Kwasi B. a.k.a. Nonstndrd
Age: Hella Old
Hometown: Los Angeles (Hollywood/Koreatown specifically)
Preferred medium: Pen & Ink (but I like to paint acrylic on wood too)
Tell us your first experience with art.
I’ve always been a creative person but I didn’t take art seriously until middle school when I got involved in graffiti and skateboarding. That experience got things started for me. I soaked in everything from bus tags and throw ups to skate graphics and that drove me to create things for myself. Not to mention the big influence that Anime had on me as a kid. Macross, Akira, Gundam, Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, anything by Studio Ghibli…the list goes on and on. All that stuff had a hand in me becoming an artist.
Tell us about your art process from start to finish?
I’m a creature of habit, I’ve been refining my process for my entire life. Most of the time it begins with someone that I see on the street. It doesn’t have to be anyone notable, just as long as I notice them. From there the image normally sticks in my mind and by the next day I’ve started working on a piece. My technique varies depending on the medium but I always start with a light pencil sketch and then begin to craft the line work. My work is really about the relationship between thin and thick lines and the interaction between those lines and the white space.
Do you listen to music while you draw/paint? If so who pumps you up?
Music is a big part of what I do. At any given point my rotation consists of: Run The Jewels, J-Dilla, Flying Lotus, Mad Lib, Little Dragon, The Foreign Exchange, Dilated Peoples, and way too many other dope artists to name.
I see that your characters are named are they named after certain people or just inspired by your imagination?
I’ve lived in L.A. my whole life and my characters are a blend of different people I observe on a daily basis with an injected dose of fantasy. A lot of times they are named after a feeling that I had when drawing them or it just comes to me when I look at the finished artwork. Occasionally there are political undertones as well.
Do you have a particular piece that is your favorite? If so why?
My favorite piece is the one I’m going to draw next, I’m all about progression.
How would you say your style of art developed?
My style is a result of growing up in one of the dopest cities in the world and being surrounded by great artists. The way that I render my characters has it’s origins in West Coast graffiti, that’s the foundation that my style is built upon.
Do you have any projects up and coming? Exhibitions?
I have a T shirt/zine combo coming out before the end of the year. Possibly some limited edition prints as well, still working out the details on both projects.
What inspires you about the place that you live?
The diversity and energy of LA is unparalleled. The possibilities are infinite if you stay on your game.
When it comes to art, artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, etc who would you say has had the most prolific effect on you and why?
Far too many influences to name here but in general, I respect people who push the boundaries of their art. And who actually care about craftsmanship. That’s really important, especially these days.
Do you have a philosophy on life?
If you leave this world and are known for one thing what would it be?
Gotta be 2 things, being a dope artist and a great father.
Well that’s definitely a great legacy! Thank you, Kwasi B for being a part of our Spotlight on Saturdays.