“Truly Makes Me Happy To Be Alive”
The journey is never easy, but it is rewarding. One of the best feelings in the world is realizing how far you’ve come in life and the progression of your talent. It can take months or sometimes years. The improvement of our skill is not just a reflection of your dedication. It is proof that we can be better than we ever imagined. Malik Radford can tell you this first hand.
When I speak about the amount of young people in this world who are doing some of the most talented things, I am referring to people like Malik. The 21-year-old illustrator/cartoonist out of Richmond, VA is extremely good at what he does. It blows my mind to think his work is of such quality at such a young age.
I stumbled upon his work around the release of the future classic film, “Get Out”. No matter black, white or brown, it was hard to not be moved by the films true to life messages. One of the most remarkable scenes is when the main character first falls into the sunken place. I remember telling myself, “I need a portrait of that exact scene on my wall”. It was so moving.
Lo and behold, an amazing piece of the exact scene pops up on my timeline from Malik. After keeping an eye out on his creations, I knew I had to reach out and showcase his work.
There is no heart without art for Malik.
Check out our interview below and GET INSPIRED to chase your dreams!
Profession/Title: Illustrator/Cartoonist – School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Devin: What is your current job?
Malik: I’m currently working as a freelance illustrator and retail sales associate.
D: I can only imagine how your creative ability’s have grown since the first time you picked up a pencil. What is it about art that makes you so passionate about it?
M: Art has been an escape mechanism for me. I lose myself along with the stresses of the world and reality when I create. It’s all I see and its the only thing that truly makes me happy to be alive.
D: The same piece that first caught my attention to you, also gained the interest of Ocho Cinco. The ex-NFL wide receiver was interested in purchasing the original piece. How did that feel?
M: Ocho Cinco digging my work was ill! It helped re-establish the idea that I may be doing something right after all. Reassurance is always nice. It also helped me realize how essential social media can be.
D: As you continue to progress in your work, what has been your biggest challenge?
M: My biggest challenge has been trying to create work that emits emotion; versus work that only causes people to say “that’s cool”. I hope to create more work that establishes a narrative or story. A lot of the work that I create now is for visual aesthetic. I want to get deeper and realer.
D: Who are some artist you enjoy listening to that get your creative juices flowing?
M: Travis $cott, Tyler, Frank Ocean, Kendrick, and Premo Rice are the vibes I typically bump when creating. I also love mixes on Soundcloud and old school vibes.
D: What is it about music and pop culture that grabs your attention?
M: I love music and pop culture because it is something that everyone enjoys. Music is a universal outlet for emotion and creativity that everyone can get into (vibe with). Pop culture helps portray that emotion and creativity.
D: I see you created a children’s book last year entitled, “The Incredible DJ Willie Dee”. What can you tell me about the book and how was the opportunity?
M: The Incredible DJ Willie Lee was a passion project I was commissioned for by Richmond DJ/author, Jonathan Freeman aka Jon Jon the DJ. He wanted to create something that would assist in putting an end to bullying. It was my first time working on something so serious. I learned about contracts and how to negotiate/plan. I also learned how to carry myself as a professional. The author’s done really well promoting and sharing his vision with people all over the world. It was a blessing to be able to bring his vision to life.
D: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
M: In 5 years, I plan on living in Atlanta or New York. I hope to work for Adult Swim or Viceland as a creative director as well as a freelance illustrator. I’d love to get into murals to become a muralist as well.
D: There are young people in this world who are hesitant or fearful of chasing their dreams. Pursuing what you love to do in life is so important. What advice would you give to people about chasing their happiness?
M: You have to do what you have to do to be happy. Do what the infomercials and school posters say and “follow your dreams”. Keep these three things in mind: Passion, Consistency, and Skill. If you have the passion, do it! Do it everyday. Build up that consistency and your skills will improve tenfold. The success will come when people see that those three things manifest inside you. Invest in yourself and do what makes you happy. At the end of the day, its your life to live.
Last modified: 01/10/2017