As Hyper-realism becomes more prominent in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, we have witnessed contemporary hyper-realists emerge, thereby creating and displaying innovative and spectacular artworks within the artistic space.
With Visual artists getting more support and deserved accolades, the Nigerian Visual art scene is boastful of talents blossoming from the regions of the country.
What is Art to you?
Art to me is a visual representation that starts a conversation, Art is way more than an aesthetic beauty, it has to portray a strong message that people can relate to.
What kind of message
do you intend passing across to anyone who comes across your art? Or what kind
of message do you feel your artwork passes across to an average art lover that
comes across it?
I want people to see my art and re-evaluate their lives and society and the world at large, I am opportune to see and witness so many things going on around the world, the idea that I can create Art-works around this socio-political impact in our society in different locations, the opportunity to be able to perceive how the world is, to re-evaluate people’s ideology, either to make it stronger, or different if wrong. My work starts a conversation that help people understand life, socially and politically.
How early did you discover your passion for Art?
Six years ago, I met a guy in University of Lagos, he was drawing the former VC of UNILAG, It was astonishing, I fell in love with Art immediately, i started learning and perfecting, then I became obsessed, my obsession then grew to total and absolute love for Art.
Can you say the people around you are supportive of your passion?
At first it was hard for friends and family to accept, because Art in Nigeria is not as recognized and appreciated as Law, Engineering and all others, but with time it grew and me showing people how lucrative it was and using my works to start conversations that have changed people’s lives, then family and friends became supportive of my art.
In your opinion what is the current situation of the art business in Nigeria compared to when you were much younger?
When I was much younger I did not know anything about art, it was when I started creating Art I got to understand there are Art galleries, Art collectors etc.
Today in Nigeria you can see that even people that are not even art inclined know about art, from the innovations of ARTX Lagos, to some galleries like RETRO AFRICA who are social media conscious, people that advertise on social media and push their galleries out there to the public, now there is growing presence in the Art world here in Nigeria but we are not there yet.
What inspires the uniqueness in your art?
The uniqueness in my art is inspired by the idea that i want to break out of the norm, society and issues. To also create a bigger narrative for people to understand and be inspired about creating works that represent a breakthrough, like my figurative three dimensional hyper realism, which is creating three dimensional object on a two dimensional surface so the object looks so real and at the same time making the paper look torn that people are almost bursting out of the paper, or are sort of caged behind the silhouette of the paper.
Tell us about the first piece of art you made.
The first piece I drew was of a lady I liked, trying to woo her, trying to get her to like me, her name was Tofunmi, she was a model, I created a masterpiece that expressed how I felt about her and it was beautiful, I took it to her house, she loved it but still did not agree to go out with me so I took it back. And yes I still have it till date.
If you were given the power to bring one art legend back to life who would that
be and why?
Ben Enwonwu, he is one of my biggest inspirations, not because of the kind of art he created but because of the kind of stories he tells through his pieces, he expresses Africanism in a very interesting manner.
What is the longest time you have used on one of your pieces?
The Witnesses, I used about 2 months to create that piece, because it had to do with 30 different eyes, and the 30 different eyes were perfectly picked by me, I had to travel around Nigeria to get pictures of eyes from friends that I needed to portray in the piece.
Do you have any piece of art that is priceless, which you feel you can never sell?
I think all my Pieces of art are priceless, I wish I could never sell any of my works but the beauty of Art is, it has to be seen, understood, perceived, owned and it has to be shown around the world considering that is the beauty of creating art. If it does not tour the world then who am I doing the art for, the conversations that burst out of the tours is what makes art really tangible and interesting and the experiences really amazing.
Considering how much influence emotions has over creating art, which of the emotions will you say drives you the most to create your Art?
The government, the people, the youths of the world lead me into creating art, also cultures, history, people’s experiences, having friends tell me what they go through, these are things that inspire me, my works are created to tell a story because I have something to say that I feel people all around the world can relate to.
Did you at any point in your life study Visual Art asides the basic fine art in
primary and secondary school?
No, I did not at any point study visual Art.
How do you know when it is time to pick up your pen or brush to start creating?
Every day I wake up, the moment you believe Art is just about the money you will not want to create art, but when you know art has to be created because you need to tell people different things, then every time you wake up you pick up your pencil to create art, because then you are not just doing it because you feel like doing it but to change the world.
Also how do you know when a piece is complete and ready to be shown to the world?
You do not know, you just feel it is complete, there is no actual meter that says “it is complete” you just feel it and you just know it is finished.
Have you always known you were going to become a visual Artist?
No, I never thought I was going to be a visual artist. When I was younger it was engineering for me.
What is your take on the increased appreciation and attention African Visual Artist are now getting?
It is amazing, African Visual artists have the best minds in the world, they are amazing, great and talented and it’s only about time the world notices that, it’s an awesome thing that has happened to African Visual artist and we can only hope for the best.
What colour do you feel you connect with the most and why?
I connect with blue, because blue is calm and soothing.
Second Image photographed by: @30.12photography