We spoke to Elijah Anderson who is a self-taught artist/illustrator from Sarasota, Florida. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. We collaborated with him on our latest release which is in connection with our playlist series called Bene Vibes. This will be released this Friday at 7PM.
What are your current inspirations right now?
Right now I am greatly inspired by the movements happening for racial justice and the fight for black lives here in the United States. Besides our current social climate, I am also particularly inspired by artists like David Hammons, Faith Ringgold, and Bill Traylor, who have given me hope as a Black artist to make a name for myself in a world so often dominated by whiteness. Also, music has always been a big part of my life and is always a big inspiration.
How did you initially get into illustration?
I think my first love for drawing came from a tv show I used to watch when I was young called “Pappy Drew It”. As I got older, I got more into music and skateboarding, which led me to discover “outsider” artists like Barry McGee, which eventually turned into a love for graffiti. Without graffiti itself, I don’t think I would have ever gotten seriously into art or illustration.
Graffiti was a huge foundation for me, as I never went to art school, it taught me about space, form, shape, color, etc. I’m sure there are a lot of artists who can also say the same!
Your five favourite books/magazines right now?
Right now I’m in the middle of reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and trying to expand my intake of more black literature/writings. Besides that, I think the last magazine/publication I picked up was the Japan issue from Kennedy Magazine (super nice!). Record Magazine is also a good one!
What is your creative process like?
It really depends on the project, but I’d say the majority of my work starts with a ton of doodling. If I have specific requests from people I’m working with, I’ll usually sit in front of a blank piece of paper with whatever they have requested in mind, and just doodle/sketch until some sort of idea comes to me.
Sometimes I have ideas that pop into my head that I feel the need to turn into a drawing, and sometimes I look around for good references etc., but I recently I’ve enjoyed seeing what I can come up with first, without outside influences.
What are your plans for the future with your work?
That’s hard to say! As much as I like doing what I do right now, I would love to focus on bigger works in the future, and possibly be involved in more shows. But regardless, I don’t think I‘ll ever stop drawing.