Fashion Paper Illustration

Illustrations, Uncategorized, Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

As much as my wardrobe doesn’t reflect it, I enjoy a good runway show. I think what attracts me the most is how ideas are portrayed on a person really. How a style or a look changes how one percieves the wearer or just how a well made outfit brings out another side of the wearer, you know. If you dress up for halloween, a cosplayer or work as an actor, you get a huge taste of that. Now, having the chance to bring that into your everyday life is something many would want to do it without having to either break the bank or look eccentric or missing from a movie set so fashion is their ticket to it…and I love it.

I love watching people strut their stuff in new clothes. Yes, I do tend to morph into one of my picky aunties when I see an issue with a look ( too much, too little, too tight, too gaudy, all the “too” everythings out there) but hey, they got my attention so that’s good.

So, as I draw fashion illustrations digitally like my Disney Inspired Wedding Looks, I also make versions of looks that I like with paper.

I started making my paper fashion illustrations as the 2017 Lagos Fashion Week started with some of the outfits I saw on the runway. Starting with this by Ejrio Amos Tafiri.

22791843_10159443465665591_2017637963212815097_o Samuel Noon

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About that Curvy Life

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Gert-Johan Coetzee

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I admit, it was fun making my version of them so I went ahead and made Nigeria’s Movie Sweetheart, Adesua Wellington ‘s bridal outfits for her very viral wedding.

I took a break from making my paper dolls for a while but just like winter, they came back knocking as I fell in love with this look bridal look by Tubo Women’s Wear.

Bridal Look (KKbrix)

And now, with the #PillowChallenge that has gone wild on instagram, ths was an easy one for me.

Pillow challenge

I have plans on teaching this as I have added some notches to my teaching career and want to continue dispite the changes we all have to make due the Corona Virus. But in the mean time, here is quick video of how I made my #pillowcallenge mama.

My very own runway…I like alot.

GIFs and Shorts of 2019

Illustrations, Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

I took a skill share class, Animation for Illustration, earlier this year to help clear my head a little bit and also spread my wings into making really short videos, clips and GIFs. As I left journalism a few years ago, my editing and videoing skills took a dip so this illustration class got me back to making other types of videos without having to do so much videoing…it did, however, make me do alot more drawing and storyboarding in a sense and pushed me into not being so afraid of actually drawing (yes, that fear is always there).

So, Here are some of my GIFs and Short clips for 2019. Most of them came from just trying out stuff and seeing how they would look animated, others were just because I sat in front of my computer for too long and couldn’t leave without making something.

heart

My very first from the work assignment of Animation for Illustration, ‘My beating Heart”.

hug-day-1

Even a naughty friend said this was naughty so, I guess this was a good fail 😀

heart-in-my-hand-2

I did another as it was during the Valentine season when I took the class so hearts were all over the place. I did want it to have an 80’s video feel with a touch of Afrobeat to it. That background was made with my Foam prints and I love it so much. You can get it as a print, a mug, a tote bag and more at my Red Bubble store.

Small-chops-1

This is the product of another Skill share Class, Funky Letters: Turn your Hand Lettering Into Funky GIFs. 

Voting-5

Nigeria was going through Elections at the time I made this one. Well, we see how that turned out. it certainly is the case of insanity as we keep on doing the same thing and expect a change somewhere.

Rain-gif

I created this based on a prompt from the Artist comunnity group I am a part of locally. It was meant to be just an illustration but it was a rainy day and having the rain fall while she is not happy about, it made my day becuase I literally figured out how to make it rain. Also, the background is an actual photo of where I take the bus sometimes when I go into downtown London, Ont.

Snow-Queen-2

My tab had a little meltdown so all that was left of my raw files were images of my last edits. So I just picked up from that and kept adding to Monica here and she became this pissed off lady who hates the cold. I didn’t stop at this scene with her, I left her feeling it some more with a weather change video which I cooked up with premiere:

She is really not happy caught up in this revolving door.

It was a fun day editing this one. As I explore many skills I have acquired along the years, it is fun mxing up illustration pieces with actual videos. So this is the outline of one of my masquerades with a short video clip I made of rhinestones in water.

