After coming across his illustrative tributes to Wu-Tang rappers Ghostface Killah and Raekwon on Behance, we got in touch with artist and designer Ian Tait to find out about his love for Wu-Tang, how he learned his craft, and what drives his work. Keep reading to see his dope work!
HEY IAN! INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS
I am a skateboarding, motorcycling, record-digging, beat-making, art freak that lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR CARTOON/ILLUSTRATION STYLE? WHAT ARTISTS INSPIRED YOU?
Like any other kid that grew up in the 80’s, I watched tons of cartoons like Tom & Jerry, The Jetsons, He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers and stuff like that. Years later, I was still into cartoons, but weirder stuff like Ren & Stimpy, and Japanese animations like Ninja Scroll and Akira. As a kid, I was always drawing cartoon characters and stuff like that in grade school instead of paying attention – then in High School and college, my cartoony style developed further as I delved into graffiti and painting. Today, I am influenced by art I grew up with and modern artists/typographers, such as Oscar Ramos, Chris Labrooy, El Grand Chamaco, and Filter017 (to name a few).
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO THE WU-TANG POSTER SERIES?
It all started with a drawing of Ghostface Killah, who is one of my favorite rappers. I wanted to make the piece not so much focusing on him, but on what he raps about. This was relatively easy because his rhymes are so vivid and descriptive with tons of narratives, allusions and references to draw upon. Ghost not only raps about serious stuff that happens in the hood, but also makes you laugh your ass off talking about Banana Nutrament, hood diets, and personal hygiene tips. It was important to me that I captured his sense of humor and not just his serious side in the piece… I think the same went for the Raekwon Ice Cream poster I made except I approached it slightly differently focusing more on typography.
SOME OF YOU ILLUSTRATION PROJECTS ARE PRETTY INTRICATE AND DETAILED, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHEN SOMETHING IS FINISHED?
Sometimes I can never decide! But usually I’ll know a work is complete when it looks interesting enough that I no longer feel compelled to fiddle and tweak.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS AN ARTIST/DESIGNER?
I am trying to improve my communication skills with clients. Sometimes I get too excited about a particular idea/direction and spend too much time on it before checking with the client and their vision. Naturally, this leads to complications and often results in having way more work than necessary.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL AS AN ARTIST/DESIGNER?
My ultimate goal consistently remains to be working on brands/products that I am really passionate about. I love to work in music, sports, video games, or really anything that is fun and challenging.
HOW HAS THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCED YOUR CRAFT?
Before the Internet, I was restricted to graffiti walls, art publications, and museums for inspiration. I would learn techniques from friends, and they would pick stuff up from me. Nowadays, for better or for worse, I can just stay in my studio, browse websites and blogs, and I get all the creative fuel I could ever need.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT SO FAR?
It’s hard to say, but my “Old School vs. New School” project was a lot of fun to make, and received lots of positive reviews and attention. It is basically just a series of t-shirts that highlighted my frustrations with new-fangled technologies such as i-pods, and razor scooters. You can see it here.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE FROM YOU NEXT?
I am in the process of teaching myself 3D modeling software, so you can expect to see some totally new styles and aesthetics from me in the near future.
HOW CAN WE FOLLOW YOUR WORK?
I am always updating my work on my website www.iantait.weebly.com. I just put up a store with posters/t-shirts for sale on there too. You can also check me at www.behance.net/iantait for a more in-depth look at my projects and how they unfold.