“These are really lovely”! My first thoughts when Mr Onaolapo sent me a couple of his art works following our prior discussions as it concerned his interview. They truly are lovely.
He is a builder and an artist. I have had one or two earlier interactions with Mr Onaolapo (in completely different capacities) and boy can we miss out on the good stuff when we do not pay close attention, especially to people. I am only glad now that i have and without further ado, i’l be happy to share my interview with him, as well his works, on JW’s premier Guest feature.
Going through your social media handle, your Bio reads ‘#Builder #Artist’ can you tell me more about that?
“I attained a B-Tech Building at the Federal University of Technology Minna and I’m also a practicing visual artist.”
So I am quite curious to know though, when did your passion for art kick-off, was it something you also studied or a talent you nurtured over time?
“I’ve been passionate about art as long as I can remember. I can still recall my elementary school days when I did draw my own comic books and sold them to fellow pupils for money. Though a very small amount, I still felt fulfilled earning from something I love doing. I never had a formal education in art nor had I ever been an apprentice to any artist. My art developed over time by practice, will and unrelenting passion.”
What or who were/are your major influences?
My art has been greatly influenced by a few number of artist. Some I know personally, others from afar and through their works. Kelvin Okafor, Dino Devic, Fabio desenhos, Peter Agboro and Kolapo Obadiah.”
Is there a category of art you will say you fall into and if, which?
“I am a visual artist that majors in Charcoal, oil and acrylic paintings. My art falls under the drawing and painting category.”
What inspires your art most?
“What inspires my art the most is my environment. I get inspired by activities going on around me. The struggle and also, the merriment of the Nigerian lifestyle.”
I am not so sure if this is a general conception though but, for me, there are certain moods or emotions that ginger my creativity in terms of writing and seeing as this is all one big body under art, do you have those moments or moods when your creative tendencies are on a high scale?
“I think my creativity is best when I’m in a calm and balanced state. Though some argue that my best comes out when I’m challenged.”
Do you have artists you would love to work with or basically just model after?
“I’d love to work with Kelvin Okafor. Hopefully, exhibit with him someday.”
As an artist I can only imagine how many of your art works you love or tell a deep story, but are there any you are most attached to?
“Yes. I think I’m attached to most of my works. It’s always hard to let them go when they are being sold because it feels like I’m losing a part of me. Though there’s a particular one that’s not for sale and that’s the first oil painting I ever did.”
Do you have favorite art works produced by other artist too and if you do, what are your top 4?
“My top 4 from other artist would be *Monalisa by Leonardo Davinci. *Mother Teresa by Kelvin Okafor *Jasmine Interlude by Kelvin Okafor and *Lenny Kravitz by Dino devic.”
As an artist how has the feedback/response towards your art been so far?
“The response has been great. People really appreciate the skill, talent and emotions I display in my works and I can only be grateful to God for that.”
Let’s talk about support a bit. We are in that part of the world where not so long back, certain professions were praised. White collar jobs such as law, medicine, banking etc, equaled ‘Serious pikin’, while creative art was a pass time thing. Did you ever get this vibe from your family or has it been support all the way?
“No it hasn’t been support all the way. My family appreciates my talent but they are mostly fearful of the part of the world in which I’m practicing. They feel art is not really recognized in Nigeria, thereby making it more difficult for an artist to be very successful here. But things are getting better with my progress.”
What would you say is your greatest fear in your capacity as an artist?
“My greatest fear as an artist is being unknown. I want to be a household name when it comes to art.”
What is the bigger picture for you as an artist? Where do you see yourself years from now?
“In a few years from now id want my art to be displayed all over the world. Exhibiting in different countries thereby, creating an easier means to spread my message.”
Are you an introvert, secluded from the world type of artist (lol)?
“Yes. I could be a bit introverted mostly when I’m drawing or painting. I like to be alone with music playing in the background. But at the same time I go out when I need to, Hangout and meet prospective clients because in the creative line of work publicity plays a big role in your success. People need to see what your talent is.”
What do you do for fun?
“Apart from the obvious, I like playing my guitar, swimming if the weather is warm, working out and lastly hanging out with friends.”
If you had to paint a pictorial message for the whole world to see, what would it be?
“It would be a painting that depicts people from all parts of the world living in peace.”
What message do you have for creative’s like you and I, still hiding behind their potentials?
“Talent is not meant to be hidden or caged. Let it loose and let the world appreciate you for something you derive pleasure in doing. God gave it to you for a reason.”
Here are some of His amazing pieces!
It’s amazing what appreciating your gift and understanding who you are as a person will produce and i love the last peace #Hidden gem – Only those who are willing to work with dirt on their hand will discover the hidden gems lying beneath.