Go Inside The Mind Of Kuba: An Artist Who Combines Pokemon And Hip Hop
Jakub Jablonka, better known as Kuba, is a young artist who specializes in pixel art. He has gained a large following on Instagram for his brilliant idea to combine his favorite rappers with Pokemon. The simple thought has caught the attention of some pretty prominent artists such as Joey Bada$$, Travi$ Scott, and Theophilus London. The young artist is just beginning on a long career ahead into art greatness.
The pictures, which at first seem easy and simple, are actually incredibly detailed. Kuba takes his favorite musical artists, and designs their likeness from scratch in a way that emulates exactly how they would look as a trainer in the Pokemon video game. They are then matched with a faithful character companion that is chosen from a combination of what color schemes match up well together and what that specific person's personality or persona is like.
“The way I match them up is either I’ll choose what they think they will be with like something they say in their raps, like Joey Badass said ‘Young scorcher trying to evolve like Charmeleon’ so it just made sense to match them together,” Kuba said.
Sometimes it isn't even what they say but instead Kuba takes into account what the artist's unique vibes are. However, his art is very peculiar -- and in order for the picture to look as clean as possible he needs to make sure the sprites match up well together. For his Travi$ Scott one there was really only one viable option for what Pokemon he would use: the flame horse Ponyta.
"The reason I chose Ponyta for Travi$ [Scott] was because the whole Western, Wild West, rodeo vibe, and the flames all that stuff just tied into together," Kuba said. "And the reason I chose Ponyta over Rapidash was because the way I was making Travis at the time it looks very 8-bit and the Rapidash looked too advanced for the way I made him.”
A photo posted by @mindofkuba on
Streetwear plays a large roll in his art as well. Kuba loves fashion and he incorporates some of his artists exact detailed outfits into their spirit. On the Travi$ picture you can see he is wearing the Supreme T-shirt that featured a picture of Morrissey wearing the iconic box logo on the front of the shirt. This tee was a coveted purchase earlier this year and had hyp beasts going crazy to try and nab it back during its original release.
The detailed art can take Kuba anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to complete. It takes practice and intense concentration. He mentions how much better he has gotten and you can really see it in the progression of his art. There are many people out there trying to steal his idea, but the difference in Kuba's skill, and what is surely technique, is evident when you look at a side by side comparison.
What really got Kuba on the map was specifically his relationship with Theophilus London. Theo has reposted Kuba's work and even made it his Twitter avatar for a while. One of his best ones, Kuba praises Theo for being one of the main reasons he has any sort of following today.
"Theophilus London was really the first person to help me out. The whole time during his crazy fight with Ian Connor, my art was his twitter picture," Kuba said. "I got a lot of publicity, the timing was just ridiculous."
Kuba said that he hit Theophilus up on Instagram and once they got in contact a relationship was built. Theo originally asked to be with the Pokemon Mew but at the time Kuba wasn't doing repeats and had already made one of himself with Mew. He offered up Mewtwo and Theo was all about it. The Theo/Mewtwo graphic shows the legendary music artist/fashion icon with his signature mask and everything.
"I ended up doing Theo with a bunch of other Pokemon actually. We had a little project that was suppose to happen but it ended up falling through," Kuba said.
Along with his famed Pokemon pictures, Kuba also creates eerie pixel art of different settings and locations. He is really into carnivals, and says he gets a ton of inspiration from pre-2000 horror movies. The old films help to capture a specific aura that he successfully emulates in his art.
"The reason I do these certain specific other images, I always wanted to find some other art account that has everything that pertains to my interests," Kuba said. "I could never find it. I love carnivals, horror movies, so I get a lot of fans from those as well. The desert ones too, the whole Travis theme is dope."
A photo posted by @mindofkuba on
No doubt his art is benefited from the recent Pokemon Go phenomena, but Kuba actually doesn't "f*ck much with Pokemon Go." He says it has brought out a number of phony Pokemon fans, he talks about how people use to give him shit for playing the old Pokemon games on his Gameboy color, but now that its "cool" people are all about Pokemon now. Kuba is all all about being genuine.
Kuba has big plans on the horizon. He is continuing to roll out new pieces of art, his latest being a second version of Travis Scott featuring the Bull Pokemon Tauros. You can see how he custom made the desert background which gives a good look into his style for his other types of art.
He is a humble dude who appreciates all his fans who have stuck with him from the beginning. Keep your eye on him and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter @mindofkuba. You won't regret it.