Artist Proof Interview with Artist: Karo Akpokiere
Global Location: Lagos, Nigeria
AP Shop url: http://www.zazzle.com/seekproject
I am an artist/designer born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I have an insatiable appetite for drawing and I am deeply interested in how these drawings can be applied to different media as a way to make them accessible and visible. My work is indicative of my desire to combine different ‘cultural’ elements in other to create art that is universally appealing and reflective of my interests in patterns, textile motifs, typography, the graffiti aesthetic, t-shirt graphics, sneakers, advertising, character design and geometry.
AP: How long have you been making art for and what lead you to start?
KA: My drawing history and art experience dates back to my primary school days but, I consider 1998 as the year I truly started creating. 1998 was when I crossed paths with words that gave me a deep sense of value for the talent I have been given, words that made me realize I could live a meaningful life off of the talent. Prior to ‘98, my talent which I was aware of, was something I engaged just to keep busy.
AP: Where do you currently live and work ? And how does this influence your work?
KA: I currently live and work in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos not only offers a great deal of diversity in terms of local culture, it also offers open access to foreign culture. The presence of this cultural mix gives me the opportunity to tap into ideas from various places far and near, an act that serves to make my work rich, bold and strong!.
AP: Did you have formal training if so what? If your self taught can you tell us what you prefer about being a self taught artist vs academic training
KA: I am a self taught artist who happens to have a formal education. Formally, I have got two diplomas one in General Art where I got to learn about textile design, painting, sculpture, ceramics etc and the other in Graphic Design What school provided me with was the time and space to experiment,create and interact with other artists and designers for an extended period of time, most of the learning was self initiated. School also introduced me to other branches of art I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to or had the opportunity to experiment with if I was not in there.
AP: Can you tell us about where you make your work is it in your house, a studio etc.. and how it effects your work?
KA: I create most of my work from home. I am most productive creating from home as the distractions are minimal and I actually get to use my most productive hours creating instead of being stuck in traffic on the way out and back.
AP: What are some of you favorite design projects/exhibitions you have worked on to date?
KA:Tough question as I generally don’t think of my work in terms of best or otherwise. However, I will have to pick the SeekProject logo because of what it represents to me and the nostalgic vibe it whips up when I think of it. The Seek project logo represents a period in my life when I got exposed to artists like Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami, Shepard Fairey and Dave Kinsey via the book: 100% Cotton: T-shirt Graphics. It represents a time when I got my first computer. Having the computer and been exposed to the work and philosophies of these artists helped in shaping the direction of my talent and my thoughts regarding what art and design is and can do. It represents a time when I was discovering some things and people for the first time, a time when my mind was opening up art-wise.
AP: What is your medium of choice ?
KA:Mostly, I use pencils, pens, markers and photoshop for the colors.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work?
KA:There is definitely a relationship between content and technique in my work sometimes, I follow a content leads to technique approach were the idea that I have determines the technique I go with, whether digital wholly or analogue + digital. Other times, I follow a technique leads to content approach were I lay lines on paper and make the content up as I go along. The relationship between content and technique in my work, represents my desire to be flexible and spontaneous with my process.
AP: In what direction would you like to see your work going over the next five years?
KA: I see myself creating more murals and functional products, getting into the publishing of my drawings and collaborating with artists internationally on art projects. I also see myself further tapping into the opportunities that licensing offers in making my work accessible and visible. next five
AP: What forth coming projects and or exhibitions do you have scheduled for 2011?
KA: I am working on completing my daily drawing project draw365 and planning some exhibitions for the later part of this year. I will definitely let you know when the news is fully formed.
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
KA: Wake early, pray, emailing, web stats checking, facebooking, twittering, favorite websites and blogs browsing, read a bit, draw till late afternoon or early evening, late lunch, email checking etc..I mostly spend my days creating new work, promoting my work and sending out proposals online. All days are not the same but, this tour is a good enough representation of how my day goes.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.