Hyper realism paintings and sculpting create a new sense of reality that acts as a convincing illusion. Hence, it brings to the Artistic scene an embellishing, heightened sense of reality depicted on canvass or paper with acrylic paints, paint brushes, charcoal, to mention a few.
The finalized product of hyper realists often questions our perceptions of reality as it explores the limits of mankind’s conceptualization.
According to Lagos based, Nigerian Hyper realist, Ken Nwadiogbu, his Art is driven towards inspiring and creating change whilst depicting issues relating to African migration, inadequate governance, news and issues relating to Black people, as well as feminism.
“When I began practicing Art, my inspiration came from issues relating to my peers and those around me. Now, I am inspired by recent happenings in the Society. The philosophy that drives my work is simple, I want to inspire and create change everywhere my work is presented. I don’t just want to make works for the sake of it, if you look closely at each piece, I am always trying to say something.
“I am always inspired by issues of those surrounding me and as well as recent happenings in the news. I conceptualize ideas for my work this way and then I pen down the idea and then I start to draw. It sounds really simple, but it is quite complicated, especially in the detailing of each work. It often takes hours just to achieve a particular detail; and, I must admit, I am always happy with the result.”
The 2019 winner of the Future Award Africa which celebrates young people between the ages of 18 to 31 that have made outstanding achievements during the year under consideration, also describes his type of Art as ‘Contemporary-realism’ considering how it is largely centred on the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary Art, during an interview with theparakeetshow.com.
How would you describe your creative approach towards creating your Art pieces?
Well, I have always experimented with my work. I had no formal training whatsoever but regarding mixed media, I started experimenting a few years ago. I wanted and still want to create works that go beyond hyper-realism. I believe with mixed media, I can pass on my message further.
I describe my style of art as ‘Contemporary-realism ’ and it is largely centred on the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary Art. It is a welcome deviation from the traditional hyper-realism movement. My work has since evolved from hyper-realism, as I infuse elements from contemporary art in to my work; hence, Contemporary-realism.
These techniques were horned through hours of research and exploration. For instance in my newest body of work titled Headline Series, I knew I wanted to pass on a message about the corrupt news systems in the world. I initially planned to draw the newspaper but I soon realized that it was unauthentic and may water down my message, hence, I decided to use real Nigerian newspapers, paint and charcoal. Each piece (newspaper) depicts an image of a palm trying to break free from behind a tight plastic bag. This represents a metaphor of the society trying to break free from its oppressors. Each piece is a deliberate attempt by the artist to bring to the consciousness of everyone, the corrupt news systems around the world.
How would you say your Art has been able influence the society?
My Art is a reflection of my society. Through it, I challenge socio-political issues affecting Nigerians, Africans and Black people in diaspora, with the hope of making a change. I create art because I want to inspire people and shape the society, positively, which is why I created works that spotlight issues of Nigerians as in the case of series like ‘King’s Diary’ (2018), ‘Eye Witness’ (2018), ‘The Bad Mentality’ (2018) and ‘The Truth’ (2019).
Beyond the canvas, I am a strong believer in empowering the younger generation. I have taught art and inspired students in Nigerian schools like British International School, Harris Academy South Norwood London, Topgrade Secondary School, and many more. I have also spoken at platforms like TEDX and Child’s Play. My intention is to inspire and encourage young Nigerian creatives, especially with the lack of support in the art industry.
What area of your work or personal development are you working on exploring further?
My Art continues to evolve. I certainly would be exploring it further by experimenting and continuous research.
How would you describe the future of Art on a global scale?
Not to be pompous but, I believe it will be ‘Contemporary-realism’. Because It is largely centred around the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary art and it is a welcome deviation from the traditional hyper-realism movement. My work has since evolved from hyper-realism, as I infuse elements from contemporary art into my work, hence, “Contemporary-realism.
I think art enthusiasts and collectors are slowly beginning to take notice. For sure, it will change the perception of hyper-realism and how such works are viewed.
Thus far, what has been your biggest career moment?
So far, my biggest career moment has been presenting my works at my debut solo show ‘Contemporealism’ at Brick Lane Gallery, London last year. I must say, it was dream come true.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I would say: Art Supplies: any artist living and working in Nigeria realizes the high cost of purchasing Art supplies locally or even importing, as you would have to clear with customs at the border. In order to overcome this, I have focused on the use of locally made materials and materials I can find in my surroundings.
Also, visibility: In the past, I struggled with visibility, not for myself, but for my Art. It is not news that the Art world is not a famous industry. Thus, one of my goals is to make it as big as the music or fashion industry. It is also important to me that as many people as possible see the Art I have created, that way, I am able to influence positive change one Artwork at a time. In order to increase visibility, I set up a small public relations team, that publicizes my latest body of works to new and broader audiences.
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my team, they inspire to be better and to continuously seek ways of bettering myself and my art. I believe no man is an island, you cannot do it alone, especially in Art and I also believe there is strength in numbers.