Ron Ackins is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer currently residing in Philadelphia. His passion for art began at the age 5 following the positive encouragement he received from his mother after showing her a drawing. His latent talent was further facilitated by his high school art teacher, Carlos Moore, whom provided encouragement and some formal training. He has designed and illustrated basketball inspired apparel for And1 and UndrCrwn. and has been commissioned by companies like Salem Sportswear and Nike. His work has graced the pages of Moon Knight, Uncanny X Men and Prophet.
K: What gave you the courage to pursue a career in art?
RA: I don’t know if I can call it courage but art is in me since childhood and I cant imagine doing anything else. I have to create or else I’ll die. Make sense to get paid for it.
K: Describe the reaction of your family and close friends when you told them you wish to pursue a career in art
RA: No one in my family was surprised. It was expected. I think they’d be surprised if I chose to pursue something else. There really wasn’t any reaction.
K: Now that you’re professional there’s a certain level of quality your fans have come to expect. Has this changed your creative process?
RA: No. I draw for myself when I’m not fulfilling professional obligations. I try new things in my personal work when it feels right. I never want to become a jukebox for fans. Fans are fickle. I honestly don’t have any real connection to many of my fans. It sounds weird to me to even say I have fans. Very few of the people that admire my work actually let me know. Most just hit like or repurpose my work for there own selves.
K: Describe your favourite job or project and why?
RA: My favourite project so far is the one I’m working on right now. I’ve been working on the prequel story of my own comic book called, Det. Lancaster Bleu. I’ve been developing it for over ten years and I have been drawing the first instalment for about a year. Its been extremely challenging and has been stretching me and pushing me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing. I have the absolute freedom to create whatever I want without having someone tell what they prefer.
K: Describe your worst job or project and why?
RA: For the sake of peace I wont mention the company’s name, but I was approached by there owner who was one the biggest egotistical pricks I’ve ever had to tolerate. He made working on what could’ve been a very fun and cool project but turned out to be a major headache for the whole month it took for me to complete the work. He wasn’t clear about what he wanted executed and I was expected to just create from this blind position while he had free reign to say yay or nay to what I was producing. Communication was very shoddy. At the end of it all he avoided me when it was time to pay me and I had to spend my own money to travel to his office, which was in another state, and demand to be paid. It was a learning lesson and made revise I how I conducted business on my end.
K: Describe your creative process from the point of inspiration to completing a piece.
RA: Inspiration could come from anywhere. Could be a song, a movie, an experience, a conversation, anything, really. From there an image pops into my head. After that, if its called for, I gather photo reference and then I start drawing rough sketches and layouts until the idea comes together. Finally comes final polished drawing based on the layout or sketch. I use the photo reference in the final stage also to keep things accurate.
K: What do you think separates good art from great art?
RA: Honesty and vulnerability.
K: When you think of beautiful art what’s the first name that comes to mind?
RA: Verolga Nix
K: If you could go 5 years into the past talk to your younger self what would you say?
RA: Trust your gut. Your gut feelings are never wrong. Never doubt yourself.
K: Who are your top 5 favourite artists?
RA: Olivier Coipel, Dawud Anyabwile, Hype Williams, Juanjo Guarnido, Gordon Parks
K: Describe your art in a sentence?
RA: An extension of RonAckins
K: What can we expect from you in the future?
RA: More instillations of the prequel of Det. Lancaster Bleu (click here to the prequel!!!) and some t-shirts and prints of my work.