Malik Radford

Tell us who you are as an individual. 

I was born and raised in Richmond. I’m kinda reserved and shy but I’m fun to be around I guess. I’m just kinda chill. I like animals—matter of fact, I like llamas. Llamas are f*****g legit. They’re so ugly that they’re kinda cute, especially baby llamas. But now back to the subject, I’ve been drawing since I was like three. Growing up I went to Catholic school, and I remember in class I used to draw Dragon Ball Z characters and people would be like “Yo, that looks exactly like the characters.” I always knew I could draw but I never thought about being an artist until maybe like 8th grade. Maybe one day I’ll think about making a career out of it. But, I couldn’t see myself doing anything besides art as a career though.

Who would you say helped encourage you to pursue your craft?

My teachers were pretty dope, they taught me how to do more stuff. The school I went to for high school was centered on the arts. So, there was like dance, theater, art, and other forms of visual arts. I learned A LOT there. High school definitely changed my life—it was definitely my turning point. I feel like if I had gone a public school instead, I wouldn’t have felt as passionate about it [craft]. My teachers definitely motivated me to keep doing what I do.

 

"Smuckers"

Who are your influences in art?

There is this guy on Instagram named actionhankbeard and this guy paperfrank. They’re like my huge inspirations. As far as those in Richmond, there is Earl Mack. He’s actually expressed to me that he wanted to link together and do s**t. Also, my friend, Sierra. Her and Earl are also just cool people outside of the whole art scene. I hope they get big off the s**t that they do because they definitely deserve it.

 

"Fire Squad"

Have you ever been in any art contests?

The VMFA held an annual Scholastic Arts competition and my senior year I submitted six pieces and all my pieces won awards—I got three gold keys and three silver keys. That competition was on the regional level and my mom was ecstatic and crying after I had received those awards. But, three of my classmates made it to the national level and two of the three won. That was a pretty big deal for us [the school].

How was your first year in the VCU arts program?

I definitely learned a lot not necessarily focused on art but just problem solving and time management. Most people in my major say time management was the hardest part of the major. But, I didn’t find it as hard as other people did because AFO, (Art Foundation), helped prevent me from procrastinating. Also, the arts program made me realize I can do more than I thought could. I had done things like sculpting—I had never done anything like that before. Overall, it was a pretty cool experience and I also met a lot of talented people.

What do you seek to gain from the VCU Arts program?

Hopefully, with my major, which is kinetic imaging aka animation, I just hope to gain a basic knowledge about it. Down the road, I would like to work for Disney as an animator. But, I’ve also wanted to start this anime series with my friend—it’s going to focus on our lives and s**t.

 

"Daft Punk"

What’s your favorite piece and why?

There was this Daft Punk piece I did back in high school—it was a bulls**t project. It was a project I was working on for fun but I just turned it in for a grade because I didn’t have anything for that marking period. It’s definitely when I realized I was good with markers. Also, I think my final drawing piece from last semester is one of my favorites too.

 

"Good Mornin'"

What makes you standout as an artist?

I would say my versatility—I can go from drawing cartoons to portraits to landscapes. If I really wanted to, I could paint but I hate painting. I wouldn’t say I’m good at every medium but I’m not bad. I’m not tryna sound cocky or conceited—but I know what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. But, I’m definitely good at more things than I am bad.

- Sterling Giles

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