This week, DUST premiered episode three of our original series Afrofuturism. We had the opportunity to talk with the illustrator of the third installment, which focuses on the musical prowess of George Clinton. Los Angeles based artist, Kailey Stephen-Lane, is member of the Virtual Cocktail collective and has been surrounded by art from an early age so keep reading to discover more about the talented artist.
We’d love to hear a little about you. What inspired you to become an artist?
I grew up in a very artistic family. Most of the people in my family are musicians, love art, and make art but they never really thought to pursue it as a career. As a child and teenager, I went to several art classes and even got involved in theatre; but around senior year of high school, I decided to become serious about it. I love that my career has so much freedom and I get to draw for a living. It’s great!
How much did you know about Afrofuturism before you started working on this series?
I used to listen to music within the genre and didn’t know it was called “Afrofuturism”. My dad introduced me to Parliament-Funkadelic when I was younger but, I had no idea Afrofuturism had such an impact. Illustrating the episode really taught me about the movement and how expansive it is. A lot of the modern artists I tend to listen to have been heavily influenced by the movement or are even included in the movement like, Flying Lotus, Solange, Janelle Monáe, and Erykah Badu.
Were there any unique challenges you faced when creating the illustrations?
While making the illustrations, I really had to do research about Afrofuturism which was really fun. I think the thing that challenged me the most was the style I wanted to illustrate since I have never really been able to have so much freedom with something like this before.
How do you feel the existence of Afrofuturism has effected the mainstream culture?
Before the project, I really had no idea of how relevant and influential Afrofuturism is. Knowing about it has really helped me see how the aesthetic/ movement is still in mainstream culture today. A lot of the mainstream artists that are popular today are within the category. Even Childish Gambino’s new album is heavily influenced by Parliament-Funkadelic and it’s super cool! I really hope to see more and more of it in the upcoming years and future.
Are there any artists related to Afrofuturism who inspire you?
Flying Lotus is a huge inspiration in my life as of now. I listen to his music while I draw, sleep, breathe. His most recent album, You’re Dead! is probably the one I listen to the most. The way he infuses jazz with his weird beats is so wonderful and mesmerizing to me. And all of his music videos are so inspirational. I just love him.
Is there something special about George Clinton that really inspires you?
George Clinton had a part in my life while I was growing up. Listening to Parliament-Funkadelic really brings me back to my childhood and hearing my dad play a few of their songs on the drums with his old band. Hearing them gives me a sense of comfort and nostalgia so I was super excited to work on this project in particular.
If you want to stay in the loop on what’s going on in Kailey’s life, be sure to follower her on Instagram and Twitter @lamekail. She also has a wonderful website, kstephenlane.com, full of her illustrations and work.