Nigeria oozes artistic talent, and one of such talents is the Lagos born, Akwa Ibom original, James Ndifreke, an animation artist at heart!
James shares with me how Lagos shaped his journey aas an artist. He says, ‘Growing up here in Lagos has really helped me to develop an artistic sense of approach to my way of making art. It has been a tough one growing up.
On his biggest artistic influences, Ndifreke states, ‘With regard to Nigerian influences, I look at artists in Lagos, the likes of Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, Chigozie Obi and so many up and coming artists. Abroad, I look at artists like Blue The Great, Easy Otabor, lots of them. Sometimes I watch cartoons for inspiration. I look at random artists, up and coming, making comics, minimal artworks.’
On his favourite artistic medium, James Nidfreke specifies the following,
‘I like working with acrylic, on canvas, on walls or any flat surface; mostly black acrylic. I also use oil colours.’
On how he develops his art skills, Ndifreke explains,
‘I develop my art skills from watching cartoons on tv, looking at a cereal box, looking at toys and random figures and I just imagine a world of possibilities looking at these things, and illustrating them.
In terms of art development, I also studied under a couple of artists in Lagos. I had an instructor, Mr Zack and he always made sure I tried to out in the extra work when making any artwork base or sketch or painting.’
James Ndifreke gives a narration of how he finds inspiration,
‘I find inspiration from a lot of stuff. It could be like a tee shirt with designs on it or a sticker, generally my environment and other places I go to just to zone out friends and family.’
On his favourite time of day to paint, he says, ‘My favourite time of the day to paint could start from like say 9am to 5/6 in evening depending on my mood.’
On how art is important to society, Freke expatiates, ‘Art is important to society when you look at the issues affecting people in general. You could make art work to tackle those issues, in terms of protesting, in terms of scandals, so many things be it politics, be it environment in terms of sustainability, architecture, signage etc.’
James Freke gives insight on what motivates him to create, ‘What motivates me to create comes as a result of my history, some of the things in the past that push me to do better and take whatever I am doing to another level.’
James explains much he loves art and how it translates to other areas of his life fondly,
‘My love for art is big. Asides painting, just looking at art in general also reflects on my way of dressing, the things that pique my interest like skateboarding, music, sound, and so much more. Art is beautiful. It has changed the way I look at things around me.’
James Ndifreke defines success as follows:
‘Success as an artist is doing what you love to do, making it sustainable and also creating value out of it.’
James speaks enthusiastically on the Nigerian art industry, ‘The Nigerian art Industry is getting better day by day, in terms of art residencies, art conventions and whatnot. Yearly events like art festivals that bring people from all over the world just to celebrate art are coming up’
James gives tips to up and coming artists,
‘My advice for up and coming artists is:
1. Get it while the getting is good
2. Be humble with your practice
3. Don’t stop working, regardless of the adversity, challenges, criticism, and stuff that comes your way. Just keep at it and brighter things will come.’
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