Music Giants like Cobhams Asuquo inspires me in Art- Oluwatobi Adewunmi
Oluwatobi Adewumi is a virtual artiste and a speed painter who has representated Oyo state and Nigeria in different art competitions in the world. Whatsupibadan.com caught up with Oluwatobi, the CEO of Otobi Art Company who is presently in New York, having just completed his first Art residency in Albany, New York. He lets us in into the life of an artist, the challenges, and his love life.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I am Oluwatobi Adewumi, I’m a visual artist; born and bred in Ibadan, Oyo state Nigeria. I am a graduate of Computer Science from the Olabisi Onabanjo university, Ago- iwoye. I am from a family of seven now six.
What was growing up like?
Growing up was fun in Ibadan. I don’t have so many friends though.
How did you start?
I started out in art with a passion for creativity and to make impact. Back then in secondary school, I did a lot of drawing and painting in my sketchbook. A friend of mine saw an art competition advert and he passed the information to me. I applied and won. It was a National Art competition and I was so proud of myself. Since then, I have never stopped.
Where did you train as an artist?
Oh, I am a self- taught artist. I watch a lot of great artists from afar and read books to develop myself.
Where do you derive your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the things around me. Nature, and basically anything around.
What do you believe is a key element in creating a good art work?
Well, I’ll say planning, and preparation. It saves more time.
You are a speed painter, what is your state of mind when you are performing?
I am always blank most of the time. I want to something new and want to pass a message. And that’s just it. But I’m always happy to perform art.
What are you currently working on?
At present, I am working on some art residency in New York City to create some body of work and showcase myself.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify with any type of art. I’m a visual artist.
What is your strongest memory of your childhood?
(smiles) I’ll say that was when I was called to represent Oyo state in an art festival.
What’s your scariest experience?
When I lost my junior brother. He was an amazing being.
What’s your favourite art work?
I won’t say I have a favorite artwork. Every work is special. It is like a baby you give birth to, you can’t love one more.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
When I see a person like Cobhams Asuquo doing well in music and not just that, but is also very versatile and improving.He is an inspiration to me.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I don’t have any.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I worked with some architects before.
Art is what I am born to do. It is my own tool to contribute to the society and the world at large.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I went to deliver a work for a client and she kept quiet for some minutes and she was in tears when she saw her portrait painting. It was a great experience
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Music inspires me a lot. Any kind of music that is good.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
The life of an artist is not lonely. I just think we use a separate way to create something great. I love everything about art, from the process to the delivery.
Should Art be funded?
I believe art should be funded. It takes a lot of energy to be creative and people in the creative fields in Nigeria are not celebrated and given adequate support, by individual bodies and the government. This will go a long way to help artists work with more ease.
Name something you love, and why.
Music. Because it helps me with my work and life.
What is your dream project?
To start my Art foundation for schools in Nigeria. Organise art competitions and exhibition for them.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I’ll say Ibe Ananaba, Segun Adewumi, and Emmanuel Dudu.
What’s your favourite or most inspirational location for development of your artpieces.
That’s in any art room, just sitting with my sketchbook.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To be a world class visual artist that sells and impact billions of people
What wouldn’t you do without?
God. He is my essence.
Tell us about your love life.
I’m in a relationship.
How do you handle the pressure from female fans giving that you travel a lot?
Oh well, I have an understanding partner, and of course, my passion drives me beyond the fun and distractions.
Yea, you re a speed painter, tell us in on some of the competitions you have been part of.
Speed painting comes up in event and I have done it in more than 50 events. I just did it here for Miss Nigeria USA on Friday. I am also working with a naija artist who did some artworks for the Beyonce’s video. We have a show tomorrow
What’s your advice for youths out there many of who look up to you?
I will say, follow your passion with all doggedness. It always leads to an endless world of opportunities. Keep doing what you are doing, develop that skill, and giftings, read books, and commit to God.
See some of his works: