Nas Untitled






(heres a great track from the album if you have a chance to listen)

So this was one of the last pieces I did at the Ill Academy. It was very much a personal piece as Nasir Jones aka Nas has been a large influence to me especially over the past year or so. His Illmatic album reigns as the undisputed greatest hip hop album of all time. His newest album originally titled N****r but without the asterisks was the cause of much controversy. I greatly respect his decision to name his album this as it caused many great conversations concerning this word and racism in general. Some called it a publicity stunt but I see it as the complete opposite. The is backed by the amazing album that resulted. The now-titled "Untitled" album is a masterpiece of an album transcending hip hop into just pure quality music. It is very political and tackles many weighty topics and does it in a poetic articulate manner.....So I've been trying to make a piece of art that captures the effect Nas' music has had on me for a while. So I went into this piece with guns blazing trying to make a very powerful image.......but I don't think this image accomplished that. I wanted to make a picture that showed how Nas is tackling racism and fighting for equality and showing how we all face the same problems. I think that is communicated but not in a powerful manner. Maybe it is the gouache that gives it a "light feel?" I'm content with the technical aspects of the picture but I'm still trying to get that emotion into my pieces that all the greats did. Theres always another piece.

all the best,
-francis

29 comments:

Oleg Portnoy said...

Francis, great illustration! Really refreshing to see someone who's adapt in so many different mediums and not afraid to experiment with different styles.

Oleg Portnoy said...
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Geary Day said...

favorite piece you did at the academy..love the flatness in the figures in the back..and i noticed that the whole piece looks more unified now..nice work man and good album too

trey said...

yeah man this ones sick, see you soon at school

Edward Kinsella III said...

nice strokes man. This one has a great palette too...Can't wait to see what you do this year.

Bombproof said...
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Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorites! Great work as always. EMV

Fito said...

Hey Francis, muy interesante tu t├ęcnica, es muy fresca, me encanta!!

Raven Herrera said...

So this piece is just monumental, really really awsome, have fun at the con.

deep::six said...

palette and technical skill is all there man. i feel it lacks continuity though. the collage of characters doesn't unify the whole piece for a strong and powerful image. leave a wake in san diego.

::s::

Haylee said...

Norman would be flattered if he could see this piece. This has to be one of my favorites, you really went crazy with this one. I think if you were allowed more time, the emotion could have been achieved. Give it time. As mentioned above, there's always the next masterpiece to be done.

Take care at SDCC!

Shawn Escott said...

Really nice piece Francis! The design and color choices are fantastic. I personally used to listen to a lot of rap. I like a nice beat, but, not the negative lyrics to go along with it. Especially these days, we need all the positive influences we can get.

Rich Pellegrino said...

This turned out really nice Francis. it doesn't feel like nas' album. maybe that is what you think is missing. it looks and feels like one your paintings though. either way it is still a solid piece.

Anonymous said...

Come on dude "It was written" was a better album but a great bit of work all the same

Nadia Moon said...

Hey Francis, your work is cool. Like the colors and the dynamics. Keep it up. I have bookmarked you and will be watching you from now.

Adam Ford said...

Always nice visits! You have been cranking them out.

Eli said...

This is a really strong piece. The hardest part is how to build from it. You've set your standards high and we expect greatness. Cheers Francis!

aermio said...

nice piece. illmatic is one of my favorite hip hop albums lyrically and productionwise, although there are other great albums in hip hop. I suppose it just depends on what mood you're into and what you're going through, which in turn will dictate what you listen to. i personally think other artists like slug or immortal technique have touched on subjects that are important to me and people i've grown up with.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=6j5Q3ceTlsY

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Igt-jW4e8ts

i thought it was interesting how your composition has an 'X' above nas' head. was that intentional?

Wouter Tulp said...

beautiful piece of art!!

pointpusher said...

Dope Francis. Nas is a beast, and the album concept is captured well here. Keep up the amazing work my friend!

Cande* said...

hey!! really nice works!!
greets!

Francis Leonard said...

Many people probably don't know what Nas even looks like, so I would've just tried to not worry about this figure looking like the way Nas looks. I would re-do the piece with a different composition, but leave this one the way it is.

Peace

Jesse Fillingham said...

hey Francis,

It was great to meet you at the con (spectrum booth). ive been lurking your blog and sketchbook at ca.org for quite a while now.

Im loving all of the people in the background, the color palette is ridiculous as well. take care, cant wait to see more.

kevin said...

awesome work man, i'm totally in awe. great to meet you at comic-con.

Francis said...

thanks for the kind comments everyone! Just got back from Comic-Con and I'm jazzed to get back to working!

P e t e r : : Y u : : C h u n g said...

This is baller, and thank you very much for the ilya repin download!

Andre Barnwell said...

Very nice piece man. WAy to go hard on it. I do agree with you on Nas' new album. I heard a lot of talk about it and its name but after i heard the "Be a N****r too" I realized is point of view. He's smart and I've always liked how he's tried to take himself away from what everyone else is doing in the industry. He is definitely taking responsibility for the power that he has instead of rocking white framed sunglasses to set a trend.

Thanks for doing a tribute to him. It would be ill if he copped the original offa you and framed it.

Andre Barnwell said...

..regardless i think you could definately think you got potential to be the "Hirschfeld" for hip hop. I dont mean that style wise...I mean that subject wise.

Killer stuff.

RZ said...

I like your style, player. Keep on.

--rz