Yay Abe (AVA Facebook Commission)

woolies valentines day

Shotgun interview with Russell Abrahams AKA Yay Abe & AVA

Q Tell us a little about yourself?

Hi AVA! Thanks for allowing me to create such a fun piece. It’s always nice when client let’s me flex my creative muscles. My name is Russell Abrahams and I’m a 25 year old illustrator living and working in Cape Town. I currently trade under Yay Abe, a studio in the works which hopefully by next year will be host to a few new fresh faces in the industry.

Q Art is such a personal expression. Do you find your work is an extension of your personality? If so – give us a little run down about what makes you and your creative edge tick?

I definitely think so. To all those who know me, I pride myself in being a pretty laid-back and optimistic person. I think this translates in the playful and whimsical theme of my work. From the way I dress to the way I speak, I’m sure it all comes together when I’m working. My work is often influenced by my environment as well, and by living in Cape Town it has no choice but to be vibrant. I hope that makes sense.

Q You’re talented in different styles. From illustration to hand lettering and painting. Is there anything different that you like to do that separates you from the rest?

What I always aim to focus on is making sure that I carry my visual language throughout all that I do. I think it’s something really important. Whether it be illustrating graphic art or painting a wall, my personal goal is to always allow my voice to be translated. It makes the work unique in a sense. A friend taught me this lesson and I’ve applied it to all that I do. It’s also a great challenge to see how far one can push their visual language/voice.

Q The internet is such a awesome tool. Everyone can be on the same page at exactly the same time and you have platforms for different mediums. I.E Behance for static art to Vimeo for motion and live action. How do you find the global community of artists using the internet as a platform to showcase and communicate?

I think the internet has made information so much more accessible to a very broad community. It’s definitely changed the game in a good way. I feel the internet has allowed for artists to showcase their work to a really wide audience in such an easy and direct manner. It’s definitely opened doors for me and taught me a few lessons along the way. However, I do feel that it can be dangerous for young artists seeking instant gratification. I think the problem here is that when the artist seeks loud applauses over doing great work. Once you forget about doing work for “likes” it changes everything.

Q How do you see Illustration (especially vector art) and Motion Graphics working together. Certain artists create still images, but through software and a bit of magic others can bring it to life. How does that make you feel knowing there is a whole world inside a still image that you’ve created.

THIS! This is something that really intrigues me. I’ve being creating still images for a while and as of late have had the opportunity to work on animation projects with some of the most talented animators in SA. It’s a breath of fresh air as it adds a whole new dimension to everything. Which I love. There’s nothing like a nicely crafted 5 second motion graphic. I love those short clips that illustrates a story because it shows off the illustrator and animator’s styles. Also, it kinda reminds me of the moving pictures in Harry Potter films.

Q Music and art. It’s essential. It’s inspirational. If you had to give your artwork a music genre. What would you name it?

Polka Hop. lol, because I can’t create an artwork without using some sort of polka dot pattern. My clients have a love/hate relationship with this.

Q All time top 10 music albums. Go.

This is kind of hard but I can name about 5. As ranked in my iTunes:
1. Kanye West – MBDTF
2. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
3. Anderson Paak – Malibu
4. Kaytranada – 99.9%
5. Daniel Caeser – Freudian

Q Best chill spot in Cape Town?

I’m pretty much most weekend at YT Loop. I think what I like about it most is that on any given day I’ll bump into a few good friends.

Q Tell me about someone who is inspiring positive change but isn’t getting the credit they deserve?

Pola Maneli is an illustrator working out in PE. He is currently doing his masters but the guy is pretty much the most talented illustrator in the land. His respect for his craft is mind blowing. He hands down has the best set of morals as well. I think next year he’ll blow up and get the respect that he deserves. Not that it’s about “blowing up” but I think it’s about time major brands recognise his genius.

Q Before we sign off – If you could make one law in South Africa that everyone had to abide too. What would that law be?

Catcalling should be a crime. I don’t get us men sometimes. It’s theee most cringiest thing. Lock the dogs up.

Q Any last words?
To any young illustrator or artist. Just keep working on your craft. Have fun in all that you do and never give up chasing your dream. As corny as it sounds, it’s true.

Thanks for your time Russell. Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did putting these questions together. Well done on the killer artwork. From how I see it. You have a colourful and bright future