We're very excited to introduce Justine Allenette Ross who is based in in Metro Detroit!

We're very excited to introduce Justine Allenette Ross who is based in in Metro Detroit! A commercial artist (illustrator, art director, and designer). Working for the likes of Hour Magazine / DBusiness Magazine, MetroTimes Detroit, Rent Party Detroit, BLAC Media, Pontiac Creative Arts Center, FreeLife Productions, Ann Arbor District Library, Ebony Magazine.

She has always been compelled to create; whether it be drawing, illustration, designing or branding! and believes all facets of design is visual communication. Her goal is to create a visual language that can be understood by everyone. So we'll kick it off with our first communication via a very engaging Q&A, hope you think so too!....

When did you start illustrating?

I’ve always been an artist. I’ve always drew. However, I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself an illustrator until a couple of years ago. When I started taking my craft very seriously.

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

I’ve been blessed to have very supportive people surrounding me! Whether it be colleagues, or professors, or family and friends. When it comes to questions like these I’ll always say my mom and her dad, my grandad. They gave me my talents, and were the most vocal about me pursuing an art career.

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

Absolutely. No doubts. From a very young age I figured I would be in the arts.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?

PEOPLE! I’m forever drawing people.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my work as observational, figurative, playful, cartoony, chaotic, and human, with a touch of umami. I think it's obvious that I grew up watching Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

I love them all, actually. But I’ll say the blog I did with AIGA Detroit titled Taste: My Low-key Manifesto About Race and Class in the Design World. My friend Alexander Shammami, who does work for AIGA Detroit, convinced me to do it. He was in the process of putting together a blog so he was calling all his friends who were either POC, LGTBQ, or women so they could talk about their experiences as creatives in Detroit. I’m Black and female AF so he hit me up. When we were chit chatting I mentioned my manifesto. After I told him about my manifesto he was insentient that it should launch the blog.

It was an awesome experience to talk about my opinions about art and society and intersectionality of the two on such a grand scale. I also did all the illustrations for the blog. Alex did all the editing and structuring. So it was a lovely back and forth, symbiotic experience for both of us. He really believed in me, so it gave me the confidence to go through with it.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?

Your overall goal of representing a diverse array of artists was very compelling to me. It’s good to be represented by an agency that values aligns with yours as an artist.

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

My favorite author is Toni Morrison, my favorite director is Yorgos Lanthimos, and at the moment Eddie Opara is killing over at Pentagram. However, my favorite designer is Corita Kent. She was a genius. She was a nun, educator, and designer. Her work was inclusive, radiant, and affirming. Her vigor and love for life was so evident in her design work. She was very giving with her talents and I greatly admire that. I had her “Ten Rules” as the background on my phone for a year.

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

Yes! I’ve been a bit busy with professional jobs but I want to pick my “Negros (...)” series back up in the summer. I’m super excited about that!

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

When I worked at a screen printing company I would turn on “The Read” when I was on the last leg of my shift. So between 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm. It was like clockwork. Crissle and Kid Fury kept me sane.

If you have any questions or a specific project in mind, please do get in touch: [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.