@laurensjdrawings, the man behind our beautiful AJ1 'Hyper Royal' art piece, has been travelling the world because of what he does. From getting credit by Cardi B or Snoop Dogg to designing a shoe for Hall of Fame legend: Patrick Ewing.
A round up in a couple of questions...
How did you get into drawing in the first place?
I always had an interest in art and drawing, ever since a kid I liked to disappear into my own world of creativity. I always had more of a feel for pencils rather than paint.
Why hip-hop characters and why especially the 90’s Hip-hop and basketball era? How did this era inflluence you as a person?
The first time I really realized I had a strong urge to create was when I bought the 1997 Biggie Smalls album “Life after death”. The creativity and emotion in that album made me want to express myself. Soon after I fell in love with other groups like “Cypress Hill” , Wu-tang , artists like Tupac, Jay-z, dmx and Nas , and the list go’s on. Being an ex pro basketball player myself I always felt like basketball/ hip hop and the sneaker culture go hand in hand. So once I quit my playing career And switched my focus to my art career, I quickly realized that the 90’s golden era wasn’t only a game changer in the music industry, but also on the basketball court.. with players like Jordan, Barkley, Kemp ... So the topic Came naturaly.
Tell me about your collab with Patrick Ewing?
A while ago after coming home from an art expo in Manhattan I got contacted by the “EWING” brand. They saw my art , my unique style and how it got people buzzing and they were interested in working With me. At this point they had done successful collabs with artists like Rick Ross and Big Pun. Instead of just linking my name I suggested to step it up and create a drawing of Patrick with a typical 90’s hip hop / NY mentality. And incorporate it into the sneaker and box , and go all out. What turned out to be a hit.
How do (basketball) sneakers fit in with your personal style?
I mostly wear Air Force 1’s , Vans and Wallabee’s. But I own about 70 pairs of kicks :) from time to time I wear my jordans, 1’s, 3’s.. 4/5/6 .. 11’s, air max 1’s, 90 or 95’s, my reebok SHAQ’s, Ewings or even Fila’s. I’m a massive sneakerhead, and once again , for sneakers I feel the 90’s era was a game changer!
How does it feel to receive all these warm words by the artists you’ve been making portraits of?
At first It felt pretty unreal, flying to NY, doing a red carpet and meeting some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. After Getting so much love for my art and doing more expo’s it turned into a mutual respect where they really show love for my work and respect my craft and focus. People notice it's from the heart, im not in it for “cloud” or “hype”.
What's coming for you in the future?
I got a few things coming up in the near future but Im not getting into details yet. I always feel that there is no need to announce things way ahead. I believe in working hard in silence.
Do you have any tips for the creative ones out there?
Yes, ALWAYS follow your heart and your gut. Never create things to please people. Be you and do you. Always. know what I mean? Its not about creating art that your surrounding likes. Its about creating art your soul likes! And if its true and original it will find its way. Work hard, be honest with yourself and expect no handouts.
Im not really thinking to much about a legacy. However my “hiphop heads” serie is slowly carving out a place in hiphop culture. I think its dope to see my art and my story being an inspiration to others. You know, show people that if you really believe in your vision, and work - Non Stop- anything is possible.