29 Jan ART STUDENTS – FAVOUR J
Tell us about your background.
Favour J: I am from in Benin city Edo state. I’m currently studying Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.
What drew you to pursue an art degree?
FJ: I’ve always been doing art. I’m the type of person that goes with the flow, and it’s always been art. I’m from Edo state, where we are surrounded by a lot of art, everywhere is filled with art. Everyone is creative. It’s not something you can escape, it’s within the culture. So, I’ve been doing things that are related to art and my culture.
Do you have any fears it won’t be viable financially?
FJ: I didn’t really think about it. When you start thinking about disappointments that’s when they happen. I’m aspiring to be a great artist everyone knows and is splashing money at. I’m just doing me. I’m not doing it for the money. I give you genuine things in my art. It’s all about me discovering things about myself, and then putting it out to the world and so others can relate, ‘oh yeah I’m going through that as well’ or ‘I understand this, I can relate’ that’s literally what I want. If someone comes up to me asking how much are you selling this, I just tell them I didn’t really do it to be sold I was just trying to express something, but if you want to buy it go ahead. If I can inspire a few people on the way, that’s calm.
Do you think there is a stigma around pursuing an art degree in the Afro-Caribbean society?
FJ: Nigerian’s are supportive, but I feel that they are not open-minded yet to see creative jobs as viable. They accept it and will look through for how much money you can gain. When I look at people’s artwork I tend to look for the meaning behind it, what they’ve been reading, the research, their political views.
My cousin mentioned that he wants to become a chef and everyone started laughing at him. Those types of things they don’t really see as a job. They see it as anyone can do art, but a real job that gets you guaranteed money is being a doctor or a lawyer because that’s what they see. I think that’s the mentality of most Nigerians that I don’t like because everyone has the mentality that money comes from jobs like the ones I mentioned. I have nothing against doctors and lawyers, but you can also make a difference by doing creative things be it art, music, dance or performance. Some people see it as being viable, so I wouldn’t want to generalise and say Africans.
What’s a piece of yours you are proud of?
FJ: A Statement of pride. I usually change my hair a lot and so I thought I’d just document it. Someone saw it and thought it was amazing and it became a thing. It wasn’t meant to be work but just a documentation of myself. It spoke to a lot of people. It was just me living my life and thinking yeah this is what we do and this is something people should appreciate – the versatility of black women’s hair – if you see me one day with blonde hair and the next with something else don’t be shocked. We can be versatile. We can pull off any look and still be beautiful and strong. It goes down to getting jobs with people saying you can’t wear locks to a workplace you have to have your hair tamed. I was like no, my hair is versatile. Not everyone’s hair can be tamed, it can be uncontrollably powerful, stylish and beautiful. As long as I’m happy with the way I look I don’t think you have an opinion to say my hair is stopping me from doing my work.
What would you say to someone who is considering pursuing an art degree but is afraid?
FJ: With the art world, you have to be yourself. There are people who study art and quit halfway through because it’s not really what they want. There is a difference between liking an art and being an artist. Every single part of your life will be dedicated to it. So, if you know it’s not you don’t pursue it. I went for it because it’s what I love, it’s what I live. If it makes you happy then pursue it.
Here are some of Favour’s pieces: