When you are a creative person, what usually drives you is what sets you apart from others. There are so many types of creative people that even creativity can get lost in creativity. Drawing is what set Jameel Newkirk from others who may not be as ‘booksmart’ as the rest of the pack. What does the future hold for the man whose moniker is also Jam85? Well, he speaks to The Business of Hip Hop.
Tell us about your creative work and current project you are working on that is set to be released soon.
Currently working on the social media campaign to promote Urbanime’s upcoming graphic novel, relic. Tag teaming with a really talented artist, Ryan Odagawa, to create this cool art series for them that mixes MCs and Superpowers in a subtle way. You can see more @Urbanine.
I am also working on a series of colored prints based off of photos I took of new york city. It’s an ongoing project, set to be released as completed, then compiled into a book.
What made you pursue a career in the creative field and what do you plan on accomplishing by the time you are done?
I sought a career as a creative simply because it was the only thing I was good at. I wasn’t a particularly good student, so my ability to draw was my whole reason to continue with the rat race.
Tell us your thoughts on The Business of Hip Hop as you see it from a visual standpoint and from what you see happening creative-wise.
Music-wise, the game seems to be all over the place, and with the physical album being obsolete, the scramble for designers and illustrators to still be able to work and be seen is real. I see a lot of things being done on social media, and the music video has made a quiet comeback, but I gotta say I miss the printed booklet. I regret being too late for that wave.
What drives you to do the type of work that you do and what keeps you going?
What drives me? Sanity. The need for complete peace and tranquility is what keeps me going. That inner peace comes from release. If I don’t create a piece, color something, draw something, shoot something, I get restless and then listless. Even if it doesn’t turn into that next string of ideas or if it’s a flat concept with no depth, at least I got one out of it. Also the desire to have something with real universal meaning to it, not just pleasing aesthetics or clever flips of concepts.
What’s next for Jameel Newkirk and the Jam85 brand?
Who knows once I’m done. That’s always the way it is. I could say yes I’m going into fashion or more “fine art”, but the truth is, I won’t know until I get over this hill and get a look at the land on the other side.