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Five months ago, Qedar moved to New York to go to Pratt. Ismael Oates, also known as Qedar, is a Silver Spring native. Of course it’s more homey in the DMV, but New York definitely has a lot to offer.

As an artist, Qedar is always taking in things from his surroundings. The move to New York changed his art. But let me start by telling you about his art before we get to the changes.

unnamed.jpgImagine this: you’re sitting in a room chilling with your friends. There’s good music, chill vibes, and nice conversation. This is Qedar’s ideal work environment. And by the way, if you’re there while he’s working, it’s possible that something from you or about you will appear in the art he’s working on. One of his art’s main influences is people. People watching is everything. Particular aspects of people are exaggerated, to form his expressionistic, futuristic art.

Another thing he tries to incorporate is colors. He told me that “certain things they do might reflect a certain color, and I try to transfer that color into the portrait.” When I met him, he was wearing a fuzzy blue hat, a white graphic tee, neon pink pants, and a red jacket. Something he hears from his friends pretty often is “Yo, you dress like your characters.” That’s a particularly rewarding compliment for an artist, to take from and to give to his art.

unnamed-1One of his main art techniques stemmed from a memorable experience. A while ago when he was working, a little girl, probably about six years old, asked to draw in his book. Of course he said yes, since youth art is something he strongly supports. Her coloring in of his lines was so intuitive, and out of that came his cartoonish concept– starting with a heavy line, and filling it in afterwards. You’ll be able to see this throughout his pieces.

Before Qedar knew what he wanted to do with his art, rap was one of his main influences. “It turned into something that inspired me to want to create art because I realized how it could bring people together.”And music still holds leverage– he tries to draw what he hears. The music plays into the colors, and maybe the line work, they all feed into one another.unnamed-3

Now, back to New York. New York made Qedar want to make more gestural movements, and put a certain speed into his hand. The essence of the city is what he wanted to keep up with and capture on the paper. Other things you’ll find in his artwork? Imaginative things, like aliens. Spirituality. Movement. African Art. The Universe. I wouldn’t expect all of those things to flow well together, but when I look at his art, every little piece fits perfectly.


So what should we look for next from Qedar? When I asked him this, he said “large scale work that can form an environment.” Take from this what you will.

The words I want to leave you with are these: “At the end of the day, it’s all love. Whoever supports me, thank you. Yeah, that’s all I’m trying to spread, love and positivity for the future. That’s all it comes down to
with my art, just trying to encourage a better future for everybody.”

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