Who is The_Ice_Geek? 

TIG: I can refer to myself as a digital artist, born and raised in Senegal, currently living and studying in Amsterdam. I moved to the Netherlands 5 years ago. Prior to that, I also lived with my family in Togo.

I’m mainly known for my digital illustrations that I make on Procreate, but also working in my free time on different media such as video editing, photography, sketching and painting on canvas.

What impact, if any, does living in the Netherlands as a Senegalese have on your art? 

TIG: Generally, I could say that I opened up a little more and became more open minded since I moved here as a teenager. People here are sociable, they won’t hesitate to share how they feel, compared to Senegal. People in Senegal really struggle to share their feelings. For example, someone can be depressed, and nobody knows because they don’t talk about it.

So, that can be seen more often in my art as I’m sharing more about myself in my recent pieces. You can also expect such content in my upcoming art. Think of it as more of a glimpse into my personal life. Representing my thoughts and how I feel into my drawings instead of posting things that people would just look at and move past.

Do you think Senegalese artists in Senegal are using art to express emotions? They’re often misunderstood, do you think that could be it? 

TIG: I can’t speak for all but honestly, I don’t think it is the case. They don’t really express their emotions or share their thoughts. There’s a really small number of people who really share how they feel. It’s probably because of the social pressure pushing them to act a certain way. 

How did the name The Ice Geek come about?

TIG: Funny story! It started back in 2013, when I was that one kid in the neighborhood that could fix quite complex cell phone issues, usually with Androids. I also happened to be good at hacking games and gaming in general, so people called me “The geek”. I first started using it as a gaming username, ended up loving the combination and adapted it online on my social pages, etc. It kind of just went from there and I grew with it. 

Why does no one know what you look like? (I always joke with TIG about this as he doesn’t appear anywhere on his IG page @the_ice_geek)

TIG: *laughs* It’s actually not intentional!  I’m just not used to taking my own pictures and not really a “social media person”. Definitely not something I always do but I do take selfies every now and then! Hopefully people will be able to put a face behind my person after this interview!

MaÏmouna Lisa (2020) – The Ice Geek

When was the first time you realized you had a gift/talent for drawing?

TIG: That was a while ago. I’ve always had a love for drawing. I remember when I was 6 years old. I used to do a lot of Art activities when I was living in Togo. I specifically used to create drawings for books, and I was always the one who got more attention out of my peers.

It was something that I really enjoyed doing. Also, I would watch a lot of Manga and reproduce them in my own style. The more I did it, the more I was motivated to keep going as I was getting positive feedback.

As I was growing up, that led me into thinking that it might be something special in me, so I just kept going and (still) trying to get better at what I do.

Do you see yourself pursuing drawing as a primary career?

TIG: Yes, or at least something related to Art. Ideally, I would like to mix my passion with my job – that’s the dream – the notion of using your hobby as a job. I am still learning/discovering some other sides of Art in general but definitely.

Coming from an African family where pursuing the Arts isn’t always fancied; how do your parents view your craft/chosen path?

TIG: They were really supportive in the beginning because they saw at an early stage that I had a love for Art. It was a few years ago that I made a decision to pursue a career/future with Art seriously. They, of course, asked questions but are on board with my aspiration. 

What project are you most proud of?

TIG: So, it’s not published yet. It’s something I am still working on. 

The reason why it’s the project I’m most proud of is because I pushed myself to discover new things and really got out of my comfort zone! And I think that’s something really important. When my followers see it, I think they will definitely agree!

What is a dream project you’d like to work on? A specific person, perhaps? Geographical?

TIG: It would be something that would have a positive influence in the world. Something big, that would solve a problem or teach something new. Something impactful, where people can benefit from. 

I’m guessing you’re a soccer fan 🙂 What’s your deal with restyling their haircuts?

TIG: *laughs* I’m actually not that much of a soccer fan. I started by restyling Sadio Mane and people kept asking for it. They were making fun of him about his hairline, and I thought it would be a fun idea. That one was heavily reposted and went viral on a lot of football pages. It had more than 12M views!

The restyling in question

So after I did that, people asked me to do other players and I just did it for fun and for people who enjoy seeing that content. 

How about perfecting your craft to accompany the passion and talent that’s already there? 

TIG: It all comes down to hard work. You don’t really have to go to a specific school (I don’t really know of any) – everything is based on your imagination/inspiration. I can’t think of something that I am like “oh if I do this, I will be successful.” 

I don’t have a limit on what success looks like. I just keep pushing myself and that’s how I work on my craft and learn new things. Exploring different techniques while maintaining my unique style. 

What services do you offer & what is the best way for new clients to engage with you?

TIG: I just posted again all the services on my Instagram highlights so people can check it out there. Overall, I do almost everything that has to do with visuals; posters, illustrations, album covers and so on…

Anyone who wants to work with me can reach me via Instagram, email, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, etc. My contact info is also on my Instagram highlights.

Damini (2021) – The Ice Geek

Who is your biggest inspiration/Mentor?

TIG: I would say my dad. He’s like a hustle machine and inspires me a lot but mostly on his work ethic. He takes it really seriously and prioritizes it. He works late and never complains about it. He’s not an artist but he has the mindset of somebody who would never give up. 

Freestyle (at this point in the interview, I asked TIG to freestyle with anything else he wanted to share)

What I definitely want to share is something that we as illustrators, experience a lot on a daily basis.

Not only do people devalue the costs and the hours of work it takes for us to create a product, I also believe that our work is not taken seriously by other people.

As I officially made @the_ice_geek a business earlier this year, I realize that such occupations don’t get the respect they should be getting. People allow themselves to ask us for services on which they do not pay us for our skills.

They tend to minimize it by saying that it is something that can be done in a few minutes while it took us years of practice to be able to do it at such a fast rate.

We even get to see people who are willing to pay with exposure and I find that really frustrating because if it was another type of business (selling clothing for example) they wouldn’t dare to come and ask for free products.

I think this is something people should know.

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