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Anime Meets Hip-Hop With Artist Arthur Bayele

A Q&A with the man behind some of the Internet's coolest pics of Future, Drake and more.

Hidenori Ryu Dengah // Hideryu Photography

It's not very often you see the worlds of anime and hip hop/R&B merge together. Meet the guy who's changing all of that: Arthur Bayele. The young UK artist has transformed some of today's hottest music artists into anime characters, with a list of subjects that includes Jhene Aiko, Drake, Future, A$AP Rocky and more.

I had the chance to catch up with the budding artist and ask him about his craft. Read on to learn more about his love for the Japanese art form, his connection to music and more. While you're at that, make sure to also check out his rad anime art.

Did you grow up being a huge fan of anime?

Arthur Bayele: The first anime I ever watched was Dragonball Z and I got hooked on it from day one. From there I got into other animes, which I would sit and watch for hours. Naruto, One Piece and Bleach, the list just kept on growing and still is. I used to read Shonen Jump graphic novels as well and it’s always been a dream of mine to travel to Japan.

Did you experiment with different art forms before doing anime?

Arthur Bayele: I experimented with other art forms whilst studying in GCSE. I would put anime in my work but my teachers would tell me “it’s not art.” I tried other things like painting portraits and drawing landscapes with pastels, but I always went back to drawing manga.

Did your connection to anime influence you to start drawing/creating?

Arthur Bayele: Anime is what got me into art in the first place, and that's because I used to doodle what I saw on TV. I’ve always had an appreciation for anime and I’ve always wanted to replicate it. I would read step by step tutorials and draw for hours or trace out of graphic novels just to get better.

How did you get the idea to mix anime with music artists?

Arthur Bayele: I’ve always wanted to be in a cartoon growing up and often used to imagine being in one, so I guess this was my way of fulfilling that desire. Anime and hip hop has always worked together, but to transform real people/artists in to anime characters themselves is something I haven’t really seen before. I wanted to illustrate it just out of curiousity to see what it would look like. I feel that using people that I listen to and that inspire me influence the direction that I take when mixing the two.

How long does it usually take you to create these images?

Arthur Bayele: Roughly between 3-5 hours depending on where I want to take the picture. The Drake and Future piece took me almost a whole day though.

Since you use music artists in your pieces, what's your connection to music?

Arthur Bayele: Music acts as a soundtrack to my life, and is another creative passion I have that allows me to express my artistry in another way. I produce and write music alongside my artwork and work closely with my collective OvaAndAbove (OVA). There’s a small group of us who essentially create via different art forms, such as djing, producing and writing. We’ve been growing alongside our partners Sydney Wyatt for the past year and we’ve been succeeding in spreading our music and culture throughout the UK. Our main goal is just to channel and stimulate the God given creativity which we believe is in everybody, and we do this via the avenues of music and art.

Are there any special programs or tools you use to create your visuals?

Arthur Bayele: Photoshop, my tablet and a lot of patience

What other music artists would you like to include in your work?

Arthur Bayele: There’s a long list but I’m looking to include Travis Scott, Busta Rhymes, Timbaland, J cole, Rihanna, Dom Kennedy, Missy Elliot, Isaiah Rashad and many more. I always try to make my works compliment the artist and I want to experiment with a lot more concepts.

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