Olufemi- Still Black, Still Proud ~ Q&A

Artist: Olufemi

Twitter/IG: @ohlafemi

Age: 17

Sign: Gemini

Craft(s): Painter and Digital Artist


1. When did you realize you were interested in art?
I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember. When I was younger like in middle school I would do these really elaborate doodles and try to sell them. My classmates used them as binder cover designs. However I will say that my interest only recently developed into a resolute passion, about three years ago. During that time was when I fell in love with self expression and the arts. I started painting in early 2014 during my sophomore year of high school. Before that my artwork was limited to my sketchbook.
2. What influences you and where do you get your inspiration?
My work is heavily influenced by social and political issues; the modern condition. Specifically the condition of people of color. I would say the majority of my inspiration is drawn from my own perspective as a black girl raised in a multi-cultural home. I’m a relatively outspoken person but somehow I always feel like I have more to say. I consider my art as an equivalent to a really long rant.
3. Who are your top 5 favorite artists?
Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, Barkley L. Hendricks, Frida Kahlo,and Jenny Saville.
4. If you could work with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
If he was still alive, I would definitely pick Jacob Lawrence.
5. What is your creative process?
My process typically begins with me being pissed off about something. For example, the idea for my first series “Still Black, Still Proud” manifested from my frustration with the way black hair is
always being criticized. When a black girl wears weave she’s “trying to be white”, when she wears her natural hair it’s “inappropriate” and “should be tamed”, and God forbid she has a perm or relaxer because then she’s just “self-hating”. I wanted to tear that stigma to shreds. I started sketching portraits of black women with strong features and synthetic hairstyles. Before I even picked up a paintbrush I spent hours selecting the color scheme for each piece. I’m very particular about my color selections. My preferred media is acrylic on canvas. Each painting took about 3 days to make. Most of the time is spent making sure all the lines and shapes are as clean as possible. It’s annoyingly tedious but I’m a perfectionist.
6. What differentiates you from different artists?
This is a pretty impossible question. I think every artist is different, no two artists are the same. So I can’t tell you how I differentiate from the rest. I mean I could sit here and go on for days about how much harder I work than other artists or how original my work is, but I feel like that’s marginalizing my fellow artists and their craft. So I’ll just answer by saying the fact that I am an artist makes me different from other artists.
7. What impact do you wish to leave with your art?
As simple as it may sound I honestly just want to make people feel something when they see my work. Disgusted, enamored, perplexed, captivated, anything. That’s the whole reason I fell in love with art, because it reminds you to be human. It should  always raise questions and encourage dialogue. That’s my overall objective in everything I create.

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