Askem is one of Chuck’s mADurgency artists who has been delivering art to Chuck for two years. I had the chance to talk to Askem about how he got into art, find out what goes into creating his art, learn how he met Chuck, find out his inspiration, as well as learn more about mADurgency and why he uses the phrase, “Art you can hear,” to describe his art.
The SpitSlam Record Group (Kate G): When did you first start enjoying the art field?
Askem: After a career in management in the corporate and retail world, I fell into art around 5 years ago. I had no formal training as an artist, however, I always loved art and would find myself always doodling and creating artistic designs in my spare time. I started life as an artist as a surrealist with a reasonable amount of success in many ways. However, I found that the work I was creating was not providing me with any personal satisfaction. Instead, it was doing the opposite and was fuelling depression and a sense of disconnection with the world. I took a break for about a year. I then started to re-evaluate my vision of how and what I wanted to do with art. Hip hop has always been my love and my inspiration. I believed that if I could fuse this passion with the talent I had, I could then manifest it into a tangible skill and outlet for my creativity.
Tell us what goes into creating your art.
Askem: Typically, a spontaneous thought or a life event will urge me to produce work. I may go for weeks without creating anything. Then I find myself working solidly day and night making piece after piece.
How did you start working for Chuck?
Askem: I started working for chuck 2 years ago, connected through Twitter where he saw my work and then he approached me to produce a weekly and bi-weekly chart/art selection for his signature show AndYouDon’tStop and RAPstation. He also suggested some other projects that we have been cultivating since. Since this first meeting with Chuck, things have developed into exciting areas. Chuck was always a very inspirational character for me, a loud voice in a confused world and from what I saw from the outside someone of character. Chuck is the epitome of an artist in my opinion and always has a view on what and where we can take things next. For me that is the ideal person to work with as I have a very broad and far reaching vision for where I see my work going and believe the cultivation of individuals who think alike really create something unique
Where do you get your inspiration?
Askem: My art inspirations come from Salvador Dali, cartoonist Herge and Andy Warhol, and, of course, hip hop. I also get inspiration from the human condition. I also like to highlight the injustices humans face in the world. I think as an artist it is my responsibility to influence or invoke a mindset change with my audience.
Tell us a little about Chuck’s artist network, mADurgency and your part in it?
Askem: A fantastic artists’ collective! We have been forged together with Chuck's vision and have not only become colleagues but great friends. We have been very fortunate enough to create several elements on the new public enemy album, Man Plans God Laughs, along with elements of its marketing campaign. We aim to be the one stop go to guys and gals for hip hop.
You use the phrase, “Art you can hear,” to describe your art. Tell us more about why you identify with that phrase?
Askem: I believe art is one of the most fundamental things mankind can do in their lifetime. Art has allowed us to record past events so our life can be chronicled. We have seen art on the writings of walls in caves to now art in the digital age. I always aim to create work that resonates with the viewer, like the way a song will take you back to a life event that you may have experienced. It is important to have experiences, and as far as I am concerned, art should be a journey of experience. Art is emotive… my art is “Art you can hear."
Kate G is Kate Gammell for Update Reports on The SPITdigital SLAMjamz Recording Label Group