Artist Spotlight: Sakony Burton
By Rocco Falleti, Contributing Writer
For Pittsburgh based graphic designer Sakony Burton, busy would be an understatement.
Burton is a constant collaborator with a number of Pittsburgh based artists creating artwork for
albums, fliers for shows, he designs clothes and recently picked up producing music all while
raising a child of his own.
While he maintains a constant stream of work and collaboration, it all started with putting of
some of the required work being given to him to pursue his passions while he was student at
Rogers School for the Creative and Performing Arts.
“Originally, I wanted to be a photographer, so I just started skipping class to teach myself
photography,” Burton says. “I can’t say I had the technical skills at the time, but I knew how to
draw and paint and had a little graphic design work.”
As an artist, Burton is curious, yet relentless, not shying away from an obstacle that may deter
“I used to some real basic shit for a long time, getting all gassed up,” Burton says. “Once you’re
doing the same things all the time, everything just starts to evolve from there.”
As far as inspirations, Burton was with the work of graphic designer, January Jones (no, not the
girl from Mad Men) and would reach out to him on a normal basis.
“I used to reach out and tell him his shit is super hard but I’m poor and can’t afford it,” Burton
says laughing. “I told him, I’m 16 years old and don’t have a job but I fuck with your stuff.”
The two would remain in contact and Jones would become quickly become a mentor. At the
same time, he was in contact with Noel Bronson whose brand “Pure” was another favorite of
I don’t even know how
While graphic design and photography come second nature to Burton, producing music was
something he never thought would be part of his arsenal.
“One day, I’m at my buddy’s crib and he was working on a project and asked if I wanted to help
produce a track, I’d never done any of that shit before,” Burton says. “I ended up doing some
But that would only begin to peak his interest as his friend would teach him how to chop up
records and load a drum kit on to a track. He may not be J. Dilla yet, but Burton… Or should I
say, EyeRage, has hit the ground running yet again with his latest creative endeavor. The artist
recently put out a beat tape titled, “Killing All My Bad Judgements.”
“I have been diligently trying with this producing stuff,” Burton says. “But I am printing and
shipping all my own clothes, making these beats, photography And I’m a fucking dad on top of
it all… I might fuck around and put out another tape soon.”
Last year, Burton ended up on the west coast during what he refers to as an “extended”
vacation. Though the plan wasn’t to necessarily stay out there forever, Burton worked and hung
around LA for the better part of six months.
“When I got there, I was like alright, I’m going to find a print shop, print some shirts and sell
them on the beach,” Burton says. “But as life goes, it never really did happen.”
That doesn’t go to say that Burton wasn’t keeping busy during his stay. He would link up with
collaborative group allowing him to create cover art and fliers for artists of all kinds throughout
the city and also worked alongside Jones for some photography work.
Though he had some great opportunities, there was something about Los Angeles that just
“In LA, I felt there is sort of a disconnect from people not from there, especially being from the
east coast like myself, I mean, the way they interact and operate completely different,” Burton
says. “I didn’t feel like there was a lot of genuine interactions in LA.”
Burton values his time spent out west and the connections he made, but something just wasn’t
clicking and he packed his bags and headed back to the Steel City.
“I am not saying anything wasn’t original out there, it was all great,” Burton says. “But if all my
source material is going to be based off what is happening and popular now, it’s just going to
Back in the Burgh
Burton releases clothes through his own brand, “Untitled by Sakony.” While he remains a
consistent creative collaborator for artists such as Clarence (designing the majority of his
artwork), Burton has a number of projects on the way that have been in the works for a while.
Being back in Pittsburgh has been a breath of fresh air. The creative scene is something that is
overwhelmingly positive and supportive in this city and allows artists much like Burton to thrive.
“People here are breathing something more organic and original and I am just so thankful to be
around that,” Burton says. “Out west, they played off the sounds being perpetuated. But here
in Pittsburgh, a lot of people are playing off the people around them.”