I made this to mark Vitilago Day. I have a sister who has lived most of her life with this condition and even though she lives her life to the fullest, doing anything to create awareness and educate people about this condition is the least I can do. In making this video, I combined an illustration I made with short video clips of ink in water that I captured. This depicts what I observed about the condition on my sister and it keeps shifting on one’s skin where long term exposure to the sun and other things can exacebate the condition. it reminds me of a flow and the twists and turns of the mood and mental health of those with the condition.

And this is just a fun stop motion video of the parts I made of Pennywise the Clown from “It”. The book is one of my top ten horror books (Never read it alone). I loved both depictions of Pennywise by Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard (Tim Curry came for our ComicCon in London but I didn’t get the chance to go). I got it ready right on time to grace my door for the trick or treaters on my street. You can see the process of how I made it at my instagram page.

And these are some videos from my studio. I hope to make  more GIFs and short videos in the coming year. Maybe that would be my passion project for 2020. Yaaaaaaay 2020.

Have a wonderful christmas and a fabulous New Year.

 

 

13 Inspiring Nigerian Women to Read up on…

Illustrations

Black history month was a few weeks ago. As it was celebrated, discussed and observed, I had found myself diving head first into creating digital illustrations of successful and historically impactful women that have been revered specifically in Nigeria. The reason behind this is because the whole theme is kind of a trigger for me.

Growing up in Nigeria, any advice given to you as a woman usually started with “…when you marry”. Now, I am not against good advice in any way, but the society made women feel like their greatest accomplishment was to get married and to stay married. Yet, history is full of women’s names in tiny bubbles that quickly filtered through and disappeared tas one reads through books and publications. If their names were ever mentioned, it felt like it was grudgingly put in, usually with the most unepic achievement behind their names. So, I went on a researching spree online and found these amazons that wake me up I when I feel myself not working towards my potential.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

All I was taught about her was that she was the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. NotFunmilayo-Ransome-Kuti that that doesn’t have a sparkly quality to it, she was a woman that did so much more. Dubbed the lioness of Lisabi by the West African Pilot in 1947, she represented women of all classes in the fight over taxation, women’s interests and more. Honoured with the Order of the Niger and the Lenin Peace Prize, Founder of the Federation of Nigerian Women Societies, she was a Co-founder of the Abeokuta Women’s Union which became the Nigerian Women’s Union then the Federation of Nigerian Women’s Society. Without her, there would be no legendary Fela and she was the aunt to the famous Wole Soyinka himself. I confess that I felted cheated when I read up more on her and how many more girls would have borrowed some of her gutsy strength while growing up. (Photo ref: Google)

Women’s Market Rebellion of 1929

Aba-women's-revolution-When I think of a movie plot that would be epic, have stinger one-liners, fast paced, colorful with a touch of Tarantino in it, these ladies would be a great story to tell. In a protest against the restrictions being placed on their role in the society, the women from the eastern part of Nigeria rose up in protest.
As fiery as your moms are (African mothers usually are), imagine 10 thousand of them pouring out their energy to a collective cause. The range of “What Would Jesus Do” was covered quickly. From peaceful protests to all out flipping tables and even the destruction of court houses. This went on until they got what they wanted, however, not without casualties on both sides. It was a time of change as this opened up political avenues to women that didn’t have access to it based on societal norms as well as women warrant chiefs, a position men were appointed to in Colonial Nigeria. Yep, an epic movie this would be. (Photo ref: Google)

Evi Edna Ogholi

In the 1980s, Ogholi gave us birthday crashers “Happy Birthday“, the only birthday song that Nigerians Evi-Edna-Ogholishould ever play (just my opinion). , It was a sudden phenomenon as to how she dropped off the face of…everything. We literally didn’t hear anything from her again.
Though now living in Paris and still making music with the release of her Peace and Love album in 2016, her music was most likely a gateway for many to Reggae.
Her smile captured hearts, From Jealousy to No place like home, her reggae vocals wafted through open car windows as you were stuck in traffic, her lyrics were easy to remember, even her music videos were fun. (Photo ref: Google)

Margaret Ekpo

Margeret-EkpoAfter being the only woman to attend a political rally, she believed that women should also be part of the growing movement of civil right activities. After teaming up with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti over the Enugu coal mine protests and establishing the Aba Township Women’s Association, she had rallied up enough women voters to outnumber the men voters in 1955. She was a Civil right activist, Social mobilizer and Member of the Regional House of Assembly in 1961. This illustration was made with ink then a little flair was added digitally. (Photo ref: Google)

Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye

A product of the Oshogbo Art School, Okundaye has taught all around the world the artChief-Nike-Davies-Okundaye and techniques of the traditional textile and fabric design. Some of her works hang in the Smithsonian. She has had over 102 solo exhibitions and 36 group art exhibitions. CEO of Nike Center for Art and Culture, Oshogbo, Owner/Curator of the Nike Art Galleries. Yeye Oba of Ogidi-Ijumu, Yeye Tasase of Oshogbo. It hurts to know that I have never had the chance to go to any of her galleries though a friend did study at her art school so I am claiming the connection (wishful thinking) Though let me take it one step further, I hope to have some of my work at her gallery one day. (Photo ref: Google)

Balaraba Ramat Yakubu

Balaraba-Ramat-YakubuOnce a child-bride herself at the age of 13 and sent back “in disgrace” after a year, her father agreed to let her attend sewing classes. Unknowningly to him, she was taught how to read and write Hausa. This opened her world to us as she went on to become one of the most popular Hausa writers of the “Littattafan Soyayya” (Books of Love) Genre.
The most captivating thing about her books is that the love story was used as a vehicle to actually hit major issues such as child-marriage and the restrictions placed on womenfolk in the northern region of Nigeria. Her first novel, “Alkahi Kuykuyo“, published in 1988, has been translated and published in English. Others such as “Juyin Sarauta” have graced the screens and won Film awards. She wears many hats as a Film Producer, director and screen-writer in Kannywood (a Nigerian film industry that produces solely Northern Nigerian films) and also a Trauma Counselor. (Photo ref: Google)
Aisha Bakari Gombi

She would make another epic movie. Born into a hunting family, she has used the skillsAisha-Bakari-Gombi as a hunter to track and rescue Boko Haram victims as well as capture many of the insurgents. Her and her team, in spite of limited resources, have played a vital part in the fight against Boko Haram, recovering and protecting villages in the Sambisa Forest. She also acts as a traditional healer for her band as she prepares balms and amulets from the flora of the land. She has become a myth of legend as her story is a tale of hope and courage to many in the North Eastern region of Nigeria. Having her in the front lines encouraged more women to join the hunter’s guild and actively take part in rescue missions. She is the Queen Hunter and the Commander of her team. (Photo ref: Rosie Collyer/Al Jazeera)

Tara Fela Durotoye

Tara-Fela-DurotoyeThe average Nigerian loves to look good and make-up is in almost every Nigerian woman’s starter kit. By creating the first bridal directory and offering her bridal Make-up services, she, more or less, is the creator of slay queens. From opening her make-up studio to the launch of the first make up school in Nigeria, she is a catalyst that pushed the Nigerian cosmetics industry into what it is today.
The evolution from Tony Montana white powder, gazal and those green-to-red lipsticks to face-beats of several layers of foundation has paved the way for job creation and self-employment for many through training and franchise opportunities. She is a Lawyer, an Entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of House of Tara International (perfume, studio and make-up line). (Photo ref: TY Bello)

Ameyo Stella Adadevoh

A knight in every way. She correctly diagnosed a foreigner infected with Ebola and putStella-Adadevoh her life on the line to ensure that the suspect could not leave the isolation area she insisted on. Her professionalism ensured that the right information was dispersed through the right channels and succeeded in preventing the spread of the virus. Although she saved the nation from a devastating epidemic, she succumbed to the Ebola virus on the 19th of August, 2014. She was the Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist of the First Consultant Medical Center, Lagos and should never be forgotten. She was a wife and a mother and now a hero to Nigeria. (Photo ref: Google)
Leah Sharibu

Leah-SharibuFebruary 19th would mark a year of which Leah has been held captive by Boko Haram insurgents. Kidnapped alongside over 100 female students from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi in Yobe State, Nigeria, 15 year old Leah was held back after the release of the students a month after. The insurgents’ reason: she refused to deny her Christian faith. The Federal Government denied a rumour of her death a few days ago claiming it as a campaign smear even though it took months before the President himself spoke directly with her parents after her capture.
Seen as a modern day apostle for those that share her faith, she is one face out of thousands that have had their lives disrupted due to terrorism. She should not have to bear this cross and the voice of many are calling out for her release. She should be at home, studying, growing and evolving into the woman she is meant to be: student, teenager, daughter. (Photo ref: Google)

