirk began developing some athletic talents as well as discovering his unbelievable artistic gifts. He had a passion for sports. Growing up, he IDOLIZED Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees, to the point where he changed himself from a right hander to a left hander because Reggie Jackson was a lefty. He swung, hit, and threw JUST like Reggie Jackson and Kirk paid homage to him with a shrine-like wall collage of his pictures as well as a Reggie Jackson candy bar wrapper taped to the wall of his side of the room he shared with Kyle. He even mastered his same exact mannerisms to the point where many who grew up with him called him “Reggie” or “Big Reg.” Kirk could play any sport, and for his size, was very agile and physically talented. He was a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers, NY Yankees and NY Knicks fan.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” .. Langston Hughes
Kirk’s father was the impetus for his initial inspiration to draw. He would watch is father draw cartoon characters for him and Kyle to color. It was then, as he sought to emulate, and impress his father that he began what turned out to be a lifelong love affair with his God-given gift. As he grew, he’d begun to realize just how unique a gift he was blessed with. The world of comic books and cartoons were fuel to stoke his creative flame. At 14, he’d written, and illustrated a 3-issue comic book that he had sold to his junior high school mates in an attempt to earn money doing something in truly loved and had an enormous passion for. With is dreams of becoming a professional athlete rapidly diminishing, Kirk realized that it was way past due that the bridesmaid that his artwork had become, needed to be elevated to bride. He recommitted himself to his true passion and gift.
In 1976, Shaun Harris arrived and Kirk now became the big brother of two boys in the household. Kirk attended elementary school at PS 46 in Harlem, Robert F. Wagner Junior H.S., then went on to graduate from George Washington High School. By this time, Kirk had a full portfolio of artwork that was; as his nickname states, “Amazing.” “No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.” .. Congolese Proverb
Seeking to master his craft. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta in 1988 to study Advertising and Commercial Art. He wanted to challenge his creativity in the advertising field, utilizing his graphic art talents to navigate that world. He quickly found it to be creatively stifling, so he turned to the world of freelance illustration. Kirk would be commissioned to complete hundreds of wide-ranging projects including album cover design, storyboards, comic books, t-shirt designs; basically anything to do with Graphic Art. He was a TRUE artist … An Artist’s Artist; habitually staying up late nights and focusing on his craft. A humble and generous soul, he would often create things for others out of the kindness of his heart, and many times his kindness was taken advantage of; time-wise as well as financially.
“Let him that would move the world first move himself.” .. Socrates
In 2001, he left Harlem for Atlanta, GA and sought to establish a new foundation there artistically, as well as professionally. Much of his artwork and writings wuld center around spiritual upliftment and positivity. From 2001-2008 he worked as a Security Officer for Turner Broadcasting/CNN then moved to working as a Morehouse College Campus Police Officer from 2008—2014. He was a NYC transplant but established himself as an artistic force to be reckoned with in Atlanta while making many long lasting personal and professional connections there.
In 2014, he left Atlanta and moved to Dover Delaware and had been working at Lutheran Senior Services as a Security Officer since moving there until his transition. While these were his day jobs and helped pay the bills, he continued living a vampire-like existence, spending his nights focusing on his artwork—his true passion.
Kirk had a HUGE personality. Not in a negative way that sucked the air out of a room, but in a funny ye cerebral way. He was a teddy bear; loving, infectiously humorous with that hearty laugh and unforgettable smile. At the same time, he could pivot and have an extremely deep stimulating conversation about the world and all of the elements that make up being a Black Man in America. He had eclectic taste, being able to appreciate old school R&B, Jazz, science fiction movies, comic books, but also serious literature and cultural works. He was nothing short of a Renaissance Man, and his dynamic personality touched so many people; leaving an indelible legacy that will last enduringly. In may ways he was like a motivational speaker, constantly pouring positivity and love into his social media posts and conversations. From his colorful phrases, biting and sharp as a Ginsu knife with legendary sarcasm and incredible use of the vocabulary, to his unbelievable illustrations; Kirk had once in a lifetime talent that could not be ignored. Very simply put, Kirk was BRILLIANT.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ..
Years ago, Kirk began writing these short blog pieces where he philosophized and shared his opinions and observations about everything from social graces to politics, to sports, relationships, dealing with loss, - basically LIFE. It was the world as Kirk saw it, written in an extraordinarily fascinating, amusing and stream of consciousness manner. He called it “Ramblage.” Kirk was unrivaled as a graphic artist, but he may have been equally as talented as a writer. He has a true grit of humor, irony and his storytelling was clever and ingenious.
He loved his “Grey Ghost.” His Grey Dodge Challenger that fit him perfectly. Kirk would funnel his frustrations through hi artwork; politically and personally. Sometimes even clowning, annoying, and disrespectful co-workers with comic books he specifically devoted to them, then hanging the books on bulletin boards near the job time clock for all to see. A self proclaimed “mama’s boy,” he had a very special relationship with his mother Winifred and would very often call her his best friend. He called her and his brother Kyle his two heroes. He never drank or smoked. He considered himself “old school.” He believed in chivalry and carried that and other old school principles throughout his day to day life. He was big on nicknames. He had a knack for giving many that he loved a nickname. Just an example of the nicknames he had given out to certain family members—Age the Rag (Cousin Adrienne), Nestea Ice Tea (Cousin Nessie, aka Vanessa), Monte Carlo, Montezuma, Monster for Cousin Monte. Pattywack for Cousin Patty, Kraig-egg for Cousin Kraig, Iristotle for Cousin Iris, Shmooth Mike for Cousin Mike, Big or BigBig for Cousin Jay, and Big Daddy for brother Kyle. Kirk never gave up on himself and only wanted a world that was fair and just for his people and those he loved.
“Put aside all differences, and embrace your family beloveds. Tomorrow is promising, not Promised.” .. Kirk Harris
On April 5, 2021—Kirk was awarded his wings and became an ancestor. His creativity, personality, loving spirit and life’s works will last forever. He is survived by his Brothers: Kyle Richard Harris and Shaun David Harris, Sisters: Kisha Harris, Dana Harris, Ronita Nelson; Nieces: Kelly Lorraine Allen, Kayla Richelle Harris, Krystal Rain Harris, Dream Angel Thompson; Nephews: Kyle Richard Harris Jr., Desmond Thompson Jr., Zhavia Nelson, and a host of loving family, extended family and dear friends.
“Rest Blessed and Rise Wise Kirk”