Dallas-born, New York-based illustrator Lil Kool has one of the best artist pseudonyms going. A mix of the slightly bizarre, nostalgic and of course cool, his work has each of these attributes too. Illustrating digital scenes of psychedelic suburbia, morphing faces and green ladies, we’re hooked on his imagination and subsequent drawings.
If we rewind back to 1985, the year Lil Kool was born, growing up in Texas he says he was “disenchanted by the ways pop culture was slowly brainwashing the masses, I took to painting as an act of defiance, beginning with spray paint". But, since settling in New York almost a decade ago, the illustrator’s “repertoire expanded,” and now works across the board, still illustrating and painting but also working on large-scale murals, photography and fashion collaborations, drawing inspiration from “web culture, pop art, politics and life in Brooklyn". However it’s Lil Kool’s illustration style that really pulled us in, inspired by classic painters, cartoons from his childhood and “snippets from the obscure comic scene,” he says.
“From panelled comic strip style illustrations, to abstract interior stills that rethink modern living — Lil Kool’s style manages to be diametrically varied but immediately recognisable,” reads the illustrator’s biography. “His use of flattened, visceral colours and clean black outlines makes each character he paints familiar, yet captivating”. This biography is true in that there is always something familiarly noticeable in Lil Kool’s drawings. Whether it be the shape of a semi-detached house or a back door leading to a classic patio garden, the illustrator also includes more unusual elements — like a plant pot scuttling out of view because it has tiny legs.
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