At Utopia Playground, we are always drawn to artists who branch out of the traditional art realm and into different creative mediums. This time it’s music, and It must be a crazy feeling inside when a design you created, ends up on a billboard #1 hit plastered over everyones iTunes library. We hooked up with young, Milano born graphic designer and art director, Stole Stojmenov last week to have a conversation about how he developed his personal artistic style. We also get some info into how he collaborated with one of the biggest hip-hop groups in the world Migos, to bring their new album ‘Culture’ to life with a generous helping of creative visuals! Without any further delay, lets learn some more about this upcoming artist we should all be keeping an eye on this year.
First things first, how did your journey into digital art begin?
Since I was a child, I’ve always loved art and I’ve always drawn. My journey into digital art started when I wanted to add some extra flair to my projects. Creating art digitally offers so many more possibilities to do this. From this understanding of computers and digital art, arose my current job as graphic designer and art director.
How would you describe the art scene in Italy?
Italy has always been home to some of the most important artists in history and today it is still so. Especially my home town, Milano. That is the main creative city in the country and offers a lot of opportunities and creative cues, not only in art but also in music.
Was there a moment when you realised that your art was going to be more than just a hobby?
My art grew to be more than just a hobby when I started applying it to other fields, like music. Surely the key moment that made me realise this was when I saw that a lot of artists of which I was a big fan, were impressed by my work and wanted to collaborate with me. Then Universal Music came along and everything changed. I think that being a designer that thinks and works as an artist too is probably the key factor that allows me to work in a lot of different spheres.
How did your collaboration with the iconic music trio, ‘Migos’ come about?
My collaboration with Migos started this summer from a simple message from Quavo, in which he told me he liked some of my artworks and if we could try to work together on a project. The collaboration grew step by step and ‘Culture’ came after some single covers and some other projects. We firstly needed to find the right balance and cohesion between my artworks and my vision and their music.
As we know you’re the mastermind behind some of the art seen throughout the ‘Culture’ album. What inspired some of your designs?
I saw ‘Culture’ as an opportunity to overturn and revolutionise the whole image of a group that I love and of which I am a big fan. The record is a turning point in Migos’ career and musical production and it was very important to represent this visually. My biggest inspirations were Migos themselves. When I worked on the main artwork I listened to all their albums, mixtapes, and EP’s because it was very important to be faithful to their past and to their previous productions. The cover is what Migos gave to American hip hop culture and the city of Atlanta in every sphere, from music to fashion.
Your artwork has been shouted out by some pretty big names including Kanye West. How do you feel about the positive feedback and social media response to your work?
We really did a great job and I’m very pleased by the positive feedback that people gave to the cover art and to the album itself. There’s a strong relationship between the visual side of the album, the music and the message beneath the album. It’s very satisfactory to see people notice it and appreciate it. Seeing the cover on Kanye West’s Twitter profile was just the cherry on top. He has always been a great inspiration to me, not only by the musical side of things, but also by his way of thinking and doing things.
If we had a peek into your iTunes library, what kind of music would we find?
Musically I grew up listening to my dad’s old vinyls so all the rock legends from the 80’s till the late 90’s. As I grew older I discovered hip hop and it was love at the first sight. My iTunes library is however a great mess. You could find everything, 90’s hip hop, trap, indie rock and electronic music too. Right now I’m listening to the last XX album, its a masterpiece! Some of my favourite artists in the recent years are: Pusha T, Kanye West, Of monsters and men, Schoolboy Q, Justice, Woodkid, etc. I really listen tons of music and as you can see my influences are incredibly varied and sometimes confused.
What other work do you get up to outside of digital art?
I’ve gathered in my work many different disciplines, from illustration to calligraphy including photography. I always did everything by myself in order to try and learn as much as possible and be able to do more and more by myself.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in future and why?
I’d like to work with some important artists from my past which I grew up listening to. It would be awesome to put something of my vision in their imaginary. And because it would be a big satisfaction to see one of my artworks in my father’s music library (:D)
What can we expect from you in 2017?
2017 started with a bang and I hope it continues like this. I honestly do not even know what to expect from this year. I will continue doing what I do, there are already many important projects in music that are developing here in Italy and abroad and I’ll start exploring some different music genres and maybe different styles. I hope that will be a great year.
The dictionary defines ‘Utopia’ as an imaginary place or state in which everything is perfect. What is your own personal utopia?
My idea of personal utopia is an empty art museum. In the last year I had the chance to travel a lot and I visited many places. One of those where I am more at ease and in which I find a little ‘peace of mind is definitely an art museum.
Edited by TheRembrandt and Nicole Van Sant