Today, we have Ken Nwadiogbu in the house, Nigeria most talked about visual artist. Ken who specializes in 3D hyper-realistic drawings done on paper, creating pictures and portraits has been featured on wikipedia.
According to Wikipedia, “Kenechukwu Emmanuel Nwadiogbu (born 1994) is a Nigerian-born visual artist best known for his hyper-realistic drawings And works on paper and canvas, inspired by gender equality, African culture and black power. Ken’s course is to pursue freedom of expression and beliefs and to promote the voices of those rather unheard.”
Ken in a virtual session with Entrepreneur Nigeria, We got to know that Ken Nwadiogbu is the CEO of Artland Contemporary Ltd, involved with the creation of platforms to bring light to other young artists around Nigeria, and co-founded one of the biggest gatherings of Nigerian artists called Artists Connect NG.
Below is is our session and all you need to know about Ken Nwadiogbu.
Interview and Biography of Ken Nwadiogbu
- Can you please introduce yourself to us? Who is Ken Nwadiogbu?
My name is Ken Nwadiogbu (born Kenechukwu Emmanuel Nwadiogbu). I am a 23year old Nigerian Visual Artist working primarily around hyper-realistic drawings and inspired by Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power. One interesting thing about me is that I never went to an art school, neither did I get any formal art training whatsoever. I create large-very-real-like drawings with just a pencil on paper (tho it takes a lot of time).
- You have a great skill of art and seen as one of the best In recent times, How did all this come about?
We all have this drive to become something great. Something beyond where we imagine our hands can reach. I took that drive and I decided to make it a reality. To be better, great, and be a mantle of inspiration. How it all manifested is still surreal to me; but I know, I had sleepless nights, a daring spirit, countless hours of practice, patience, persistence, perseverance, and a God factor.
- Are you enterprising with this skill? Have you ventured into any startup with this perfect skill of yours?
Indeed, my art’s course is to pursue freedom, of expression and belief; and to promote the voices of those rather unheard. I founded a company called Artland Contemporary Ltd, involved with the creation of platforms to bring light to other young artists around Nigeria, and co-founded one of the biggest gatherings of Nigerian artists called Artists Connect NG. Asides these businesses, my art has always been a source of fulfillment for me, a source of income, and a source way of living.
- What would you consider as your biggest challenge in the journey so far as an artist?
As a visual artist who did not pass through any art institution, it takes even more effort to enter into the art world; because nobody knows who you are- no one can testify for you. So there’s this extra force I had to build before I could be valued in the art world. Secondly, the lack/scarcity of materials here in Nigeria is a pain. I work on really large sheets of Archival acid-free paper, hence, it’s difficult to find any of that here. Lastly is the PR in the art community; there’s not so much attention ‘media-wise’. Bloggers and media outlets are more concerned with music that they do not regard visual artists as celebrities.
- You’ve been on some exhibitions before, Tell us about them, your role and how long have you been in arts.
Yes, I have. I’ve been part of some group exhibitions here in Nigeria and abroad. It’s always fulfilling to see people get wowed by my pieces. I enjoy speaking about them a lot because every work I have created have one meaning or the other. People get touched a lot when they get to hear the deeper meaning behind each piece. Sometimes you’ll have to tell or remind them it’s done with pencil and then I get another WOW. It’s interesting really and very very inspiring.
- Do you have plans of exporting your skills outside Nigeria or training other aspiring artists to the economic development of the country? Please tell us.
Yes, I’m definitely looking on showcasing my art outside of Nigeria. I have a broad theme, and I believe not only Nigerians can relate to them. I also train young artists and bring them together in one place (either on social media or physically) so there can be exchange of ideas.
- Have you ever been involved in any other startup? If yes, can you tell us about it and it’s success record so far?
I’m currently involved with a merchandising company to create shirts and hats that have a bit of art fused in it. It’s a startup, so it’s not been made public yet. Putting my hands into so many things can be destructive, so I believe the few I’m involved with is enough for me to create a change in the society and the world at large.
- Your skills is getting people’s attention, what is the next big thing to expect from your brand?
A SOLO EXHIBITION! Watch out for that.
- With your level of expertise so far in freehand drawing, what do you think are the things that will make upcoming visual artists and people who find themselves in your niche not to see the limelight?
One thing is laziness. It’s okay to have fun atimes, but if they want to see the limelight, they need to work and work. I’m the most hard working persons I know – they need to say that about themselves too.
Then they need to be active on social media. There are very few media outlets out there that care about art. “Very very few”. Medias nowadays just want gossips and to show what celebrities are up to. So visual artists tend to become their own media outlet. Always online, trying hashtags and posting regularly. I remember when I started, I had a page in every social media platform, every one of them. So young visual artists should be ready to push themselves forward.
- What are your goals for the next 5 to 10 years?
Basquiat made it at 25, I want to surpass his at 24. It’s one thing creating artworks that speak about change, it’s another thing having people see that work and get inspired to become that change. So a larger audience will be perfect in the next 5 years. I want the world to listen to my art. Every piece of work I create, I want them to watch, hear, see. And not just see, to be influenced by it. I want my art to become stronger than a piece of decoration.
- Got some advice for Entrepreneur Nigeria community on having their careers on visual arts?
Just start! That’s the first thing. Once you start, don’t stop. Keep working. Patience, Persistence, Practice, and the God factor.
- Any contact/platform you would want people to reach you with? Please share with us.
It’s our pleasure having you on Entrepreneur Nigeria sir. Thanks for coming around.
Ken Nwadiogbu will cover our April Magazine edition where others inspiring articles are shared. Read our Aprile Edition here.