Meet Art Supernova: Jason Innocent

New York City’s most prolific and highly recognize artist talks about fame, his inner circle, influences and family

Image via Nadia Innocent

By Daniel Conner

Few artists have arrived as fully formed as a 22-year-old Jason Innocent. In 2012 Jason Innocent began “writing” his unique brand of graffiti throughout Downtown Manhattan. His work from the first consisted of conceptual, enigmatic combinations of words and symbols, executed with the curt simplicity of late Roman inscription. Now Innocent’s started painting and drawing.

Jason Innocent is shacking up the 10’s with his creativity. The Brooklyn-born graffiti artist turns to art-scene supernova. Innocent’s parents hail from Haiti. Jason Innocent grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn N.Y. Innocent’s art focuses on a range of themes such as social problems, power structures, class struggle, poverty and the system of racism. It’s been almost a year since Innocent’s first solo exhibition. In “39 drawings”, a book by Innocent, which consists of 39 unseen drawings by the artist. The prominent artist raw drawings deal with race, pop culture, class, and seemingly random thoughts. It’s little wonder that he is now considered to be the best artist in his generation. Innocent is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential African American artist of all time.

We caught up with the 22 year old artist to discuss his artistic inspiration, influences and impact.

When did you first decide to become an artist?

When I was 5. I had drawings session with my older brother. We would watch animation and cartoons. My favorite channel was Cartoon Network.

Have there been any artists, musicians, or public figures that have greatly affected or influenced you?

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Banksy, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock are some of my favorite artist and painters. I got influences that you wouldn’t even think of. I’m very influenced by Kanye West, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and Tupac and Eminem. But Kanye influence me the most. He a genius. We need more people like him. I have most of their albums.

What most people don’t know about you?

That I am Haitian descendant. I speak Creole fluently. I have been to Haiti once. That was my first language.

So why is social problems so often the focus of your art or paintings?

Everything in life is not all beautiful, not all fun. There are a lot of issues that the people and the nation have to deal with so we can become better. There’s no reason why people should be living in poverty, fear and discrimination. We the people have the power to change a lot of things. But we are to focus on ourselves. The only way we can get better is with love.

Are you a fan of social media?

No. I try my best to stay away from social media as much as possible. To me, it’s lame and depressing. I am not saying I’m above everybody on my social media. It can really distract you from your goals and what you are trying to do.

Do you ever feel like you should be having more fun?

Everybody fun is different. I don’t smoke weed. I drink once in a while. Wine only. I don’t party. I’m really introvert.

Image via Nadia Innocent

What is your circle like?

I don’t want nothing negative around me. I hang out with my family. Family is everything. Catching up with my sister Nadia or with my brother in law Travis. Good vibes. Nadia and Travis always look out for me. Even when I am doing ok. I wouldn't get this far without them.

Why do you write or draw prominent black figures in your work?

Visiting museum I never saw black people on the painting or statues of them in America.

As far as your legacy, what do you want it to be in the art world?

I'm going to be to the greatest artist to ever live. Point blink. I'm confidence in my abilities. A lot of people want money, but for me it never about the money. I want to change the world. I want to inspire people to be better and to do better.

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