Eric-Shabazz Larkin was born an artist and illustrator, but developed his leadership style and creative entrepreneurship through his years in the advertising industry. He has an unusual career in this regard; an art director by trade, he’s been known to wear many hats in the creative process--artist, writer, designer, illustrator, director, composer and award-winning poet.
He was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, with three other siblings. He's lived in Kenya, Portland, Seattle, London and now, New York City. The places he's lived have shaped how he sees the world and why his work reflects so much diversity. Larkin studied art in high school, but attributes much of his technique to his career in advertising as an art director. This is where his affinity for big type and bold color comes from in his paintings and illustrations.
“My favorite thing about being an artist is that there are no walls in the house of creativity.”
Some how he's found himself in the world of experimental film-making. Larkin is very excited about a project called Jump, that is meant to spark a conversation about suicide and mental health. Instead of the traditional movie experience that harnesses little to no conversation, the film's music score is performed live by an artist, in order to make it a dynamic social experience.
BOOK & ILLUSTRATION
It's hard to pin down an illustration style. Larkin's first book, Farmer Will Allen, was a series of illustrations on various textures rather than standard. While his second book, A Moose Boosh, starts with photography and is then vandalized with paint and digital renderings to bring to life his collection of poems about food.
COMMERCE & DESIGN
Larkin has worked in advertising for over a decade, at some of the world's largest agencies, from Wieden and Kennedy, JWT to Mother London and a few small agencies in between. He's bolstered big brands like Pepsi, Nike and Smirnoff and built brands, like Nuun, from the ground up. His belief is that everything is design. And his work as an editor, musician or ad man all come back to his ability to design, organize and architect ideas.