@Yesterdaynite Is the Artist Behind All Those Atlanta Billboards
This is SEARCH HISTORY, your deep dive into the online habits of our favorite creatures of the internet. From preferred stalking platforms and private browsing habits to the social accounts we should all know about, we slide into the DMs and ask all your burning questions.
As Atlanta reaches its mid-season fever pitch, traces of the FX drama’s quiet absurdity are threading their way into the collective consciousness once again. This is due in part to the work of Alim Smith, the Delaware-based painter who was tapped to create the key art for the third season of Donald Glover’s meandering, surrealist opus. Smith—known to his substantial internet following as @Yesterdaynite—has carved out an online niche for himself in Black meme culture with his experimental, fun house-style portraiture, and is a favorite of heavyweights including Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg. Now, Smith’s portraits of the Atlanta cast can be seen emblazoned on buildings, billboards, and bus stops across the country. To learn more about the 31-year old artist who managed to distill the dream-like eccentricity of the Atlanta universe into a series of oil paintings, we slid into the @Yesterdaynite DMs.
@YESTERDAYNITE: 32, Male, Delaware.
INTERVIEW: What’s the first thinking you do when you wake up?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Look at my phone, unfortunately.
INTERVIEW: Describe your IG presence in one sentence.
@YESTERDAYNITE: Dr. Seuss meets hip-hop.
INTERVIEW: What’s the relationship between memes and portraits for you?
@YESTERDAYNITE: I want all my portraits to look like memes.
INTERVIEW: What were your last three Google searches?
@YESTERDAYNITE: What happened to Will Smith? How long can you go without food? Do we exhale water?
INTERVIEW: How did you find your way into the Atlanta universe?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Via gmail. I decided to give up on pursuing art during lockdown, because I thought the world was about to end. Within a month of that decision, I received an email telling me I was being considered as a possible artist for the show.
INTERVIEW: What was it about your work that you think appealed to Donald?
@YESTERDAYNITE: I think we come from the same tribe of weird.
INTERVIEW: What’s your favorite YouTube rabbit hole?
@YESTERDAYNITE: People vlogging about their relationships.
INTERVIEW: What does your TikTok For You page look like?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Lmao it’s barren. I’ve been thinking of ways to share my process without trivializing it—So many artists post videos of them making work to the same cheesy-ass song lol. I don’t like the commercialization of the process, you weren’t making this piece to that song. I don’t like how much pressure artists feel to package themselves for the algorithm.
INTERVIEW: What’s the best thing that social media does for your practice?
@YesterdayNite: I don’t need to be represented by some fancy gallery, or to have to go to all these random cities to sell work. I can just upload, and people come to me.
INTERVIEW: Where on the internet do you spend the most time?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Probably on YouTube.
INTERVIEW: Describe your most incriminating email/text.
@YESTERDAYNITE: Oh. I texted a lady as I was leaving her house, “20 minutes away. Can’t wait to see you.” I managed to turn it into a joke.
INTERVIEW: What’s an Instagram account everyone should follow?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Mine. Also @Ikeslimster.
INTERVIEW: A website everyone should know about?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Ytroulette.com. A great way to escape the algorithm.
INTERVIEW: Strangest DM you’ve ever received?
@YESTERDAYNITE: This dude from the islands offered me a “free reading,” which I was game for, only to tell me I was cursed lmao. He offered to lift the curse for $1,000.
INTERVIEW: What did you do?
@YESTERDAYNITE: I blocked the hell out of him.
INTERVIEW: Describe your followers in one sentence.
@YESTERDAYNITE: Objectively the coolest.
INTERVIEW: Describe your private browsing persona in three words.
@YESTERDAYNITE: Worldstar hip-hop. lol.
INTERVIEW: Choose one: money or clout.
INTERVIEW: What’s your password?
@YESTERDAYNITE: Almost got me.