We got to chat with Johnny Allison, a super talented Pretoria-bred illustrator. Find out how he describes his illustration style and more.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am Pretoria born and bred, I grew up in the north of Pretoria in quite a poor neighbourhood. I currently stay in Hatfield with plans to move down to Cape Town soon.
When did you start drawing?
I was really into sport as a child, especially primary school, I did gymnastics and only started drawing when I entered high school. I instantly fell in love with the medium. I have been drawing everyday since.
Describe your illustration style.
I would describe my work as ‘future primitive’ as it reflects and meditates on the problems and beauty’s of both the world and myself. My work has a wide variety of visuals styles. The flat primitive work is both difficult to look at and away from. It multiplies in meaning the more you stare at it, with entire worlds and narratives flowing seamlessly.
What medium do you use?
I illustrate predominantly on pen and paper and most recently on the iPad Pro.
Are there any exciting projects you are currently working on?
I have massive murals coming up and collaborations with music producers and other artists such as; Seth Pimentel a.k.a. ‘African Ginger’.
Are there any artists who’s work you are currently drooling over?
I mean the list goes on-and-on. There are probably like 30 or 40 artists whose work I would literally get tattooed on my body. My biggest inspirations are; Black Koki, Louis Minaar, African Ginger, Daan Botlek, Keya Tama and Mr Aryz.
What music do you listen to while illustrating?
People have said that my music taste is either to ‘street’ or too sad, which I have to agree with. I love listening to hip-hop. My favorites include; Atmosphere, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole Kendrick Lamar and the list goes on. I also love folk. I’ve also listen to a South African musician named CHEE.
If you could live inside the world of a painting or artwork, what would you choose?
My favourite artist growing up was MC Escher. I received a book from my parents about him and I religiously read every article. I immersed myself with his art. My entire childhood is filled with his thoughts of distorted worlds and perfectly crafted motifs. I think his art would be amazing to call home.