Chioma Ajunwa Opara

Although she started as a member of Nigeria’s women’s football team, The Falcons, sheChioma-Ajunwa-Opara transitioned to track and field sports, specializing in the 100m, 200m and long jump. Though started off great with many wins especially in Long Jump, she was placed on a 4 year ban after a failed drug test despite maintaining her innocence in 1992. She went on to win Gold for Long Jump at Atlanta 96, making her the first and only individual Olympic gold medalist from Nigeria. An ardent campaigner against drug use in sports based on her experience, she is a police officer and Member of the Order of Niger. (Photo ref: Google)

Uche Pedro

Uche-PedroAfter studying Business Administration at the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada, she started blogging as a hobby focusing on the fashion, photography, wedding and celebrity industry in Nigeria. This grew to become BellaNaija.com (@Bellanaijaonline), a lifestyle and entertainment website that pulls an average of 15 million viewers per month. Let’s just say that your wedding being featured on BellaNaija gives you bragging rights for life. She is a Fellow of TEDGlobal, an associate of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative. She received the Young Media Entrepreneur of the Year of Future Awards Africa in 2013 and was named one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes Magazine, 2014. Best African Blogger for Kids Choice Awards, 2016. (Photo ref: Google)

Betty Irabor

From freelance writing for newspapers such as “This Day” and “Vanguard” and being a Betty-Iraborcolumnist for “Black & Beauty” Magazine, Irabor launched Genevieve Magazine in 2003. I, personally, was really excited about @genevievemagazine cos it was within my price range(student 😁) and It’s content were written specifically for someone like me. But I digress. Back to Aunty Betty. Apart from making a difference in the print industry, she used her platform to build an awareness around breast cancer prevention, early detection and treatment through the Genevieve PinkBall Foundation. In 2018, she also brought a lot of attention to mental health through “Dust to Dew”, a book about the journey of her struggles and fight over depression. Her book opened avenues for the discussion around Mental Health conditions and awareness. Another goal of mine is to illustrate for the magazine one day…soon…(Photo ref: Google)

And here they are. 13 women that should be given chapters in every Nigerian history books. I started this as fluke really, but I was able to gain a lot more than just better drawing skills. I have always said that my art was inspired by women yet, it somehow feels shallow now when I think about it as women are more than just muses that we try to capture just a part of their presence in our work. Each one is a universe of nuclear power just searching for the right place to blow up. And I love it.

I hope to make illustrations in a different style or medium with other epic women I have come to admire. That would be fun.

Traditional Nigerian Bridal Looks Inspired By Disney Princesses

Illustrations

Do you remember the first time you were introduced to a Disney princess?  Do you remember how much you sang along as they frolicked away on your screen, full of color and wonder and the right amount of magic that has kept the child in you mesmerised up till today? Ah, what I would give to be that young and free again.

Well, I may be older (much older…) but I haven’t met a Disney princess I haven’t fallen in love with. And as I have always loved fashion illustration, I thought I would be awesome to be inspired by the princesses in creating traditional Nigerian bridal looks.

As Nigerian as I am, I enjoy going for wedding parties mainly cos of the food but also the fashion. It is always a colorful event  as one of the first things an engaged couple do while prepping  for their wedding is pick their colors. And with how tradition always plays a huge part in every Nigerian wedding ( I mean every. Even destination weddings have the Nigerian touch to it), many brides get to dress up in a both traditional and a European style white wedding dress. So, this is a mash-up of my love of the traditional brides and the Disney princesses.

Ariel

Let’s start with Ariel. As she is not the first princess I was introduced to, her story got the romantic in me to shine through. I always believed that “Kiss the Girl” would be the sound track to my very first kiss…that didn’t happen. It was the sound of a police truck creeping slowly behind me but I digress. Also, Ariel was the beginning of my theme as her colors took me back to how many couples pick their colors (from something they always loved or a combo of their favorite colors before parents “encourage” them to pick other colors). Her Gele( the headgear she is wearing) is the color of her hair and I see this being made with lots of shiny sequins.

Jasmine

Jasmine was kick ass. She was ready for everything and starred adventure down in its eyes. Not many would climb on a flying carpet with a guy they barely know. Well, she happens to be the only one I dressed up in a jump suit. She is ready to throw it down on the dance floor. A lovely mixed of stretchy chiffon bedazzled all over to make up the suit and a detachable chiffon skirt.

