B-Sides: Pivotal Moments with Logik

Words by Jake Krzeczowski
Photos by Keeley Paterneau

Everyone’s life has a moment whether they realize it or not. It can be fleeting, sustained, or somewhere in between and timing and awareness often dictate which. For some, it happens as a kid. For others, later in life. Regardless of the timing though, the most important thing is to be aware it’s happening at all. In that regard, it hasn’t been hard for artist Julian Gilliam, better known to some as Logik, to see the signs lately.

The last year has brought the artist a series of finales and new beginnings. He began 2019 comfortable in an affordable oversized loft in the West Loop where he bided his time carefully cultivating his artistic output during time between meetings and projects at his day job doing advertising at Leo Burnett. In early April he received an eviction notice. Suddenly faced with leaving a point of creation he’d lived and worked in for nearly two years, it was immediately obvious he had to make a mark with his exit.

The result was a fully-immersive experience stepping into a world dictated by his art. He’s mentioned a goal being the ability to create a world within his own work not dissimilar to Walt Disney. For a day in May, that became a reality that saw his discounted 2,000 square foot loft transformed to a day-long event that was a part party, part gallery, part performance. Soon after leaving, he was contacted by organizers of the inaugural Complexcon Chicago which he developed a wholly unique and experiential review of his work to that point, all channeled into a booth smaller than the average room.

Gilliam’s art works in personal spaces, easily identifiable connections and just below the veil analogies that come together to craft a reality that’s always there but not always identified. His Complexcon setup was iconic enough to attract the likes of Haruki Murakami and resulted in an offer to follow up the showing with a follow up at the Long Beach edition. Add to that a nomination for AdAge’s Ad Color Awards this summer, and it’s obvious Logik is on his way to his dreams. I caught up with him for a piece recently, the B-Side is here below.


Jake: How would you describe the way the summer has gone this year?

Julian: I think this summer was really just a great testament to what I’m doing all of this for. And I guess it’s like a false sense of validity because I been gunning and doing this for so long so it’s like, I think this is like the first time that a lot of people from outside have been looking in and being able to see my stuff and it’s been really monumental. Going into my 30s because this is my last week of being 29 and my twenties-I really just wanted to make a statement before I hit that next chapter and actually just seeing the work pay off.

Jake: Obviously you’re doing your work for more than simple rewards, but it has to be satisfying to see people appreciate your stuff.

Julian: Yeah, I guess it lets me know I’m not fucking crazy. Because I’ve literally been a hoarder of all my art, no one owns my stuff I’ve never really sold any of my paintings or prints, except one year at Art Basel and I sold it because Corvoissier or whatever fucked up my print. Yeah, those things are real because I’m always by myself my art up until this point hasn’t been a collaborative thing. It’s always been like I have to be in the studio for like twelve hours a day to get this done and no one else can see it or own it or whatever so putting it out in the public’s eye and seeing the reactions of people and them taking it in, its like I cant be selfish with my heart anymore, or my heart and that people love to see it and I love it when they get something from it so I think that’s the thing I’m most proud about is people are yearning for that type of messaging and that type of perspective. Because what I try to do is bring in a perspective of humanity and try to create from pure emotion and self which is why I think I had to be in solitude for so long and travel alone, I did Japan for a year by myself and Europe by myself just so I could shut the fuck up and figure out what makes me tick and what makes me happy and I was just a people watcher and so I just took all those things and tried to recreate those universal truths of humanity.


Jake: What would your wildest goal be in all of this.

Julian: You ever read the book the Alchemist? That shit changed my life. But, when I moved here, I’ve been intentional since I was 15. I learned how to design and I looked at the world through like Disney or whatever – he was an animator right? But he didn’t limit it to animation he created a storyline, he developed a character named Mickey Mouse. So instead of characters that were just one-dimensional characters, that didn’t hold on to a personality they were more like a placement like a tree would be. He took that from animation to storyline and through storyline to theme parks and through theme parks to clothes to figurines and action figures and you can walk into a world or a land based on that and no one thinks anything of that. That’s fucking powerful. I’m going to Disneyworld? That’s wild. I want me one of them hoes. I want one of them bitches.

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