The Colour of Water
Amatoritsero Ede: We are excited to have you on MTLS as the very first guest for 2017. This is because your breath-taking work will set the tone for the rest of the year. First, could you tell our audience a little bit about your background as an artist – where and how long you trained and which artist were your influences.
Olumide Oresegun: I was born in Lagos state Nigeria and my parents noticed my passion too early at the age of four. Then my mom took responsibility to nurture my passion by providing necessary drawings book and pencil so I don’t draw on all my notes. As I develop interest in it lead me to study Fine Art at Yaba College of Technology and I was influenced by some practicing lecturers and I couldn’t look back since I graduated from the school.
A.E.: How would you describe your technical style? There is a Canadian Artist, Daniel Richards, who was featured on MTLS issue #13 in 2013. His work has the same kind of arresting realism as yours. How do you achieve such a breath-taking life-like quality in your figure paintings?
O.O.: My style is called hyper-classical realism. My technique is as process of laying value of color side by side and on top another which look smooth from afar but pretty textured in closer.
A.E.: Have you exhibited your work much and if so in what museums and where? If not, why not? We think your work needs wider illumination – hence this conversation.
O.O.: I have had three solo exhibition in Nigeria and some group exhibition too in germany and salon in Madrid. I look forward to show my work at various museums around the world so people can see it in close.
A.E.: What is the art scene like in Nigeria right now; is it an encouraging environment?
O.O.: Art in Nigeria is encouraged to the level in other parts of the world. One has to fight for space to be able to follow one’s passion. The government hasn’t been encouraging at all. It is only individuals who are trying their best to promote art.
A.E.: Do you make any political or philosophical statements with your work?
O.O.: My art makes both social and philosophical message mostly but not often political message. I tell more of story through my art and dreams, aspirations. There are so many untold African stories to be illustrated therefore I try as much as possible to use my art as the tool.
A.E.: You once made a CNN appearance. Was this your first international exposure or has there been others and what impact have they had on your praxis or on the business end of things.
O.O.: This is my first international interview and my art as enables me to meet who is who in art industry and professional too also talk with politicians too.
A.E.: For the benefit of aspiring artists, what is your work routine?
O.O.: My routine is waking up early enough and entering the studio to paint till I get tired for the day. Most times I woke up in midnight to make sketches of what I feel could be my next painting.
A.E.: I note that your figure paintings sometimes involve figures in action. Do you draw purely from imagination or you sit down and observe these figures before painting them?
O.O.: I make a life study most times when I have chances to do so I make use of reference for my final painting
A.E.: You paint water so realistically. The drops are so real one could touch them. How does one paint water?
O.O.: I try to lay as many colors as possible to achieve the water effect with a lot of patience and calm mind. However, it is a difficult subject to paint and very challenging for most artists. I like painting water because it symbolizes life.
A.E.: Would you consider teaching art or do you teach art; if so what are some of your pedagogical strategies.
O.O.: I would love to run my own Art Academy for up-and-coming artists who want to study realistic art. I will embark on that when I have the funds by the grace of God.
A.E.: We would like to thank you for taking time off your Canvas to have this conversation with MTLS.
O.O.: Thank you giving me the opportunity giving to reach a wider and international audience through your journal.