Fred Whyte – Tika Talent 8/’13

Fred Whyte – Tika Talent 8/’13

Welcome to a new monthly series in which we will showcase creative individuals we want to put you onto and works we dig. There is more beyond the 9 Elements and we want to support skilled artists of all disciples that express and manifest Hip Hop in their own creative way. This can vary from illustrators, photographers, editors, designers, entrepreneurs to anything really.

Up first is Fred Whyte. The illustrator from France draws and paints striking Hip Hop related arts.
“With graffiti being one of hip hop’s main elements, (street) art and hip hop go hand in hand. Especially when the art itself visualizes parts of the hip hop culture.”

Fascinated by stylized art from a young age, Fred Whyte is an illustrator whose world is one of color and character. With a passion for Hip Hop music and Afro-American culture, he uses narration and metaphor to highlight the stereotypes and inequalities of our often overlooked society. Fred Whyte’s vision is transmuted through works powerful by composition and symbolism.

My favorite are these pieces from the “Mecca & the Soul Drawer” series.
You can buy all of these works on poster through his website.


‘New York State of Mind’
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 80 cm * 60 cm ) – 2012


‘Mecca & The Soul Drawer’
The Five Elements of Hip Hop
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 73 cm * 50 cm ) – 2010


‘Origins of Hip Hop Music’
Diggin’ In The Crates
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 73 cm * 50 cm ) – 2010

From Block Party to MP3
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 73 cm * 50 cm ) – 2010


‘Microphone Masterz’
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Illustration Board
( 80 cm * 60 cm ) – 2010 


‘Inspirations of Emceeing’
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 73 cm * 50 cm ) – 2010

‘Hip Hop Culture’
“Peace, Love, Unity & Havin’ fun”
Acrylic & Alkyd Oil on Canvas
( 73 cm * 50 cm ) – 2010

Fred was so nice to participate in our Q&A and was enthousiastic to tell more about his art and how it all came to be.

Q: How did you come into contact with Hip Hop culture and how (cause it evidently does) did this influence your paintings? What did you portray before (or besides?) the series that now represent your style?

I started to get interested at the NBA during the mid 90s, which lead me on discovering urban cultures around (emceeing, graffiti, deejaying) and their influences (kung fu, blaxploitation, mafia, marijuana, american history etc…). I loved this world straight away, as Hip Hop culture includes my favorites hobbies, which are beats, blunts and basketball. You could find all those influences in my paintings, a sort of projection of my soul on canvas.

While I was studying painting, for 4 years, I wasn’t allowed to choose subjects. I was told to paint a lot of different styles, like nudes, illustration for kids, nature mortes etc… to be able to draw properly. It was quite frustrating  knowing that I could make better paints if I was really interested by the subject. And as I am strong-minded, I sometimes successfully integrated my own style on few of those imposed subjects. For example I made a portrait of one of the most notorious character of all times: Tony Soprano ( James Gandolfini RIP).
When I got the free will for my diploma project, I didn’t have to think twice about it. I choose to paint the serie “Mecca & the Soul Drawer”, illustrating Hip Hop in 5 chapters: 1- its origins (sampling), 2- its evolution with the technology (turntable, vinyl, etc…), 3- its golden era (mid-90s in my opinion), 4- its influences, 5- its cultural power, and eventually the cover representing the 5 parts of Hip Hop: Mc, Graffiti, B-Boy, DJ & Knowledge ( Pencil ).

Q: Who inspired and influenced you, in arts, life and culture?

The Orient spiritual culture, like Buddhisme, Taoisme and Kung Fu (Bruce Lee) is a strong influence for me, either in life and in my art.
I’m a movie’s fanatic, from Terminator 1&2 to Pulp Fiction-Reservoir Dogs, passing by Ninja’s Turtles, Karate Kid, Enter the Dragon, and all of Blaxploitation movies. Music is also very important in my life, that’s why I choose to work with many artists and painted their album’s covers.

When it comes to art tastes, I admire a lot the work of my “Masters”. There is plenty of them: Rembrandt (The Goat), Velasquez, Titien, Vermeer, Norman Rockwell, and many contemporain illustrators such as Shawn Barber, Peter de Seve, Paul Bonner, and the list goes on for a while..

Q: Besides your non-commissioned works, what artists and publications have you worked with through the years?

Fred Whyte Born Again back cover

I started making cover artworks just after my studies. First for the french beatmakers crew “Grim Reaperz” with “Fuck U” EP (10” inch Gatefold vinyl + Cd). Then the featuring album Kyo Itachi & LMNO “Born Again” (Cd, see image on the side), and a cover for Dj Jean Maron & M-Dot “RUN MPC remix” (Digital). After those three first ones, I got more works with other artists: Irealz “The code of Omerta” & “Solar Flarez” (Cds), Grim Reaperz & Seek (Radix) “6 days of torture” (10” inch), Swiss Beatmaker One Stream Mental “When the Night Falls” (Cd & LP – Limited Cyan colored vinyl). More recently I collaborated with a Queens producer , Reckonize Real, for his “Dopamine” album. Also, I created a Tshirt artwork for Oto10dakt Brand called “Wall of Fame”, with legendary rappers. Finally I had some publications in the “Graffiti All Stars” magazine.

Q: Can you give us an exclusive sneak peak into what you’re currently working on?

Yeah of course, I’m in my lab right now workin’ on some amazing paints for an Australian producer called Kid Tsu.
It’s for the 2LP version of his Dope album “The Chase” featuring Masta Ace, Krs-one, Kool G Rap, O.C, El da Sensei, Sean Price, Jeru the Damaja, Chubb Rock & many more… I got quite crazy when I saw the tracklist for the first time!!!!! I still am tho. The Vinyl version will include a gatefold fully illustrated + a poster of the cover ( a bit like a movie poster) so it’s a really dope project. STAY TUNED!
I will make few works for Da Shogunz in the Future, really talented crew reppin the Lowlands (Love their Style).

I’m always interested to create other painting series ( like “Mecca & the Soul Drawer” ) on various topics ( Streetball “Ball till’ I Fall”, Marijuana Lifestyle “High till’ I Die’, etc….) I also expect to have fast and simple money to create some goodies ( posters, coffee cup, ashtray, coasters,etc… )
The sure thing is, I will never get tired of my job!

We finish of, with an exclusive preview of this cover artwork Fred is working on right now and are looking forward to seeing much more.

Huge thanks to all those who have trusted me for their projects and will continue to do so – Nadia thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain my art


Founder, CEO and writer at The Tika and web designer & developer, music & brand management and marketing, organizer, global nomad and anthropologist @ Millennial Ma'at of Hip Hop; building on truth, balance, order and justice. An ambitious pacifist daring perspectives, resolving problems, bridging cultures and exploring the universes wonders. A philomath with infinite curiosity, balancing science & senses, ancient & online knowledge to create meaning and mastery.