Ignite Designs, sometimes known as Tori Harris, is an artist who was originally inspired by the mural art and aerosol of the street, but went on to turn it into his life’s work. With album covers, posters and plenty of commercial design gigs to his credit, he has found himself a comfortable niche in the New York arts scene.
His comic book franchise is now into its second volume and the future is nothing if not colorful. MRC sat down with the artist known as Ignite to find out what lights up his muse and what he’s been up to lately.
Q. MRCPROMO: Peace Ignite Designs, thanks for taking the time for the interview. Can you tell us about your background? Where are you from?
A.IGNITE: I was born and raised in The South Bronx. I grew up in Patterson projects on 142nd and 3rd Ave.
Q. MRCPROMO: How long have you been in graphic design and illustration?
A. IGNITE: I’ve been drawing since the age of nine, I started graphic design in 2006 in an art program at Bronx Community College. I wanted to learn animation to bring my characters to life.
Q. MRCPROMO: How has your style developed since you first started?
A. IGNITE: My style has developed into a professional format since I took those classes back in 2006. I always had skill but my professor’s taught me how to clean up my style and make it stand out. I still do hand drawings but now I improve the imperfections with digital graphics on certain pieces.
Q. MRCPROMO: Can you walk us through your creative process from beginning to end? How does your artwork go from an idea to final image?
A. IGNITE: My creative process is simple, I find inspiration through music and situations I see people go through. I’ll play my favorite hip hop artist and what ever mood the song puts me in brings images and ideas to my mind. I start with a sketch keeping in mind the message I want to send, to see if my hand can copy what my mind has in it’s vision.
Then I build on top of the sketch layer by layer improving line and curves with an ink pen to it’s perfection or close as possible. When Im satisfied with the inked drawing I color the picture to bring it to life. Depending on the situation I might bring the picture into a digital art program and clean up some more. I like to color my art work, colors is what draws people’s eyes to the image. Then I frame it and show it the world.
Q. MRCPROMO: What are your favorite tools of the trade?
A. IGNITE: Alor of artist use special expensive tools to get their art work done. I use a regular #2 pencil and a ball point pen for the begining process. Depending on how I feel I might use markers or color pencils. When working on large canvases I’ll use spray paint and markers to create the art work.
Q. MRCPROMO: What or who inspires you to create artwork.. is there someone you look up too for inspiration?
A. IGNITE: When I was little my moms took me on the six train to go down town. In the 80’s all the trains had graffiti on it, murals and tags. I remember one of those trains had smurfette painted on the side of it. That inspired me to draw, watching that train role in the station with cartoons on it was amazing.
You can say comic books and Bronx graffiti is what started me drawing. When the trains became clean and all those writers hit the streets in the 90’s it kept me at it. Even to this day the murals that FX crew and TATS crew do are inspiration for me. Both crews helped me to increase my style, I would stand in front of their walls for hours and just stare and learn. That was before college.
Q. MRCPROMO: Recently you released a comic book can you tell us about that project, and where can we purchased it? Will there be a follow up?
A. IGNITE: My comic book is called Determination, its about a graffiti writer who is strictly out for fame until the troubles of his life causes him to become a super hero. He wears a gas mask to hide his identity and a book bag full of graffiti tools to put fourth his message while he fight injustice.
You can find my comic book on lulu.com , just type Determination by Tori Harris. Im working on book two now which should be released March 2016. Yall should check for that.
Q. MRCPROMO: Any other works you’ve released in the past or published we should know about?
A. IGNITE: I did an album cover for Circa 95 Reph Star and Patty Dukes for a song called Black Suit it on their free lunch album. I just put out a t- shirt this past summer with my logo on it. That logo is actually the gas mask on my comic book character. Which was to tie the comic book and t- shirt together.
Q. MRCPROMO: Any advice you could give someone starting out in Illustration? What are some requirements they should know about?
A. IGNITE: My advice is stay focused, write down all your goals and then accomplish them one at a time. Put yourself in a position where you can do what you love and get paid for it, but keep God first work hard and stay consistent. In order to chop down a tree in takes several hits with an axe the tree don’t fall on the first hit.
Q. MRCPROMO: Shouts or last words?
A. IGNITE: I would like to give a shout to my wife “Feenix Flames“, she’s a poet from The Bronx and my daughters “Beautiful Gift” check out their Youtube channels.
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INTERVIEW: MRC Promotions
EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Ignite Designs