10 Things x Russell Abrahams

The Yay Abe illustrator shares his inspirations, Kermit memes and how he’s keeping calm

Interview: Akim Jardine | Design: Keshia Chapman | Images: Supplied

Two emails into our conversation with Cape Town-based illustrator and graphic designer Russell Abrahams and we could feel the laid-back, effortlessly cool energy that his work exudes. Ten questions later, we’re not only obsessing over his taste in music and his pandemic PSA artwork called Don’t Panic, but we’re pretty sure that the OK hand emoji (index finger to thumb, you know the one) is set to become how we sign off emails at Superbalist HQ. Read why...

10 songs
  1. Smiley faces
  2. Bold linework
  3. OK hand
  4. A smiley sun
  5. Flowers
  6. As much red, blue, yellow as I can
  7. Patterns (polka dots)
  1. Trying to stay productive
  2. Calling family and friends
  3. Acknowledging that the industry is slowing down
  4. Listening to music
  5. Laughing a lot
  6. Praying and practising gratitude
  1. I’ve always been proud of the scale and cleanliness of a mural I did at inospace in Cape Town. Using scaffolding on stairs was such a tricky task.
  2. I did a series in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and panic buying. The public response was heartwarming!
  3. An experimental piece I created before I went to bed. I surprised myself by coming up with a totally different approach to creating my characters.
  4. I created a mural in Maboneng, Joburg, and it amazed me how many good people I met during this time. I really fell in love with Joburg folk while doing it.

Always experiment. It’s the key to learning more about your craft and expanding your mind. Most of my favourite projects have referenced the experimental work that I had done proactively, because clients can see my passion and excitement in them.