Visual artists ruled the social space in past times. The emotions they evoke with their work and the things they immortalized. Visual artistes are no less powerful today and Radr sat with visual artist and writer, Anthony Azekwoh to chat about creating art and much more.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m an artist and writer and I work from Lagos.
So when did you get into creating visual art pieces?
About 4 years ago, 2016.
Ah interesting. Your paintings have a haunting quality, they stay with you for a while even when you stop looking at them. How do you create this effect in your art? Is it intentional?
Honestly? I genuinely have zero idea how that happens. The Red Man is possibly my most confusing painting where I saw it properly for the first time last week and I said, “F***, that’s terrifying.” Six months and it only just dawned on me.
Do you usually know where an art piece is going or do you just follow the idea where it goes?
And, it really just depends. I have an initial idea in my head but I don’t tie myself down to it. It’s like a first plan that always dissolved when you engage whatever is in front of you. When that happens, you learn to pivot and shift.
Spoken like a true artist. whats your favorite medium to work with?
Digital. It’s faster and more convenient for me. No drying or prep time, and no horrible smells.
Lmao are you shading oil paints right now?
Seeing that he had already lost, oil paint was the devil’s last revenge against mankind. Lol, I love the textures and feel of it with my life, but the smell is just too much.
Do you think we as Nigerians need to reevaluate the way we consume art?
Yes. And I feel like that’s happening now with different artists coming up and bringing their own perspectives into it. I think the idea of “art” in the Nigerian sphere needs to expand.
Also, do you think creative arts need to be more emphasized in early education ?
Yes. I also think early education should be taught more creatively. It’s why I don’t really like being called a “creative”. It forces this separation and implies that there are “non-creatives”. But I don’t think that’s true. Every field is creative, you know? When a doctor decides to cut this vein and not that or a whole other procedure, they’re being creative. When a lawyer decides to use this phrase instead of that to win the case, they’re being creative. I think that while creative arts definitely need to be given a higher focus in our education, our education also needs to be revamped to accommodate the complex people participating in them.
what areas do you think this idea of art should expand to?
Every area, I think. I feel like every field in human endeavour is in some form an expression of who we are, and so, a form of art.
Any words for the people who want to start creating art?
Just start, I guess. There’s always going to be something missing, some new piece of equipment you don’t have. But all of that is a distraction. Wherever you are now is the best place to start. And then, good honest work, I think, is the best way to go. Clout and buzz is fine, for sure. But good work will make sure you stick around when everything dies.
Thank you so much for talking with me.
Thank you! It was fun.