The Young Graphic Designer Creating Artwork for Rappers
Meet Aaron Austin, the young graphic designer from London who designs cover art for some of the biggest rappers on the street
A single cover, mix-tape cover and an album cover speak a thousand words and have become a key part in music. In hip-hop and rap music, you would find some of the most famous and even legendary covers in music. For example Kano - Home Sweet Home, Nas - Illmatic, Kanye West - MBDTF and Dizzee Rascal's 'Boy In Da Corner'
Aaron is a young Graphic designer from South London who closely works with UK rap heavyweights like Youngs Teflon and Bonkaz on the art direction of singles, Ep's and mixtape covers. The young designer has created well known cover art for both Teflon and Bonkaz, some of which include Young Teflon's 'March Madness', the 'January Sales' mixtape and the 'Jungle Book' EP. As with Bonkaz some include the famous 'We Run The Block', 'Forgive Me When I'm Famous' and 'You Don't Know'
Aside from Bonkaz and Youngs Teflon, Aaron's talent and high-end production of cover art work has made himself a go to guy for many rappers not just in the UK but also branching out to the United States. Having worked on killer designs for artists like Swift (Section Boyz), Ray Blk and YGG, Aaron's art work has been seen all over social media and on big rap platforms like Link-Up TV. The hard work and passion of the young designer has even helped him get in contact with big American rappers like the hit single star OT Genasis and even the Memphis man from CMG Blac Youngsta on a collab with Music On Demand's (MOD) own Hunta and Shocktown.
Aaron has been designing for a while now and the passion he has is giving him a bigger name. Graphic designers for cover art are sometimes over looked and are not really appreciated for the part they play. However Aaron is making a personal name for himself and is not really overlooked as a designer. When speaking to Aaron I could see he was very determined and willing to produce the best art work possible for the best musicians.
As a graphic designer he is certainly getting his name around and a lot of people are personally showing him appreciation for his work. The likes of Youngs Teflon and Bonkaz have a lot of trust and faith in his ability that he's designed the covers of nearly all their projects over the last year.
Music cover art is so much more than just artwork for the sake of the single, mixtape or album. It's a way to understand what the music is about. "It's about allowing the audience to understand the music through a picture". Aaron's designs are very strong in terms of creating imagery. As soon as I saw the 'March Madness' cover art, I knew exactly what Youngs Teflon had in store for the mix tape.
EX.O: When did you first get into graphic designing?
Aaron: I've been doing graphic design for around 5 years now, so I started playing around with Photoshop early 2011, at this time I wasn't working in the music industry though, I started off in the YouTube side of things doing tutorials and banners for gamers.
EX.O: Have you got any personal favourite covers you've done?
Aaron: Personally, my favourite cover art I have created would have to be my We Run The Block cover for Bonkaz I created July last year. Mainly because I feel this is where I feel my work started to take off and get noticed a lot more, the process was so natural and unexpected that it really opened me up to what I can accomplish as a teenager from London.
EX.O: Yeah I get you! One of our personal favourites is the Youngs Teflon 'March Madness' cover. How did you manage to get through and work with these artists?
Aaron: It's actually an odd one, I moved around a lot and started living in Brixton late in 2014, I knew he wasn't far from me so one day I just messaged him on Snapchat with my work and he gave me a chance to work on his Concrete Jungle EP, we did a photoshoot for the EP and for his Trillin' brand and have been working closely since then, now he's like family to me, I go to his house and we get to work. this was around the same time I started working with Bonkaz so I guess my luck was turning!
EX.O: Do you think the cover art is an important factor in promoting a new single, mixtape or album even?
Aaron: I put so much thought and effort into every single piece of work I make. I think it needs to be valued a lot more. A majority of artists will make a sick song, then rush the artwork and I just feel it brings down the value of what they spent so much time on. Artwork is about visual communication, allowing the audience to understand the music through a picture.
EX.O: Do you think that the graphic designers deserve more credit? Because there are very famous cover arts for different singles or albums but we never really get to know the person behind it. Do you agree with this or disagree?
Aaron: I agree that graphic designers aren't really appreciated but deserve more credit? Never! Credit is always given where it's due, I feel like slowly, people are appreciating my content more. It has taken me a long time to be valued but it's definitely been worth it. I can't act like I deserve more credit when I know hundreds of artists that are not valued enough yet. You have just got to continue working hard and building it up, things will change over time if you stay consistent and show people there are no flaws in what you produce.
EX.O: Who would you say has helped you the most in terms of the recognition of your work to other artists?
Aaron: Bonkaz and Youngs Teflon. Easily! These are the people I can really say have treated me like family since day one. They've really believed in me and everything I want to do as a creative and this really helped me understand myself. Since I met those guys, things have just been getting better and better! I'll forever be grateful for that.
EX.O: Are you working with any new artists at the moment?
Aaron: Haha! well, I don't want to say too much as I don't know if I should be announcing the unreleased stuff but I'm working with a label that's owned by one of the most in-demand rappers right now from America and I cant wait for it to come out. Aside from that, the people I work with in the UK are getting bigger and better! people I've grown up watching and listening too. I just finished some work with the godfathers of drum and bass and also someone who's worked with Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop.
To see more of Aaron's work go and check out his website!
Cover art by - Aaron Austin:
Photo of Aaron by - EX.O Trevor