Artwork is an attention grabber when it comes to deciding whether or not you want to listen to a new album, picking the right record while digging crates and when you’re scrolling through a blog. Cover art is a very important aspect in music, and Fred Lozano‘s impression on the hip-hop head scrolling through his favorite blog will have them making a U-turn. Fred Lozano has just started his journey as a graphics artist but has already worked with the likes of Blu, ANTHM, JohnNY U.and more to come. We got a chance to sit down with the artist and talk about his upcoming film, working with Blu and ANTHM, who he will be working with and who he wants to work with. Check it out:
How old is Fred Lozano and where are you from?
Just a 22 year old Cleveland dreamer.
What first got you interested into art?
I’ve always been artistic, I guess. It’s something I got from my late grandfather. I remember being in elementary school taking kid’s lunch money because they would pay me to draw Pokemon and Courage the Cowardly Dog and shit for them.
How did you make your way into the design world?
I dipped my toes in animation when I was about 15 or 16. Trained myself on Adobe Flash and eventually animated an ad for some website. That’s probably the first venture I took into the design game. I don’t remember how it came up, but a friend and local rapper who I grew up with through high school hit me to draw up artwork for his mixtape. I don’t really know how that made me want to start designing cover artwork or anything, but that’s the first time I stepped into the lane that I’ve built for myself.
What software do you use for your work?
I first spotted your work when you did the artwork for Blu & Bombay’s “Summertime.” How did that come about and what was the concept behind that?
Honestly, I was sitting at home at about 3 in the morning and trying to find any way to entertain myself. Randomly had the urge to tweet Blu and demand that he let me design artwork for a new joint or album. I think the tweet read something like, “stop playing and let me make something legendary for you.” So, to say I was surprised when he followed me, direct messaged me, and emailed me his next single and told me to make it happen all within ten minutes, is an understatement. My first “big” client was one of my favorite MC’s in the game.
What’s crazy is if I hadn’t sent out that tweet than I probably would have just gotten bored with graphic design and moved on.
You’ve had your own film in the making for some time now. What’s the story behind that and what aspects are you working on?
The film is where all of this is leading, hopefully. The things that I’m trying to accomplish with “Art by Fred.” I never wanted to be a graphic designer. I just kind of fell into it. My heart has always belonged to film. I’ve had bizarre and unique encounters with love and relationships and at the time that I first began writing the script, my life was completely engulfed in the dying breath of one of those encounters.
What started as therapy turned into me having a vision and message that I wanted to share with my generation. I have yet to find a film that truly defines my generation. Every generation has one of those films and I feel like with the state that we are in on our perception of how we treat and embrace love and ourselves that people need this film.
It’s not entirely a love story. It’s mainly a story about growth and defining yourself while wrapped behind the cloak of a love story. I’m still in the very early stages of pre-production, but I’m prepping to film a promotional reel for the film in the next month.
An Academy Award nominated director who read the script called it a modern day “Annie Hall” with a hint of “Blue Valentine.” So, there’s that. Whether it’s true or not, I won’t know until I film the damn thing.
Sorry to run on about the film, but I could talk about it to no ends and I get carried away when thinking of it.
You’re working very close with ANTHM on his upcoming project. Did he hire you to do all the artwork and how does your art play into his music?
I tried to pull ANTHM’s attention my way for so long. Somehow, I finally got that attention and I’ve found my artwork attached to all of the songs that he’s put out recently. As far as I know, I’m on board to carry out the artwork packaging for this entire project. It’s a dope opportunity that I’m grateful to have. His music seems to bring out the best in my artistry since the majority of the pieces that I’ve designed for his music I would classify as highlights to what I’ve created to date.
I think him and I just vibe well together on music and presentation. I work in the same process whenever I start up a piece for him. Put the track on endless rotation, find what the track is saying at it’s core, and then hope that I captured it.
What other artists can we see you working with in the future?
I designed a few pieces for L’Orange that I think will be scattered about over next year. Exile hit me about possibly working with him. I would love to design for Fashawn’s upcoming project. I designed the packaging for Michael Francis’ upcoming “Cold Heart Chronicles” series. Got a piece for Rapsody coming. Just finished up pieces for DJ E-V, JohnNY U, J Manifesto, Tevon Rease, and a few more. I’ve exchanged emails with Top Dawg about possibilities. Spoke with Hoodie Allen, Isaiah Rashad, and Malik Yusef about ideas. The Weeknd, Chief Keef, Kavinsky, and King Chip all showed interest in my artwork and even put my work on their Twitter and Instagram pages. Maybe something comes from that.
I would love to find a way to branch out of the hip-hop genre a bit and work with indie artists. That way I could fill my hunger for wanting to do more abstract and unorthodox cover pieces.
I don’t know, man. I can’t really say. Wherever the dream takes me and opportunity arise, I guess. If I want to work with an artist I try and find one person to tell me that I can’t work with them because all of the artist’s that I’ve been told I would never be able to work with, I have or at least gotten their attention.
So, tell me an artist I can’t work with right now.
How long does it usually take you to make a piece?
Between an hour or four on the initial design that I send out to clients. Really depends on the type of piece, though.
Besides doing graphics, have you ever thought about getting further involved in the music scene?
I would love to get into the visual aspect of music. Music videos or viral videos. That stems from my love for film. At the moment, I don’t have the time nor devotion to do that, however. Maybe some day.
I took a stab at producing about two years back. There’s an EP out there somewhere by me that should remain buried.
What’s your dream job?
Film director. If that doesn’t happen than there isn’t a dream anymore and the 22 year’s I’ve been here have been put to waste.
Any final comments?
Appreciate you putting the spotlight on my little doodles for a minute and putting up with my enjoyment of listening to myself talk. Dope blog you have up and running and it’s something the internet needs.
Thank you for dreaming.