Rohan Walker AKA Lord Sketch is a 23 year old artist from Miami, Florida. I stumbled across some of his artwork on tumblr and decided he had to be featured in the revival of the Tika Talent. Luckily for us he wanted to cooperate, so read on and get to know the one and only Lord Sketch!
Q: How did you get into art to begin with?
Now that’s a funny story to be honest. When I was like 5 years old I used to draw on the walls at home and my mom would beat me and tell me to stop doing that .. until one day I drew something and she couldn’t hit me for it because it was too good. She then decided to put me in an art class and I never stopped drawing since.
Q: How did you get into Hip Hop and how does this influence your art?
Again, this is thanks to my mom. She used to listen to that old Common, Mos Def type of Hip Hop so that was always up while I was drawing. Later on I had old(er) friends listening to the old school Hip Hop on vinyl and cassettes while we were drawing and I’d be like ‘Yo is this new? I never heard this!’ and they’d tell me ‘no, it’s old. There are (for example) my dad’s LP’s/cassettes…’ and I’d say [laughing] ‘Well, tell your dad thank you, I’m taking it’.
The way this influences my art.. I always listen to music when I’m drawing. I just put on a (usually instrumental) record and start drawing naturally. Hip Hop music is my main inspiration.
Q: You draw cartoon-style, that’s obvious… Why is that and how would you describe your art?
I would say it’s kind of childish vs serious. I try to draw like when I was a kid, when I didn’t think about what others thought, combined with serious emotions like pain, anger and love. I want my art to represent life, and life is filled with paradoxes.
I think one of the best works of mine that showcases this is my flower demon. A demon is an ugly thing and nobody wants to look at it or love it, but if you add beautiful flowers to it they suddenly do.
The reason I draw cartoons is because I like it of course. But also I don’t really see the point in drawing realistically. I mean, if you draw things realistically, you draw things that are already there. You copy what your eyes see. When you draw real things in a cartoon kind of way, it’s another vision, another way of looking at it.
Q: Isn’t it hard to capture emotions in a cartoon drawing?
Not really. I mean, it can be, but it can always be hard to draw emotions. I’ve looked at so many cartoons and observed how they portrayed emotions through that, so I think I know how to draw emotions in my art.
Q: What are your weapons of choice?
I usually start out just drawing with a pencil. Then I go over it with a micron pen and to color everything in I use Krink markers. Oh and of course I use sharpies and graphite as well….
And Prisma markers! Can’t forget the Prisma markers. My friends got me a whole box of those for my birthday and they’re really expensive so I use them sparely. But they really make a difference.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
[Without hesitation] J Dilla. Everything J Dilla. I love listening to his instrumentals. At one point I even tried to find out where he was and I found out he passed away.. that really made me sad. J Dilla is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. I also listen to artists like Common and Mos Def, the old school, jazzy kind of Hip Hop.
Q: Yet I’ve seen a lot of drawings you made of Tyler, The Creator, you drew Joey Bada$$…-
Oh yeah! There are some new school guys I think are really holding it down as well. Tyler, the Creator acts kind of childish a lot of the time, but he has this serious side to him as well.
Joey Bada$$ has this ill old school vibe to him which is sick, especially if you consider the fact he’s as young as he is. He’s this random young dude bringing back the golden era all by himself and I love that. Of the new cats I’m also impressed by Childish Gambino. He’s this nerdy geek that has a really unorthodox way of rapping, but he’s really good. To me he’s like a mix between Outkast and Genius (GZA) which I really like.
Other artists I look up to are Takashi Murakami (who did the artwork for Kanye Wests’ College Dropout) and Alex Pardee. And of course all the artists out here in Miami who I hang and work with. They inspire me all the time and make me want to get better each day.
Q: So in a way Tyler‘s like a real time manifestation of your art?
Haha yeah, I think you could say that!
This one time, I brought one of my Tyler pieces to a show of his and made it all the way up to the stage.. Later on he posted a picture of him holding my art, the caption said he thought it was dope and all I could think was ‘Oh my God! He likes it!’ I was so happy.
Q: So what’s up with tumblr? How did you get on there and get (so many) people to notice your art?
I made a tumblr because I found out one of my favorite artists, Travie (Travis McCoy from the Gym Class Heroes) had one of those and I was like ‘I’m gonna get one too!’ so I did.
And then I found out it was all these pictures you could just reblog and I was like ‘hmm.. I’m not really into that but I can post up my art on here’ so I did. And people started reblogging it and I got all these messages from people saying they liked my art and they wanted more, so that was and still is really cool. I met a lot of cool people on there, some of which are my friends now.. I mean, I even met a friend of mine on there and she’s from Ireland!
And of course I met my German girlfriend on tumblr, who’s now a big inspiration to me too. We started out e-mailing, went on to skype almost every day.. Then she came to visit me and I was like ‘Wow well hello there!’. I went to visit her as well, I came back like 2 weeks ago.. I’m really happy I met her. Germany is a really amazing and inspiring country! When I came back I just ran to the drawing pad haha.
Q: What are your goals and aspirations?
My main goal is to get better at what I’m doing, growing as an artist. I’ve been drawing for so long but I began to see progress just recently, so I want to increase that.
The reason I’m getting better just now is probably because now I have surrounded myself with other (older) more experienced artists. I learn so much from them man… wow! It really opened up my eyes. Before I just did what I did and hoped people would see and acknowledge me but now I realize it’s about actively portraying yourself, putting yourself out there and show people who you are and what you do. For example I did art shows at a poetry lounge on speak Fridays here in Miami.
At the end of the day I feel like good art makes you feel at home, or feels like you’re looking at an old memory. I want people to have those kind of feelings when they look at my art. Also in the past I’ve done collaborations with Goopmassta, Krave, (Miss) Lushy, Fuzzimus Grime (and others I can’t think of right now but shout out to you!) and I definitely want to do more of those in the future.
Q: Is there anything else you want to say to (aspiring) artists?
Yes! Never draw to be other than an artist. Not to be cool or to fit in, just because it’s you. Also a tip: surround yourself with every and anybody that’s a better artist than you are. This will be such a great motivator and you’ll learn so much, you can’t imagine!
On a personal note: I really had a lot of fun interviewing Lord Sketch. He’s a really cool, humble person that really cares about art in general, not just his own. I hope you had as much fun reading this interview as I had doing it!
Here’s some more imagery of his work. If any one of you would like to buy a Lord Sketch’s Tee you can send him an e-mail at email@example.com to work out the details. I’m sure the two of you will figure it out!