Meet Jacob Polhill: A Young Creative Whose Art Imitates Life

We got to interview Jacob Polhill. An upcoming artist from Rockford, Illinois. From designing clothes to creating art; meet the inspiring artist that has a deep passion for his craft.

Who are you and where are you from?

Jacob Polhill. I’m an artist, fake clothing designer, and studying to become an Industrial Designer at UIC. I’m from Rockford, Illinois. Which is about 2 hours west of Chicago. I moved out to Chicago about a year ago to look for more opportunities with my art.

What got you interested in art?

I’ve always liked making things. Growing up, I wasn’t really into superheroes and stuff like that. I really looked up to music artists. I remember seeing Kanye West’s music video for “Stronger” for the first time when I was like 8 years old and I was hooked. It was the first song I ever actually bought. Seeing the album cover, the visuals, the sounds of the music, I was like woah this is really tight.

How would you describe your art style? 

That’s hard cause it changes. I’ve been told recently my work looks “bubbly”. Right now my works been centered around my character “Lil Doody” and he’s a reflection of what I’m thinking, feeling. and also everything I’m observing around me. I get bored if I have to do the same thing over and over. I like to say my style is constantly evolving.

Do you remember the first art piece you ever sold? 

Not really. I remember my first big commission piece I did though. It was for a large factory in Rockford that made screws for Honda. We had like 3 separate meetings. I had to show them a portfolio and sketches and they ended up wanting an abstract piece. Like something with a bunch of colors splattered all over the place but it looks cool. They paid for all the materials and wrote me a check for $300. I was a senior in high school at the time so this was a really big deal for me. At the time I had no direction of what I wanted to do with my life after school. I had just started taking my artwork seriously and then I did this commission it was like really surreal. I remember walking out of there with the check and crying for almost 10 minutes in my car because I was so happy. I never would have thought throwing paint on a canvas would have gotten me that kind of money at the time. Not being an 18 year old kid who really didn’t know what they were doing.

Were you interested in another profession before becoming an artist?

At one time I was supposed to study at University of Iowa to be a Physicians Assistant. That’s still crazy for me to think about. I ended up not going and decided to go to community college to figure out what I wanted before making the huge investment for school. My great grandma had passed away my senior year of high school, she was my best friend. She kind of had the feeling I didn’t want that career path and I was doing it to please my mom. You know how that is. She had passed away in October of my senior year and left me a card for when I graduate. I opened it right after I graduated and it said “All I wish is you follow your dreams” and that’s when I realized that I was making all the right moves. I didn’t even know I wanted to do art at the time. I just knew whenever I found that thing I was going to run with it forever.

Coming from Rockford did you follow Virgil Abloh before the hype got around him?

I’m glad you acknowledge the fact that he’s from Rockford and not Chicago, that’s awesome. Yeah a little I mean not like all the way back to Been Trill, but I think it was like 2015/2016 when I got put on to Virgil. I didn’t get into fashion shit until then. Virgil is incredible though. I think a lot of time the hype around him almost takes away how amazing the things he’s done is. I feel like a lot of people just think it’s another hypebeast trend. Personally, I believe he’s breaking down all the barriers that hold creatives back. He’s showing us you don’t have to be a master and you don’t have to be just one thing. That’s what I enjoy most about Virgil.

Who are some of the creatives that influence you today? 

There’s a lot and it changes. Kanye, Tyler the Creator, Pharrell, Hebru Brantley, KAWS, Steve Jobs, Virgil, my college professors of course, the universe, oh and definitely Young Thug. Young Thug is the greatest. We have to protect him at all costs, but seriously I could list 100 people if I tried. I like to pick pieces of my favorites, and mash that all into one and create my own work. It’s almost like cooking the best meal ever with my favorite ingredients. That’s how I feel like you create from influence and not just copy.

Where do you see your career going in the future?

Wherever I want it to go. I’m trying to put art on walls, design the couches you sit on, make the clothes you wear, and just create a better human experience. Life is just one big user experience to me. We can definitely make it better with good art and design. That’s why it exists in my opinion. To propel us forward.

In your opinion who has dropped the best album/project this year?

Past year? Dude shit I don’t know man. That’s hard. I go back to Saba’s Care For Me a lot, but Astroworld was amazing. I also want to take this opportunity to say the Drake album wasn’t good at all. The new Thugger project was amazing too, but I’ll probably say Astroworld.

What are some of your favorite underground clothing brands?

Depends what you consider underground. I don’t really spend a lot of money on clothes because art supplies are expensive. I like Braindead and Stray Rats right now a lot though. Their graphics are really amazing.

Where can people follow you and see your work?

I am @jacob_polhill on all social media platforms and I do not have a website yet because I’m unprofessional as fuck.