Jeff Cole Ikonick

How Jeff Cole (IKONICK Co-Founder & Digital Artist) Influences Culture Through Art

Jeff Cole takes art to a whole new level through his digital creations of pop culture trends and best-selling canvas pieces. Jeff is the co-founder of IKONICK, an online canvas-art company that generated $10 million in sales in just the first 18 months of launching. Besides that, you can find Jeff Cole (or best known as @Cole on Instagram) creating hundreds of digital illustrations based on blends of trending pop culture, nostalgia, or latest sneaker drops. Collaborating with big brands such as Foot Locker to the NBA, Jeff shares with Contrast Magazine his creative process of conceptualizing art and speaks on some of his favorite illustrations he has created.

What are Specific Things You Look for When Creating Art?

Over the last couple decades my process has changed a lot as I got more into business and psychology. I’ve taken a more programmatic approach to art. It all comes down to optimization and aesthetic intelligence. I’ve implemented a ton of systems to bypass getting into creative zones and conceptual bottlenecks. 80% of my time is spent on research and development and 20% is actual execution and creating. That being said, I don’t usually start a project without knowing what I want the art to look like in the end. If I can’t visualize it, I won’t start.”

 

You’re constantly creating new art pieces, what are methods you use to get yourself out of creative blocks?

I have a couple methods that usually do the trick. I’ve spent decades building reference folders that are specific to elements that make up an art piece. Some of those include composition, perspective, color schemes, aesthetic, typography etc. Those folders usually give me a good start to pinpointing the direction and puzzling together the identity. If I’m having trouble, I’ll take a step back and watch movies with heavy art direction and creative invention ( usually sci-fi genre). That usually sparks my imagination and ideation. The last boost is usually music. That gives me the confidence to run with the idea and get into a zone to start executing efficiently.” 

 

Jeff-Cole-Contrast

One of your most viral pieces is the Michael Scott vs. Michael Jordan, if you had to pick which team to play on, which one would it be and why?

These are my two polar opposite personalities. Not to get too philosophical, but Jordan is ego, Scott is my soul. But if I had to choose I’d go with my ego in Michael Jordan. My style of leadership and ambition align with him more. Plus I feel like Jordan would unlock another level in me I didn’t know I had. Whenever I’m not in work mode, I’m more like Michael Scott. Carefree and not so serious. I’m always trying to make people laugh and enjoy the creativity in comedy.”   

 

 

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A post shared by Jeff Cole (@cole)

 

Out of all your sneaker art pieces, which one did you think wouldn’t go viral but did?

Most of my sneaker pieces don’t go viral so I think just that style in general I think is under appreciated in comparison to my other work that does go viral. Usually the pieces that are the hardest to execute don’t get as much love as the ones that are quick and trending in pop culture. The sneaker art is definitely the most challenging pieces to make. Everyone brings a new challenge and I go backwards to go forwards a lot more than in other pieces. 

 

From your first Red Yeezy’s for Ye’s Red October post to your latest Nike Swoosh for Drake’s Certified Lover Boy post, how has your artistic style changed since then?

I think my style really hasn’t changed much in my eyes. What has changed is the depth that goes into each project. I think I’ve gotten to be a better storyteller and how I create mini stories and a cohesive body of work within a project. Starting off, it’s more of a Minimal viable product or proof of concept to test the waters with my audience. Now I’m spending more time on stuff and trusting my style.”

 

 

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A post shared by Jeff Cole (@cole)

 

You’ve worked with notorious brands like Jordan, Monopoly, Peanuts, and more. Which brand is on your list that you’re looking to work with?

I really want to bring my sneaker pieces to life somehow or work on a shoe with Nike or Jordan. That’s my one big goal in space. But in terms of future endeavors, working on a blockbuster film with Steven Spielberg is on the top of my list.” 

 

The definition of Contrast is to be Strikingly Different. What makes you strikingly different? 

I’ve always been an artist that wanted to make things for others. A lot of my work revolves around nostalgia and things people can relate to but never have seen before. In a way I’m creating my own cultural multiverse combining obvious things together that you’d never expect to intersect in real life.”