Poet, MC, filmmaker, graphic artist, Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic, and cookie aficionado are just some of the things to describe nineteen year old Brooklyn, NY native Ishmael ‘Ish’ Islam.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ish owes everything to the upbringing of his hometown and more importantly, his parents. Both young, hard-working, but constantly missing the touch of silver linings on the long road, a sense of determination was embedded in their son very early. A nurturing and school oriented mother kept him focused and organized even in the midst of significant stubbornness. Much of Ishmael’s ambition derives from the influence of his father, who is a music producer and audio engineer that has dealt with the many bright avenues and dim alleys of the music industry since a teen. There are many occasions where Ish would be in the studio with his dad tapping the keyboards and fooling around in the recording booth. Ishmael is a pure hip hop baby.
Coming from a household of much music and art, it should not have been a surprise to Ishmael that he’d embark on a creative route for his life. However, his gifts weren’t immediately noticed. Quiet, shy, and awfully timid, Ish grew up in the privacy of his mind and imagination. Childhood joy and mischief was supplemented with artistic intrigue: copious drawings of imagined characters and TV favorites, written stories and rhymes, along with hummed melodies and outbursts of ideas. It wasn’t until middle school where teachers took heed to his abilities that Ish realized his potential as a creative. The first act of sharing his talents was reading an original poem about the Middle Passage for a Black History Month showcase in the 8th grade. Further encouragement from teachers, peers, the support system of his family, and a life lived of Brooklyn values and attitude has led to the artist Ish is today.
One facet of Ish’s artistry is graphic design. In pre-teen years, his father encouraged him to go beyond character doodles and quirky sketches and begin to learn Adobe software. After phases of experimentation he became engrossed in self-taught methods to gain a proficient set of skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, After-Effects, Premiere, and more.
After poster designs, flyers for school events, album artwork for his dad’s produced artists, short films, and personal projects, Ish spent his freshman year of college at Pratt Institute. He received traditional instruction of art and design that was not available in middle school and high school. It significantly trained the eyes and visual intuition to apply a refined confidence in his design skills.
Aside from art + design, Ish is a filmmaker. In the 2009 he produced an award winning short film Departure from a Love under the Reelworks Teen Filmmaking program. With a specialized affinity for editing, he has worked on two full music videos for Brooklyn hip-hop duo HumUni. Coincidentally, he is one half of the duo as well.
Currently in his second year of college, Ish has taken even more proficient steps towards the goal of becoming one of the greatest artists of his generation. He devotes work in the Urban Word NYC youth poetry movement, being one of the 2010 Brave New Voices Youth Poetry slam champions with the organizations team, and a second year member of its Word Wide Youth Board. Most recently, Ish won third place in the 2011 annual Knicks Poetry Slam, and created a one man show entitled The Self Spell under the partnership of Urban Word NYC and Dance Theater Workshop.
Through the combination of humility, creativity, and dedication to the arts as a lifestyle, Ish aims to greatly contribute to the progression and elevation of social consciousness not only for his native Brooklyn, but one day the world at large.
Ish: ¤ Imagine & Indulge to Innovate & Inspire ¤