Belle

Belle seems like a quiet bride that but with a dash of mischief in her eyes. So her dress is made from a  rose patterned heavy lace with a silky cowl neckline. It gives full coverage but allows her naughty side to peek through in a stylish way.

Merida

Merida is all drama with a full velvet skirt, a cape and golden Northern Nigerian symbols embroidered into the fabric. She can hide weapons in there as well.

Mulan

Mulan is the princess that saved her prince and his kingdom. I went for a traditional Efik bridal look cos of the similarities with how the hair is adorned with combs and decorated into beautiful towers. Beads drape over her shoulders and she is usually without the tulle. That is my extra touch there.

Pocahontas

Pocahontas was my first heartbreak as she watched John Smith sail away from the cliff. I like how tassels can give you the right amount drama as you sashay away in the crowd that came just to look at you.

Snow-white

Snow White as the oldest princess is usually seen as the sweetest of them all. Not here. I gave an edgy neckline and yes, I confess I wanted to give her a bit of her stepmother’s vibe…just a tiny bit.

Tiana

Tiana’s story was fun for me as New Orleans is somewhere I would love to visit someday. But before then, this bridal look would be made in Aso-oke, a traditional Yoruba fabric that has makes every bride look regal. With carefully selected add ons like the lily, she is the flower the groom’s family came to behold.

Aurora

Aurora is my first Disney princess but Maleficent was my first crush and would always be my best villain. So I kinda mixed up the inspiration here: the colors of Aurora before she turned 16 and the vibe of Maleficent. The golden brooch is a nod to Maleficent but the cape is Aurora’s as she danced away with the woodland creatures.

Rapunzel

Rapunzel came to slay with the biggest gele ever. I mean, that shiny crown should take all the attention. And her purple Adire is just glorious.

And that’s it for my Disney princess inspired illustrations…Ok, my plan was to end it here as I found myself in the middle of a project. But…

Cinderella

Cinderella made me pick up my pen again. I saw a Nigerian bride with this hair style and knew I had to give Cinderella this look. With feather covered shoulders and detachable tulle skirt, she is ready to flaunt away.

Moana

Moana, the carrier of the heart of Te Fiti, gives me chills with her look. A Simple scarf to adorn her head, no need for plenty drama but enough to let everyone know she is the center of attention. I foresee a combo of lace and aso-oke with a touch of chiffon for this look.

ELsa-and-Anna

And lastly, the Frozen sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa is dripping in bling, lace bedazzled to the point of blinding everyone while Anna is playful in her iridescent purple lace as she lets her dress capture the light while she dances away in the center floor.

Now, I am done. These are my Disney princess inspired looks for  traditional Nigerian bridal look. This was a fun project as I have been illustrating a lot more lately and I must say that I am more confident with my drawing skills especially digitally now. I have been using the AutoDesk Sketchbook on my tab and it has worked efficiently for me chiefly for my limited budget.

So, which one is your favorite look? Don’t keep us guessing.

Have fun with these ladies.

 

 

 

 

Heart Rock…

Queen of Hearts Project

There are many artists that I admire. One is Laolu. How he carries a story with symbolism and contrast is just epic.  Another artist I love is David H. Dale. My sister and I had the chance to ‘study’ in his studio for a short time a long time ago. He introduced us to watercolor painting and his home/studio was surrounded by flowers of all types. A mixed media artist that used beads in many of his works and they are just amazing, again full of color and the details were mesmerising. So it made my heart skip a bit when I read the Aljazeera article on Peju Alatise where she mentioned that one of his exhibitions showed her that art sells.

A few weeks ago, as part of her ‘Paradox, Paradigms and Parasites’ exhibition, there was ‘Geodes’. Based on how these wonderful crystals are made, they need a pocket buried in volcanic rocks and with time, minerals seep in, layer by layer, creating something so beautiful in which many have sought, fought and killed for. With this piece, Alatise asks us if we seek the the precious gem, the human inside this shell we wear everyday. Do we value the layers of our years and experiences that come together to make us us? Or are we just the cheapest tools used to find the next gem that would be placed on our mantles or wear as jewelry? The idea behind this piece spoke to me and I had to make a heart version of it.

Mine isn’t made from Stonecasts, metal stands and resins. No no. Just good ole paperclay and glitter. It was a quick one as I already had paperclay ready and a heart shape cut out. I made the edge first with a big enough hole in the middle. While this dried, I formed a person and quickly placed him in the hole. Then I filled out the edge into the hole until I got it shaped to what I wanted.

