ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue76

"Artist Anonymous" by Jhantu Randall

With the internet, you're bombarded by trolls countless times throughout your web surfing, but within these same social media platforms, sometimes there lies a genuine talent who just likes to blend in with the crowd as they fly under the radar. I met the artist for this interview through a mutual friend online (A friend who I also know personally, I rarely add complete strangers) and he agreed to participate under the condition that I keep his identity hidden. He doesn’t want the spotlight, without interjecting himself, it allows his work to speak for itself.

Armed with a Staedtler drafting set that he leaves on 2B, he refers to these as his weapons of mass destruction as he slays the page with pencil sketch portraits. From portraits of 2pac, B-Real, and Eazy E too a more macabre lineup, each lifelike portrait takes him anywhere from 2-6 hours to complete. With Halloween right around the corner, his portrait of Michael Myers definitely stands out. It’s accompanied by his portrait of the Blob, which he did in a lifestream for me to witness his technique. He has the talent to shade in the dimensions in what he calls drawing blind. It’s simply just a light, hand drawn outline followed by shades and pencil strokes which gives a 2D drawing life on the page.

I asked him what his influences are, and that's when he steered the conversation towards inspirations instead. We immediately fell into a conversation about horror movies, more specifically, movies from the 70’s and 80’s. From the work of Dario Argento to George Romero.

“It’s something about the atmosphere of those films that just speaks to me,” he told me. To get in the zone, he smokes around an eighth of high grade marijuana as it relaxes him to the point where he can really focus for hours on end.

On top of all his artwork which is available through portraits which can be found on Facebook as
well as Etsy, he has a clothing line which he promotes through Instagram. If you're interested in checking out his clothing, it is available at blinddeathclothing.bigcartel.com

With this artistic ability and entrepreneurial spirit, I asked what his motivation for all of this was?

“I just want to do what I have to so I can run this as my own business. I do it for my wife who works hard, I’m just trying to give her the life she deserves.” It’s those kind of statements that, for me, sets him apart from the countless others who claim to be running in this same lane. Given the right exposure, I can only hope that others are taken on sight by his work in the same way I was.

In a world of monotonous repetition, to be an artist in the classical sense carries the heavy burdens of tradition, but it’s also the artist’ who continuously move the conversation, many times without saying a word. Once their movement begins, there's usually no stopping them. We owe a part of our perception to the Artist Anonymous.

Street Sign Photography