Akiva Uriel Bakst is an illustrator and graphic artist who currently works in Florida

Akiva Uriel Bakst is an illustrator and graphic artist. Originally from Colorado, he currently works in Tampa, Florida.

Akiva’s style is painterly and expressionistic with a graphic quality. Taking inspiration from a wide array of artistic movements such as expressionism, surrealism, and art nouveau, he uses his impressionistic intuition to create a sense of energy, filling his work with drama, suspense, and atmosphere.

Although he mainly works in Photoshop and Procreate, Akiva enjoys working with traditional mediums when he can, and loves to use oils, pastels, acrylic, graphite, and ink. He applies many traditional painting techniques to his digital work and also enjoys using typography and other graphic design elements in his commercial designs.

You can find out more below…

When did you start illustrating?

“For as long as I can remember” is the typical cliche statement that most people use to describe their beginnings as an illustrator. But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t true. I’ve always been artistically inclined for as long as I can remember. In my highschool years, l knew I wanted to take illustration more seriously when I decided to apply and pursue art school. From there is where my journey as an illustrator had its initial start.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?

It's hard to pinpoint one specific person. I’ve been very fortunate to have a diverse group of people that have supported and validated my pursuits of being a professional illustrator. I’ve put in a lot of work, time, and effort to get where I am now. Everyone from family members, close family friends, my college professors, and my peers have been my biggest advocates along that journey.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?

Absolutely, I’ve always been artistically inclined from the very start and I knew that was my greatest strength above all. I had no doubt that my path was leading to a career within the art world. Plus, If I’m going to be completely honest and candid, I’ve never really been good at anything else. So I stuck to what I knew best!

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?

I don’t have a specific subject matter that I gear towards the most. I mainly draw imagery that is full of drama, heavy contrast, and surreal atmosphere. I gravitate towards anything with a sense of edge. Whether that is dramatic figurative poses, daunting portraits, obscure animals or creatures, or simply illustrating characters from movies or TV shows I enjoy to watch.

How would you describe your style?

My style is painterly and expressionistic with a graphic quality. Taking inspiration from various artistic movements such as expressionism, surrealism, and art nouveau, I use my impressionistic intuition to create a sense of energy, filling my work with drama, suspense, and atmosphere.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

I have experience as a package designer and brand developer. Mainly working with many breweries in the US and in Europe, illustrating beer labels. Most notably, I designed a wide collection of beer labels for Fermento Marso, a brewery based in Tagliacozzo, Italy. As a beer enthusiast, it’s such a satisfying feeling seeing people drink from bottles that I designed myself.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?

I became familiar with Illo Agency when I participated in the ITSme Illustration Mentorship Program in 2023. I was paired with Amy Milligan, an agent from Illo. Amy understood where my skill set was at and the goals I wanted to set for myself. She guided me through every step of the way and was extremely diligent with any inquiries I had. From seeing how I was treated during my mentorship, I knew that Illo would be the agency I wanted to be a part of. It gives me reassurance that I’m part of an artist collective that has full support, guidance, and advocacy from their champion agents.

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?

Oh man, where do I begin? This is a topic I can talk about for endless hours and never find the urge to shut up. I have admiration for so many different authors, film makers, and of course other artists and designers. With writers, my main go-to would have to be Thomas Harris who is most notably known for his prolific works Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. With movies, I’m a sucker for anything made by Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Guillermo Del Toro.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?

At the moment I’m currently getting my feet wet in exhibiting my work at different art festivals around Florida. I’ve just started this year and I’m slowly growing into that business avenue.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favourite?

Any podcast I listen to is always comedy or stand up related. Despite how serious my work can present itself at times, the media I consume when I draw has a completely opposite tone. I have a great love and admiration for standup comedy. Listening to various comics talk about stupid and ridiculous topics in the background while I work always brings me joy. As of right now my favourite comedic podcasts to listen to are Your Mom’s House, 2 Bears 1 Cave, We Might beDrunk, and Are You Garbage?

If you’d like more info, please contact: [email protected]

At illo agency, we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.