Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Qadim Haqq interview

Abdul Qadim Haqq, who did the artwork for Drexciya's Neptune's Lair album, very kindly answered some questions I posed for him. This is the first interview I've requested for DRL and now I have a few more people in mind to approach.
He is a visual artist who has been working professionally since he first met Derrick May in 1989. Since then he has produced artwork for many notable labels, including Transmat, Planet E and UR. He is still based in Detroit and exhibits all over the world.
Q: How did your first professional involvement with Drexciya come about?
A: It was in the late 90's when James Stinson approached me with his Neptunes Lair concept. I think it was the summer of 99. It was going to be the first Drexciyan concept album.
Q: Did you know them socially already or only when the first project with them arose?
A: I knew James Stinson in passing from being at Submerge often. Gerald Donald I knew of even less.
Q: Did they have specific ideas for you, just give you the title and track listings or completely leave it up to you?
A: James Stinson had very specific ideas about Neptunes Lair. He had their whole underwater world and civilization thought out in his head. He gave me very detailed descriptions and then we worked together on the Drexciyan Warrior and Cruiser.
Q: Did you feel any connection or kinship with their dedicated approach to music, the enigmatic presentation of their image and the imaginary world they created with their words and music with the way you work?
A: I felt a very deep kinship with James. He was brilliant when it came to science fiction and that's always been my favourite subject matter. When we thought out the concepts of the album together it was very natural for me. I think we worked well together.
Q: Did everything you submitted for Neptune s Lair make the finished artwork or was there things you would have liked to have seen added?
A: Yes. We pretty much thought out everything together. There wasn't anything extra that I did that didn't go on the album.
Q: Was there any other work you would have done for them, outside of Neptune's Lair, which people might not be aware of?
A: After the death of James Stinson, I did a tribute painting of the Drexciyan Warrior on a wood panel. The title was "Long live Drexciya".
Q: When you did the artwork for Aquanauts what was your instruction, if any or how did you decide to approach it?
A: I was instructed by Mike Banks to take the concept to the next evolutionary level if you will. Since James Stinson's brother was in the Aquanauts, we wanted to keep the same vibe as with Drexciya but change it up slightly.
Q: The central figure in your Third Earth Heroes image on your websites homepage looks very much like a Drexciyan. What today is your personal feeling and opinion about Drexciya's music and legacy?
A: I am amazed by their achievements looking back after all these years. I think Drexciya was the "perfect storm" if you will. A number of elements that converged to make something unique and sublime.
Q: As one of the illustrators of Drexciya's world, even though it was a commercial job, this places yourself amongst the very first artists to be inspired by them to do work. Were you aware that since the death of James Stinson they have had a similar inspirational effect on other artists such as Ellen Gallagher and Kapwani Kiwanga? How does this make you feel about this ongoing process you played your part in?
A: This is amazing as I was just contacted and interviewed by Ms. Kiwanga just a couple of weeks ago. I'm really glad there is such interest in Drexciya and their concept. I'm proud to have been the choice of James to be the artist for Neptune's Lair. What's funny is most people don't realize that Drexciya themselves didn't write the most famous story (myth, legend) that they are known for! It was the Unknown Writer!
Q: What are your current activities and plans for the future?
A: I'm currently finishing up my project of a lifetime. I've written an artbook that tells the story of Detroit Techno and it's legends done in a sci-fi style. I did all new paintings and images for it too. There will also be a CD that features tracks from 6 of the legends in the
book. They are:
Derrick May
James Pennington
Carl Craig
Jeff Mills
Mike Banks
The Martian
I hope when it comes out, I will be able to bring it to your country!
Best regards,
A Qadim Haqq
Techno Visual Artist


Blogger Unknown said...

Best entry yet

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life Is Fast Ending - So Live!
J. Stinson

Sept. 14 1969 - Sept. 03 2002

7:40 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

It's must be a terribly sad day for his family. It's always hard to know how to mark his anniversary here on DRL. Having a token post on the day to remind people seems a small thing to do and it would be just that, a token. Because of his music I remember him probably everyday and I would guess that many of you are the same in that. But the memory isn't sad at all, it's like he's still here, like he never went away. Just take his advice and Live.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Count Drugula said...

Fantastic interview! I had no idea Ellen Gallagher considers Drexciya an influence...incredibly interesting!

1:19 AM  
Blogger jacques_de_cote said...

Hi Stephen, I'd like to contact you concerning the above interview. How can I contact you? Any e-mail? Regards. Jacek

12:18 PM  

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