Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Featured Illustrations: Boom Bap and Boombox

This illustration can be appreciated at face value but this blog post is about telling the narrative behind it. The character's name is Euphony and her name means pleasing to the ears. I created her in 2010 when the iPad was still new and I was trying to replicate my style in digital form. She was one of my first successes and one of my flagship characters for my art. (aside from Little Robots) Her trademarks are her sheet music hair and the colorful music notes that float around her head. I listen to music whenever I create so there is a Hip Hop influence in my work from time to time. Euphony represents my love for music and music creation.

These two illustrations are called Boom Bap and Boombox. Boom Bap is a style of record production where the drums are the most prominent. It became very popular in the 90's and is one of the first things I think of when it comes to classic hip hop. Illmind is a genius when it comes to creating these types of beats. Skyzoo (my favorite MC) often works with him as well. My friend Chris put me on Nitty Scott recently and I love her music. She's a contemporary MC that blends new school and old school without coming off as corny. Her shtick is her Boombox which is a callback to Hip Hop's golden era. That led to the inspiration of these illustrations.

I made Euphony nude as a statement on how I feel about Hip Hop. There is so much excess attached to it and it literally needs to be stripped away. Mainstream Hip Hop in my opinion is a travesty. I'm not going to name names here but it really is all about image, flow and record sales. Rappers can literally say anything on a hot beat and people will buy. I almost exclusively listen to underground lyricists and artists that still have a respect for the art form.

Initially Euphony was sitting with her knees up and the Boombox in front of her. Generally nudes are not pieces I create (outside of an anatomy class) because it can be a slippery slope. As I developed the figure I thought it was done in a tasteful way. I've been told I illustrate women very well and it's never been my intention to turn this character (that I worked so hard to develop) into a sex object. I think it was about 2 in the morning when I decided I wanted to create a variant where you could see the whole pose. It was double work but I had a great feeling about this idea. These two illustrations are some of the best pop art I've created to date.