In the first installment of our ‘meet the artist’ series Grant David sits down with long time contributor Idea The Great. Peep his official collaboration with MF DOOM in our shop, a visual tribute to his favorite line of Madvillain.
- Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?
I am 27 years old and grew up here in California. I was born in Riverside and have been living back and forth between the Inland Empire and Los Angeles but currently reside here in Perris.
Besides the artsy stuff, I like spending time with my family. I have two daughters and really just enjoy being a dad and all the wild shit that goes with being a parent.
And I love to create. Being an artist is a great way to express myself and come up with some really interesting stuff. Other than that, I’m pretty much a grown-ass kid. I like watching cartoons and playing video games and all that.
- How long have you been into drawing and graphic design? And how did you get started?
I have been drawing since I can remember. It was just something I naturally loved. Once I picked up a pencil I couldn’t put it down. As a kid, I would just sit and draw for hours.
As for graphic design, I would say I started around the end of middle school. My dad was a graphic artist, so I got ahold of certain design programs through him. Besides a few classes in high school, I’m pretty much self-taught. I would just look up tutorials online until I was familiar with whatever I was using.
- Where do you source your inspiration from?
I find inspiration in all sorts of things. Sometimes random things will inspire me. I can be watching a cartoon and like the way a certain character looks, or hear a verse from an artist and immediately want to capture it. Hip-hop has been a major source of inspiration for me. I find it easier to work on things I love, and I love music. The Nintendo aesthetic has been another big source of inspiration, I just really like that clean cartoony style they have going on.
- How did you land on the trade pseudonym of “Idea The Great”? What’s the significance of that and what does it mean to you?
I was given the name “Idea” from my friends in high school. I went through my whole graffiti phase and they gave me that name because of my ability to come up with new characters or ideas on the spot. Certain names are pretty popular, especially in the graffiti world, so after running into a few other “Ideas” the name felt less original. I still rocked with it for a while, but after I became more into the graphic design aspect of my artwork, I decided to switch it up a bit. I wanted to be distinguished from all the other “Ideas” and always thought “Alexander the Great” had a nice ring to it.
- If you could design an album cover for any hip-hop artist, who would it be and why?
That is a good question. There are a lot of artists I would love to do albums for. The fact that I have a pretty cartoony style might limit me though. I think artists like DOOM or Action Bronson would work well with my style. I also like the whole vibe that the Doppelgangaz got going on, them and Clear Soul Forces would be good groups to do albums for. I like when artists can keep it grimy and still throw in some nerdy shit.
- Do you remember the first design you did for My Main Man Pat?
Oh man, of course. I had a new co-worker come into work with this dope ass Wu-Tang shirt on. It was the one with the killer bee on it, done by Ready2Rumbl. I hit him up on where he got it and he told me about the site. I had been cooking up a few hip-hop designs at the time and reached out. We ended up starting off with the Ol’ Dirty Bastard sushi mash up. It was inspired by the “Ooh, baby, I like it raw” verse off of his Shimmy Shimmy Ya joint. That track was bananas and it fit well with the whole style I was going for.
- Which one of your collaborations with MMMP has been your favorite to work on thus far?
My favorite has to be the “Super Villain” design. It was basically a combination of Super Mario and the Villain himself. Being able to create something that combines my two favorite things (videogames and hip-hop) was just so nostalgic and came so naturally, it just felt right. Besides that, I’d have to say, “The Rhinestone Cowboy” design. It was just an all-around amazing experience to be a part of.
- When we sought your talents to commission an official MF DOOM design, what were your initial thoughts?
To be honest, it was insane. I didn’t believe it at first. DOOM has been my favorite MC for such a long time and has been such an inspiration for me creatively. To be able to do something DOOM approved has been a blessing, and I am so grateful that you guys gave me that opportunity.
- And how did you approach “The Rhinestone Cowboy” design?
I was kind of nervous actually. I had so many ideas and just wanted to get it right. The plan of attack was to try and base it off my favorite verse, which was already a really hard decision. Those who are into DOOM should know, the dude’s catalogue is just filled with gems. I settled on “Got more soul than a sock with a hole”. It’s just one of those verses that is so clever and funny, and in my opinion, really captures his style.
- If you had unlimited time and resources, what would be your dream project to work on?
I think about that all the time. I wish I could just put things on pause and just design. I really want to try everything. I think designing a line of skateboards or turning some of my characters into toys or figurines would be dope. With unlimited time and resources, I would probably just go ape-shit and release a big project, like whole line of clothes and collectables.
- Any projects you’re currently working on you want to plug?
I have some really dope projects in the works. A few are still in the early stages of development, so I have to keep them under wraps for now. I do have a clothing line I started up, the brand is called Last Of Our Kind, or L.O.O.K. I also started a website with a few fellow artists called Flypelican.co. You can find my brand on there, as well as anything else we create as a collective.
- What are your plans for the future?
World domination! All jokes aside, just to keep on my current path. I think the ultimate goal is to work on as many projects as possible, as fast as possible. I really want to make an impact and try and cover all grounds.