Futura Reflects on the Future

Published October 29, 2013

ABOVE: FUTURA (RIGHT) AND RAMONA RING PROMOTING DANCE (RED) SAVES LIVES, VOL 2. AT THE APPLE STORE IN OCTOBER

“Music has always been a part of my life, from Frank Sinatra to Kendrick Lamar,” says iconic graffiti artist Futura. Though he is admittedly not well versed in the world of EDM, the artist is lending his streetwise aesthetic to the cover of the forthcoming Dance (RED) Save Lives, Vol. 2 album, a dance music compilation whose proceeds benefit the Bono-founded (RED) foundation. With the support of Adobe, the album cover will also be a breakthrough moment for Hamburg based design student Ramona Ring, who was chosen from hundreds of submissions to collaborate with Futura on the project.

Last year’s Dance (RED) Save Lives album was curated by EDM superstar Tiësto and reached Number One on the iTunes dance charts in over 33 countries, raising thousands for the fight against aids in Africa. “Sadly, a lot of my friends have died of that disease,” says Futura, the most notable of whom was Keith Haring. “Keith was enormously supportive of his friends; I learned a lot from Keith,” he says.

As his name suggests, Futura has been one step ahead of the game since he got his start tagging New York subway cars in the ’70s. For him, the greatest joy in this project is the opportunity to mentor Ring, an artist who he believes has a bright, ahem, future. “I’m a byproduct of people being kind and opening doors for me and this is that too,” says Futura. “Back then I was insecure and less talented. Unlike myself, Ramona arrives very much prepared.” Ring’s poetic illustrations have already earned her recognition in the design community; however, the mentorship of Futura has already had a significant impact on the soft-spoken artist. “I’m just very happy about how supportive he is,” Ring says. “It makes me a lot more confident about my work.”

The album came out this week, but true to form Futura is already looking ahead. “The shit I’m going to get involved in, it’s down the line,” he says. “For now it’s all about Ramona and (RED).”

DANCE (RED) SAVES LIVES, VOL 2. IS OUT NOW AND AVAILABLE VIA iTUNES.