Despite studying Business Administration and without previous art experience, Adeniyi Damilola decided to become a full-time photo-realistic artist in 2016. Nowadays, his project revolves around projecting the beauty of hidden personalities and ideology. Through the years his focus changed from drawing the most realistic paintings to creating ideas and concepts that set a mood for his works and feelings for his viewers. Continue reading to discover all that he told us about his artistic path.
AWORANKA: Despite your background in Business Administration you decided to focus on art full time. What was the motivation behind this decision?
ADENIYI DAMILOLA: From the point I decided to place my focus into art full time until now, it has been a series of intriguing experiences; even though I did not have the advanced art skills from school, the drive to know kept on pushing me and I started to improve my skills gradually. So many things have occurred during this time frame. I learned a lot of lessons not just in skill development but in life generally. It wasn’t a completely smooth journey but it was worth going through because art as a lifestyle inspires me to become a better version of myself and also, it gives me the satisfaction of watching people react to the works I create. That feeling is invaluable. To me art is my life. Before I tried to be someone else to please other people but I realized at some point that we need to take charge of our own life and experience it to the fullest without trying to suit into what the society thinks is best for us. This experience has helped me evolve as a person and I am glad and thankful that I made that decision.
Every day I think of taking my art to the next level because I see myself as a voice for stories untold and I choose to speak them with my eccentric art styles. I say it has been a great experience because, with the influence of my body art techniques, I have been able to work with many diverse organizations both locally and internationally and gotten a lot of outdoor experiences too. It has been an amazing journey.
"What catches my attention is what people go through
especially in the uniqueness of the African culture in
AWORANKA: What are the major challenges that you had to overcome switching from a full time 9-5 job to full time art career?
ADENIYI DAMILOLA: There are a lot of day to day challenges that one faces as an artist, especially because you are trying to reach a wider audience daily. The challenges keep me on my toes and push me to become better. When I chose to switch from the always frustrating 9-5 job, it was a challenge because at the point I made that decision, I had already worked in a few telecommunications organizations and real estate firms. It wasn’t an easy task to move from a secured paid job to a self-employed franchise with no customer and no major client base.
Over time after and after had constant work I started picking the interest of close friends, relatives and gradually, I start doing commissions. I would add that my major aim at this point was painting the most photo-realistic paintings because I started seeing works of some contemporary artists that picked my interest. One of the major challenges I faced was financial stability because at these point I wasn’t even a known artist.
Another major problem was to value the works. Most of the people I came in contact with at the early stages of my career wanted cheap art. The more I grew in art, the more my clientele grew and gradually I was able to find a balance between demand and supply.
Last major challenge was to find the right buyers and collectors for my works as well as to be able to exhibit the works to a proper audience. A lot of people are looking to exploit young artists and most times you don’t get value for your work. This is a major issue for Nigeria artists. I found that the only way I can be noticed is creating unique works.
AWORANKA: You seem to have interest in sociological and psychological theories, how do explore those concepts? In which way do they influence your art?
ADENIYI DAMILOLA: Our society is a very complex place. Many events have occurred and are still occurring and those are many stories to be told. Whether it’s a personal story or a collective event I feel inspired to share it through my art.
What catches my attention is what people go through especially in the uniqueness of the African culture in modern society. I see my works as conceptual works because they are mostly coined from a thought or an idea and I bring these ideas to life with my paintings. I also try to use resources that one might not normally see together to portray my message in my illustrations.
Over time my art has evolved from a place where I was focused and concern about drawing or painting the most realistic artworks to a place where concepts have taken over the artwork itself. A true artist should be able to challenge himself and create from his mind.
My objective is to try to see beyond the obvious in creating my works but also to be mindful of my delivery. Present societal occurrences are a big influence in my illustrations.
Discover the life and insights of many more African artists in Aworanka's Interview section: