Iman Lake is responsible for creating a coming-of-age comic: ‘Stranger Days’, which we would love to see turned into a film adaption! When Iman is not channelling his experiences and inspirations into comic books he is creating audio masterpieces. The artist has a message to share about today’s political climate, the nature of our social fabric and climate change – offering an honest, loud and arresting voice of authenticity. It is refreshing to see a comic book with a black protagonist which remains relevant to the times today. This relatability is what has drawn many readers in, and the title is self-explanatory to say the least; we are living in stranger days.
Without giving the whole story away, for those who have not read the comic yet can you give the readers a synopsis of Stranger Days?
When I saw Iman’s comic getting retweets and likes across the timeline, it was inspiring to see such an amazing response, you could see there was genuine excitement. People praised him for creating something new, refreshing and relatable. His work deserves to be recognised, and applauded, indeed it demands attentiveness within an industry that seems so inaccessible for black talent, with current statistics stating that the publishing sector is 94% white in the UK. The world of publishing, novels and comics just seems like something people do, but not something we could do. As we look ahead, the up-and-coming generations are reformulating history by breaking into new industries and highlighting the breadth of their talents.
Iman’s work also inspires black men to pursue careers in fields they would not normally be encouraged towards. You can be an author or a book illustrator, it is a realistic and achievable goal. For many, reading and writing has been a very integral part of who they are today, a form of escapism, and these are exciting times where we are seeing more stories with characters that look like us, from similar backgrounds to us. I look forward to continuing to see more stories from the powerful black imagination. And speaking of more stories, Iman recently announced via twitter that he has finished writing his second issue!!
Creating a comic book and music requires great imagination; what helps to drive and inspire your creativity?
Well, I have a lot of points of reference and I drew inspiration from a lot of different things that I have watched, read, seen and listened to. What I find most inspiring are ideas, once you catch an idea you can run with it in a lot of different directions. I am inspired by work that I believe carries great ideas and provides clear perspective into different worldviews, expressions and understandings. I think that is really the foundation of getting immersed in any kind of art. It must present interesting ideas, but in that same breath leave room for the viewer to insert their own ideas to create a sort of conversation between the work and the audience.
Besides his comic, Iman makes really incredible music, with songs like his debut single 11:5, which quite literally takes you to space, Iman absorbs the world around him to inspire his music and video decisions; his song was inspired by the exhibition “Strange Days: Memories of the Future”. As aforementioned, Iman brings innovation and technical skill to music, with unique concepts and an offering of interactivity; like his animated visuals for his latest release ‘Neptune’, he manages to capture his listeners with both his voice and visuals. The holistic creativity of merging sound, art and storytelling, is a combination which will continue to take Iman’s career to new heights.
To touch on your music, how would you describe sound and who were your biggest music inspirations growing up?
My sound is really driven by stories, song writing and the stories I’m trying to tell is always at the forefront for me. The music just sets the mood of the story. Some stories make you sad some make you happy, some get you hype. As long as you feel something when you listen. I grew up listening to music that told great stories that. Michael Jackson, Kanye, Jay Z Nina Simone, these artists made great music, but they also told great stories in their music that shed light on life in so many different ways and that really what inspires me.
We cannot forget to mention the illustrators Satria Wahyu and Azeez Bello, how did you find working together and translating your ideas into visuals?
Working with Satria and Azeez on this project was great. Satria was very open and really wanted to be able to articulate the vision I had in the best way possible. This meant we were going back and forth for months, on every detail on the artwork and the colouring, so we could get the best results. Satria has his own flare with things so he would interpret suggestions in interesting and dynamic ways. Azeez was very detail oriented on the project, so he and I would go back and forth on every idea before we sent them back to Satria, working with them both was really just collaboration in its purest form and I’m really happy with the results.
You can grab a copy of Stranger Days here
Also check out Imans latest single; The Birds.
Following him on instagram