Ali Kamara

Ali Kamara is a south London-based digital Illustrator, animator and musician. Ali is always looking for creative ways to blend all these things that he is passionate about to make quirky, epic, high-concept work. 

How would you best describe your style?

My art is very concept-driven. I'm always trying to find the grey area between lighthearted fun and darkness, that's the general theme in my art and music. So I'll blend some playful childish imagery with dark fantasy or hip hop/punk aesthetics, or bridge the gap between smooth jazz chords and hard rock in my music. I'm building a world based around all of that. Also I like making funny or cool references to pop culture and bringing it into my world. 

Which one do you prefer? Black or white, or colour?

Colours are more fun, I'm a little obsessed with colour schemes. I did a short series a while back where I was buying colour matching meals from Tesco consistently everyday and posting pics of that online. That being said, so far this year black and white has been the vibe, just to allow me to focus in on building the world and style rather than fiddling with colours. Switching back to colour sooner than later. 

Aside from art, it looks like you create your own music, how did you get into that?

I've always been obsessed with music since hearing Tony Hawk and WWE video game soundtracks as a teen. I got into composing and beatmaking much later though, when I was like 20. I would be on bus rides home daydreaming about visual narratives when listening to instrumentals or my favourite producers as a teenager, so that's the fuel right now. 

Have you always focused your art around artists?

For a while I've been trying to develop my visual style and world-building enough to where it's really recognisable on its own. So I made it a point to avoid drawing pop culture figures/other musicians for a certain time until I could get to a point where, when I do draw these individuals, it would be in my unique way. This year I got to that point where I understood my style, so I started creating stuff around artists like Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, Tyler the Creator. I only really draw artists I enjoy, and they're all big inspirations. I'm getting into original character design at the moment though. 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

I've got quite a few, a lot of them are new age digital artists though. I've always loved Loish's work, a French artist called Moon, Dirty Robot, and Jor.Ros. These guys really have a dope way of designing their characters and creating a universe around their art. Life-wise, a whole heap of hip hop artists - Eminem, Tyler the Creator, J Cole. 

The best compliment you have ever received about your work?

Not sure about the biggest compliment I've received, but a few years ago I was doing a daily drawing challenge on Instagram and someone decided to give that a shot too and said I inspired it. That was probably the first moment that really let me know you never know how you're positively affecting people by just doing what you love.