Achraf Amiri has been causing a stir in the fashion and art industries for quite some time with his controversial illustrations and now his new magazine ‘Illustrashion’. Amiri’s illustrations are so popular that all his commissions come from people contacting him after seeing one of his images on Facebook or Instagram
We sat down with him to discuss his journey and what self-expression through art can really mean. Amiri tells us how to stand out in the Instagram-sea of illustrators and why being yourself is the most important thing you will ever do.
MC: When did you realise that you were so talented at illustration?
AA: I started becoming fascinated by drawing when I was at nursery and realised that I was quite good at it when I was in my first year of primary school. I could memorise by heart and reproduce my favourite cartoon characters — which was very handy to make new friends and it made me very popular in the playground. It was then logicical for me to continue my studies in Art.
MC: What brought about your very particular aesthetic?
AA: A little emotional breakdown and my emancipation.
MC: Your illustrations are very well received and loved despite what they depict – why do you think this is?
AA: I believe this is because they’re truly reflecting our subconscious and our combined alter-ego and are dare-devilish. We should all just be free to speak our mind and accept the bad and the good in our society. It is what they are. On top of it, they’re sexy!
LEFT: Caitlyn Jenner in what she wore to the ESPYs where she won the award for Courage. RIGHT: Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez in outfits that caused a media frenzy, superimposed onto a photograph of Commercial Road, East London, close to Amiri’s home.
MC: What inspired you to start ‘Illustrashion’ Magazine and why did you choose this name?
AA: A little rebellion against a magazine for who I used to work for that had stopped my contract after receiving complaints of my illustrations for being misogynistic and rude. I then decided to have my own magazine where I would be free to publish whatever I liked. I called it ILLUSTRASHION because that’s what I make: Illustrations that are as Fashion as they are Trashy.
MC: Was making a magazine harder than you expected? What was the biggest challenge?
AA: It was for me quite frustrating because it’s crazy how much time I had to spend contacting people and designing the whole magazine by myself. Not only the fact that the magazine is totally independent and that all the contents are illustrated — but also because I had to wait long periods of time before receiving any replies and contributions from artists that I wished to feature. I was tempted more than once to abandon the project. As my first issue was about Mythology , I like to think of it as a long Odyssey with a happy ending. Since publication, the magazine has received great feedback and I’m actually now working on my next issue which is coming-out soon.
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MC: What can we expect in the future from you?
AA: The future can only tell us — I hope some challenging projects though …
MC: What advice can you offer someone who is also talented at illustration but worried about pursing it as a career?
AA: My three P’s : Passion, Practice and Patience.