Take A Step Into Junk Yards Realm

Introduce yourself

Hello everyone, I go by Junk Yard and I’m an illustrator. I was born and raised in South Africa and have now been living in Chicago for the last 16 years.

How was life growing up?

Life was a hell of a lot different than what I could imagine it’s like growing up in America. As a kid, we moved around a lot in South Africa, but it was fun, I miss South Africa.

What actually caused the move to Chicago?

I was going to work at Disney World for a year and backpack through America and head back home. I ended up traveling to Chicago and just staying here. I love this city.

When did you begin to witness you had creative talents?

I started drawing as young as I can remember. It’s not something I even picked up. It’s just something I’ve always done. My father is also an artist and quite possibly could be the reason behind my creativity.

Talk about the meaning of the name Junk yard

Junk yard was something that started when I made beats. The first couple of jobs I had were at Guitar Center and Sam Ash music stores, working in keyboarding and recording. One day I was setting up a SoundCloud account and I needed a name. I told myself that the first thing that comes to my mind will be my username and that ended up being Junk Yard.

When do you start getting involved with social media?

I had an Instagram page called “Pop Chop Skunk Factory” and I was posting early drawings and got to 12 followers and was excited. After a few months, nothing really happened and I deleted the account. One day I wanted to start printing t-shirts and I started doing linoleum prints and started a new Instagram and called it Junk Yard Prints. The reason why I started Instagram again was to keep up with my progress. I continued posting this time and after the third or fourth post, I kept seeing more and more followings coming in. Now at over 40k followers, it’s crazy to look back to the beginning. 

Within your artwork, we tend to see eerie creatures and only black and white color schemes.

Yes, that’s something I’ve always drawn. I always enjoyed cartoons being more offbeat, gross, or dark. Darkness is something far more realistic and something a lot of us can relate to.

The black and white started with my linoleum prints. I would always print with just black because the contrast is way easier on the eyes and looks better to me. I ended up just wanting to stick to creating in black & white. People think that I haven’t ever created in color, but I have, I just think black and white fits better within my whole aesthetic with Junk Yard.


What’s the message you are trying spread with your artwork?

I don’t really have a message I’m trying to portray. My artwork is just a quick fix for people to enjoy in the moment, whether you think its cool or badass, or whatever. I want people to draw their own conclusions from my artwork, rather than I try to tell you some bogus story about each piece.

What’s the purpose of not showing your face?

I just want people to enjoy the artwork. I don’t want people to care or see pictures of me on my Instagram. There’s also a little mysticism about it with people, they don’t see who I am, so they want to know more about me and my art.

Recently you’ve been into drawing hands. Talk about that

I have no idea, haha. I just like the shape of the hand, I like the way it makes me feel. Hands can be creepy and gentle; there are many different variations to it.

You don’t really collab that much, but who are some artists you would like to collab with?

I would like to work with Great White Grizzley (Local Boogeyman), Alex Pardee, Craig Gleason, Sketchy Tank, and Mcbess. I just want to say one thing, it’s not that I don’t want to do collabs, I just don’t want to do collabs with just anyone. Some people enjoy that, but that’s not for me. I’m only looking to collab with people in my realm of artwork.

When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

As an artist, I would like to be remembered as someone who had a distinct style and didn’t want to be the same as everyone else. For those who meet me I would like to be remembered as a good person, but more specifically, I want people to remember me for my artwork.

Written By: Nico Rud