Dangerous Lee Interviews Illustrator – Kasim Earl

Emalikai
Emalikai the Great

My favorite pieces from your Gallery are Emalikai the Great, I Imortal, The Angel of Death and Portrait Study. Can you tell me the story behind these pieces?

Let see, Emalikai the Great was done in acrylics. Emalikai was a character I created years ago. As a comic-book collector, to me there weren’t a lot of black super heroes out there; so I created Emalikai. He’s kinda like me, he grew up in a two bedroom apartment in the projects in Harlem, raised only by his mother. The only difference is he’s gifted with magical powers. I Immortal was done in oils. I’ve always had a thing for vampires and thought they where so cool. I’ve read Dracula and Ann Rice‘s Interview with a Vampire and seen the movies. I’ve drawn vampires in the past, but never painted one. The Portrait Study; I’ve been doing fantasy art for so long, so I had decided to something different. For years I’ve avoided doing realistic portraits because to me all of them came out looking like bad caricatures. So I said to myself, “What the hell!”, so I tried again. I’ve chosen a model on DeviantArt, her name is Claire Jones, she’s from the UK. With her permission she gracefully allowed me to use one of her stock photos.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork that you’ve created?

My favorite pieces; I have a few I consider to be my favorite. The Tribal Princess, Emalikai the Great ( of course) and The Necromancer.

necromancer
The Necromancer

You and I both attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh at the same time. You graduated, I did not. What are your feelings about the AIP?

I really didn’t learn anything from AIP, I mean the graphic design courses were challenging, but other than that; I didn’t learn shit there. ( You didn’t need it, you’re doing great without AIP.)

Art and artists don’t seem to get the respect or credit that we deserve. How does that make you feel?

Aggrevated, it angers me. Like any artist, I work hard at what I do and to not get the respect (I feel) I and others like me deserve,  pisses me off. Someone explained to me that it’s probably out of jealousy because of the fact I’m self taught and I didn’t attended any fancy or expensive art school to acquire the knowledge to do what I do. With my learning disability it wasn’t easy. I bought and studied a lot of books and took advantage of some of the less expensive workshops and life drawing classes out there.

If you could be the artist behind a campaign for a celebrity, who would it be and why?

Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, Pink, it would be really cool do campaigns for them.

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