15 Apr Graphic Lemons Interview with RO
AL: Tell us about RO?
RO: Basically RO is my kid self-trying to create art differently from when I started.
Well, as kids we make little paintings, drawings and all. Somewhere along the line of the secondary school, I was kind of hindered from making are in most forms (I still secretly made in school by the way ). I went through different fazes of creation and branding (some worse than others), RO was my final step as an artist.
RO was my artistic rebirth by discovering myself as who I am and who I was born to be.
I’m constantly working on expanding my art forms but the real target is to establish my own unique style and visual presence.
AL: Why is art your forte?
RO: Honestly it’s the only expression I have. I write some times, just things from the heart but I don’t feel happy about it. I feel shy about it. Art is the only way I show what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it.
Visual art was the one thing I felt connected to. Writing just feels cliché when I do it, but designing a simple peace about that same write-up/letter makes me feel complete.
I guess what I’m trying to say is visual art is part of me. It is a part of my being and it picked me and me it.
AL: What does art mean to you as a social force for change?
RO: Art is an expression. To me, that expression in different forms can change the way people look at things. For every idea or project I create my art, I allow people see my perception of living and that goes for every other artist. We can use that ability we have to change how things are seen and done and in that, it is a major social force and tool.
AL: How do you balance your life and art as a young African in the new age?
RO: It’s all about pacing. At this point in my life everything is almost about getting through school and when I’m not on that, over summers, I’m working. So I pace myself. Some days I dedicate to just school and some I dedicate to art only.
There’s no perfect balance but one has to try and maintain even the slightest form of a balance.
AL: What do you think about the new age arts scene and how do you identify as “RO” the brand within it?
RO: The new age art scene is actually the only art scene I’ve ever known. When I just started, the only artists I knew were Duks Arts and later on, Duro arts. Right now, the art scene is on fire and it’s just beautiful. There’s no competition just artists being the best they can be, supporting each other. Duks still has one of the heaviest influences in the art scene and it’s really just great.
This New Age art scene is going to be the best ever. We’re really all doing the most. All the styles are different, from illustrators to Digital artists to designers. They’re all amazing. We’re all amazing.
With the likes of Niyi Okeowo, Gabriel Esu, Taiwo Ayodeji, TSE, Kechie The Photographer, Ose, Bensodo, SDQ. I mean the list goes on and on and on!
Honestly, I’m shocked we haven’t all been displayed around the world together, we’re amazing.
The art scene right now is history and the future.
As RO, I always use this tag “The Visualist”. I see the brand as a plug. An art and idea plug. A factory of creations. The brand is a brain child of art driven ideas. Nothing but that.
AL: How would you describe your art style?
RO: Honestly, between you and me, I don’t know. I don’t even believe I have a specific style that can easily be identified. I’ve been told I have a unique style but I don’t know if I believe it. My most recent projects make use of minimalism and glitch art. Also trying to use colours/gradients.
So my art style right now is pretty colourful, wavy(glitchy) and minimal.
AL: How much influence do you feel art has on pushing narratives and cultures forward in our generation?
RO: I’d say it almost influences the most. Narratives are presented perceptions. Art portrays that perception and displays it in the clearest form possible. Today, the culture isn’t about history, it’s about who the people are now and the one true way to move that forward is through the art.
Art is open to interpretation but is also idea driven. The ideas of the people of the culture through their art, move us forward, move the culture forward and move the idea of us as Africans/Nigerians forward because nobody can tell us how to be. We tell the world how we are and it’s through our art.
AL: What impact would you want your art to have in this new age?
RO: Inspiration. Purely inspiration. I want to be to the new age what other artists are to me. I’m inspired by a lot of creators of different creative fields and I want to be to every creator of this new age what they are to me. I want to inspire people to create to the best of their ability. I want my art to speak to my fellow artists and non-artists. RO visual art should encourage, inspire and excite people. Forever. That’s the impact I want my art to have.
AL: What dreams do you have for your craft moving forward?
RO: Growth. I want someday to have a larger set of ideas, much larger spectator/viewer base, larger network. I dream of growing beyond the graphic design & photography discipline and into architecture, but including all of them to create art. I dream of releasing projects in the future that will entail enjoying an experience like galleries and museums. Kind of like virtual reality. I dream of being more than I am now. People change, dreams evolve, directions become different. But right now, that’s my dream, Growth.
AL: is art love?
RO: Not to me, Art is soul and mind in my opinion. Capable of showing love but not love in itself.
AL: How do you navigate your world with the constant challenge of being a creative in a third world nation?
RO: Well, first things first, I don’t even believe I’m in a third world nation because that implies we’re under developed which we really aren’t. I mean, there’s a lot going on and a lot of terrible things happening but after going to different countries you realise that as bad as things are for us, we make a lot of it work. I work my mind to see the positives or the solutions in situations and in thought, I’ve realised that we are in a “Work in Progress” type of state. We have a lot of facilities and means that most nations simply don’t and we also lack a lot of structures and facilities that others do. So, to navigate I tell my self only one truth, I belong to a blessed country with a lot of problems. Problems with solutions. As a creator, I might be able to help solve some of those. How can I help?, by looking for what problems I can solve with my art. It may be selling art and investing in the country with anything I can, it’s something I’ll eventually think about. But, my navigation dictates that I see the positives and build on them.
AL: Anyway way you plan on helping to make sure your art endorses this positive you see?
RO: Yes, but I can’t go into to much detail because it is in the planning faze and I don’t want to spoil it. But I’ve noticed that a lot of the young ones right now are eager to work. Not just for the money but a lot of them/us have the passion. I say us because well, I’m not even in my 20s yet so I’m one of them. Right now, a lot of teens are making music, art, a lot even have a passion for science as little as 10 and want to be doctors and inventors. I mean I wasn’t even that sure of what I wanted at 10. Point is, they’re the ones that will change things. We’re just here to spark the flame. I want to channel their passion. For those in the field I’m studying now that’s computer interested kids. I want to change how they’re taught computer in school. I believe it’s just not right. So aside from being an artist, I want to use the money I make out of it to change their ways of learning computer and from there expand to helping those interested in art stay in tune with their passion for visuals. I really just want to make things better for the ones coming. They’re the positives. They’re energetic and enthusiastic and they don’t see all the bad things happening around us.
AL: Kindly explain your idea and angle for the poster you’d be making for Lucid Lemons?
RO: I’m happy you asked. I completed the idea this morning and I’ll be creating in very soon.
It’s called “within”.
It’s going to be two blending silhouettes of a child in an adult’s body. It portrays myself and how I believe every person is, an inner child making creations in their adult body.
AL: Last words of expression to every dreamer?
RO: No matter how long it takes, no matter who doesn’t believe in you. You can do it.
Raymond Ohikhuare Okhidievbie From Lagos, Nigeria. The Visualist of the New Age shares his views.