Markus Prime is a talented illustrator that has been gaining the community’s attention for a while now.
Physical art, besides music, is one of the most expressive and representative activities in which one can participate, in my opinion. It’s impossible to not get a sense of who someone is through their unbiased, un-compromised creative work. What artists do and how they do it are perceptively available in every piece they make. The only thing that we can’t see for ourselves is the reason they create in the first place. The things that I wanted to know about Markus Prime were what I want to know about every person that does something creative – why?
And he told me:
Blavity: Where are you from, and how do you think it’s influenced your sense of imagination?
Markus Prime: I was born in Warren, Ohio but left as a toddler. I was raised in a military household so we moved all over the country. I’ve lived in almost 10 different states. I think it’s influenced my art very heavily in the sense of all the different perspectives and cultures I’ve been able to absorb as a result of moving constantly.
B: When and what made you fall in love with art? What is your earliest impactful experience in that world?
Markus Prime: I’ve always been in love with art. It was there from the start. Since I was a toddler I’ve been drawing and just never stopped. My earliest memory of an impactful experience would definitely be when I got hold of one of my first Spider-Man comics, spending my days trying to draw my favorite panels from the book. I just found it amazing that I was able to duplicate what I saw in the books.
B: When did you know that this was what you wanted to do for a living?
Markus Prime: I’ve known since middle school that art was going to be my career in some form. But I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a freelance illustrator until about 6 years ago after seeing the response to my work online. I had a lot of my work go viral and it made me feel more comfortable with the idea that I could make a living in this field.
B: How would you define yourself to someone you’ve never met?
Markus Prime: I would say Markus Prime is a social butterfly, yet extremely introverted at the same time. Friendly and open to meeting new people but definitely likes to be alone a lot. Don’t get offended!
B: Your art has been described as Afrofuturistic. Would you consider yourself an Afrofuturist? If so, what does that mean to you?
Markus Prime: I mean, I typically don’t like to give categories to my work, but I feel comfortable with that term. I try to draw things that have themes of the future or progress. I love drawing us in positions of power hundreds of years into the future, doing innovative things. I want us to embrace the idea that there is hope for us to reach new heights as a species and as people of color; we’re including ourselves in that future.
Heres some of Markus Prime’s art:
How has moving to Los Angeles informed your work?
LA has expanded my perspective of blackness even further. The more amazing black people I meet in Cali, the more I’m able to learn and add to the imagery I create. I try to base my work off of real life, but adding my imagination to it. I also feel safe in saying the weather helps, too!
Explain the premise of your book B.R.U.H. for people who haven’t heard of it. And where did the idea for the project come from?
The premise of B.R.U.H. (Black Renditions of Universal Heroes) is to help push the idea that black women can be powerful superheroes and carry a story on their own, without the help of men. No love interest, just her in all her glory. It will be a collection of drawings with gender and race flips of some of my favorite characters from the comic and anime universes.
When you think of the finished product in someone’s hands or on their screen, what do you hope is going through their mind?
I hope that it is inspiring young people of color to create imagery that they can identify with. That it inspires them to create the superheroes they’ve always wanted to, but were scared of what others would say. I want them to feel like the idea of being a hero of color is not a bad idea.
What was the last comic book you purchased?
Niobe – She is Life, A great series written by Sebastian A. Jones and Amandla Stenberg.
Name your top 5, dead or alive, fictional characters of all time. (No order necessary)
Vegeta, Batman, Batgirl, Black Dynamite, Garnet.