A lot of 18-year-olds doodle in notebooks and sketch their favorite rappers, bands, and idols of the moment. Alexis Seeney—currently a freshman at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina—has taken it a few steps further. Just Google her name. You’ll see her Twitter page, her YouTube page, her website, her LinkedIn page, and several articles about her art. These articles and pages all point to one thing: her brand. Alexis Seeney is HypeForever.
As HypeForever, Alexis has received praise not only from media outlets and the online following she’s built, but some of the subjects in her paintings. Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and Spike Lee have all given her positive feedback. With all this encouragement and notoriety, one would think that Alexis would have her sights set on a career in art, but—as her name suggests—she’s already thinking way beyond that.
You call your art digital paintings and vector paintings. What is it exactly? What program do you use?
My digital paintings are done in Adobe Photoshop CS6 with the assistance of a Wacom tablet. The interactive pen tablet allows designers to freehand as if they were actually drawing or painting in real life. I use oil brushes in photoshop to try to stimulate an actual, traditional oil painting. Some people don’t even know that my work is digital unless I tell them.
My vectors are created using Adobe Illustrator CS6. Vector is a design term that distinguishes shapes from pixels. Pixels are what my paintings are, however, vectors are shapes. The size of a vector can be increased infinite amount of times and it will not alter; the design will remain crisp, unlike a pixel graphic which will get blurry if the size is increased too much.
Do you use a mouse?
I do not use a mouse at all.
How long does each one take?
Each one takes about four hours.
How do you choose your subjects? Is it just people who you’re a fan of, or are there some people who just have a look that makes you want to paint them? I used to sketch a lot and for me some people were always more fun to draw. I always loved drawing Bob Marley because he has the best expressions.
I choose my subjects based off how they influence me and also my peers. However, I also choose them based off a certain look. For example, I love painting Kanye West; his facial structure and skin tone are artistically perfect.
I value originality and I believe that the only way a form of art can be pure and infinite is if it’s original and from the soul.
How did you come up with the name Hype Forever?
I came up with the name HypeForever based off my personal values and beliefs. I value originality and I believe that the only way a form of art can be pure and infinite is if it’s original and from the soul. Artists typically tend to create with standards and guidelines—rules. From music to graphic design and even clothing.
Only original ideas and creations lasts, bandwagons fade. If Leonardo da Vinci didn’t deliver a rare style of art, we wouldn’t still learn about him hundreds of years later. If Michael Jackson was an ordinary musician, we wouldn’t still play his music decades later; unlike one-hit wonders who followed trends. If A Bathing Ape was just another brand of the ’90s that followed the bandwagon trend of that era—which I can’t say much about because I was born in ’95, however Bape is my favorite brand—then it still wouldn’t be selling decades later with its value increasing.
I was listening to a Rapsody song called “Everlasting,” it briefly states the true meaning of HypeForever:
9th told me trends come and go, be ’bout your music. Make it everlasting like them shoes when they be moving.
Do you want to make a career out of making art?
I do want to make a career with this, and all of my other talents. I want to become a media mogul… like Vashtie Kola.