Papa MBye’s Art: A Never-Ending Train of Thought

Papa MBye is a fine artist that uses markers and pens to create the unique work shown below. Inspired by everything from Keith Haring to his family to death, Papa MBye draws from a lot of different sources in order to create his intricate work. He’s a “cartoonist at heart” who feels he’s constantly evolving and progressing in art. Check out Papa’s work below and be sure to read our interview with him that follows.

Click on any of the above photos to open a gallery of Papa MBye’s artwork.
Describe your style of art.
My work is very idiosyncratic and malleable in a way where some variable of it can switch every so often depending on what I pull from the people/things around me or the feelings within. It’s kinda like a never-ending train of thought that stops at multiple stations; or even life, in terms of how evolution happens. With each new piece, I evolve and press towards new horizons. In terms imagery, I like to use cartoon like, caricature-esque characters to portray mature situations in a naive sort of way. I’m a cartoonist at heart.
Describe your creative process. How do you start a new piece?
I’m constantly creating. Whether its in my basement drawing on my desk, or at a concert drawing an idea on my hand (and getting weird looks). Sometimes I’ll take a break from a piece I’m working on, start doodling, and have THAT be something I’m chipping away at the whole day. I try not to force it, and that way it feels natural or even instinctual. I try not to be too critical (never works, I still am) because I realize that if us humans are flawed, the art that we make will reflect that.
Pick one of your works and tell us a story about it.
“who knew happiness could be so agonizing”  [shown below] represents the impossibility of feeling just one emotion. We all just wanna be “happy”. I know I do. Art makes me happy. When I first got serious about it, my family showed great resentment. So while creating I accomplished the goal of attaining that oh so treasured feeling, but along with it came guilt, insecurity, and emptiness. Agonizing happiness.
“who knew happiness could be so agonizing” by Papa MBye
Who and what are your biggest influences?

Artistically, I love Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bryant Giles, Tom Richmond, Kanye West and myself. I include myself because I believe that the most impactful influencers of our new work are our past works. I can’t go without mentioning my family. It’s been a tough ride but good things don’t come easy, and their support means the world to me. I’m also influenced by the world around me (yeah I know, duh), the “future”, and death, and all my supporters/naysayers. I do this for me and you. Yeah, you. No, not you – YOU [laughs]. Okay, I’m done.

What goals do you have for yourself over the next few years?

I wanna do what I’m doing now, which is creating. I just hope to do so on a bigger platform in order to have the ability to touch more people. It’s also important for me to be at the point where I’m able to be in direct contact with people who inspire me. More specific goals I have are to exhibit at major galleries across the world, collaborate with some of my favorite people/brands, and have the means to fund some art programs back home in Senegal. If this whole speak into existence thing works, I also wanna be a millionaire, fingers crossed (not that it works, but shit why not give it a try).

Follow Papa MBye on Twitter and Instagram.

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