Once it was dried, I painted the heart Black and the person Silver. Then filled up around the person with black glitter.

Of course, it doesn’t step up to Peju’s Geodes but I can firmly say that I am inspired by her.  Her work pushes me everytime I see it because she is what I would want to be like. Not just the exhibitons, the travelling and all, no. More than that. To be able to put out work that captures you in such grace. To be able tranform an idea from thought into existence with such power. To refuse to be the norm and live by your tune, whether accepted or not and live life in it’s true form. That is what I would want to emulate from her. That is what I take from the pieces of her journey I have seen in her work and her life.

 

 

Compromise: It Comes In A Set of Three

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

I don’t know why I am attracted to the number 3. Maybe it’s the holy trinity, the number of Matrix movies, the primary colors, the rule of thirds, I really don’t know. But I have noticed that when I work, I tend to work in threes. I think it’s because I read somewhere that it’s the number of the divine or it’s probably because my sister chose 5 and 11 just doesn’t sound like a number one falls in love with, you know and I just read that 3 is the lucky number for Sagittarius so I guess I am on the right path.

It is usually the number in a set of paintings I work on. It is probably because I am exhausted on that idea and not sure what else can be done to extend it…or I just like the fact that it is just three paintings like “Compromise”.

I actually started working on it with one in mind then added 2 more.

The first was of the masquerade forms bending over and into each other. After prepping and drawing my shapes on the canvas, I started layering the forms with my paperclay. I worked quickly over it so that it doesn’t dry out. I do spray water to keep it from drying but not too much as this tends to slow down adding details for me.

Once I was done, I go over the layers and the edges with a styrofoam ball wrapped in cling film to make it smooth and clean out curves, grooves and more. Then I add details into it, do a few more touch ups and let it dry.

After seeing what my my sketch was like on a bigger surface, I felt like one would be too lonely as it was done on a 14″ by 14″ inch canvas. it also felt incomplete. So I sketched out two more with differences in them and like what I saw. The second was for both forms to back each other and the third was for them to look like they had agreed on something or in balance with each other.

I let them dry for a few days then worked on painting them. I gave the background a wash of warm colors because the masquerades were painted black. I wanted them to stand out of the canvas and also give the details the contrast they needed to be seen once I gave them colors as well.

When I first started working on Compromise, I was targeting a colorful set of forms that seem to just be dancing. But once I was done, it felt more like one was suppressing the other, bending the other’s will to take more space because it feels like it can. They seem to think they don’t have much in common with each other but how can they when they can’t see what makes both of them unique. And I felt like that made the story incomplete. As much I hate to admit it, I always prefer a happy ending or at least, everyone getting what they deserve, justice for all, karma coming full circle. which was why I made the other two.

The second one depicts both of them, now on the same level. No one is occupying or suppressing the other. However, with their backs touching, it shows that both are not ready to listen and they have come to a stalemate. But better that than suppression and the occupation of another’s space.

And the third, I guess the third speaks for itself. Compromise. Their heads face each other, tilted the way you do when you don’t want to miss what the other is saying. They see each other, they notice that they have the same colors, same forms, just different in order. The differences make them more intertesting as one does not overshadow the other. There is respect of space, acknowledgement of form and acceptance of differences.

Maybe that is why I feel the connection with the number 3. There is always the beginning , the middle and the end. And Compromise does that for me.

 

Top Ten Tools I Use In My Art Studio.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

It always starts with something small. You get a glue gun here, you buy some glitter there, an “ooh that would make a wonderful addition to my center piece” statement or a “I wonder how I can use that” question and now, you have encroached a space in your home in which no one can lay claim to. You have created a monstrousity of a haven in which you never venture out of except when finding more supplies to fill up the smallest space you find. Welcome to your studio or in this case, mine.

 

As I have taken over my dinner table, I have been able to streamline most of my activities into these main categories:

  • Jewellery
  • DIY and Craft
  • Look at me. I am an Artist.

One of my hobbies is to surf through the internet (let’s be honest here, Pinterest) looking for inspiration, which is why I am surrounded by many supplies. Because of how available paper is to me, I quickly learned how to recycle paper and use it in most of my projects, products and art. But I don’t use it alone.

So, here is my top ten list of must have tools in my work space.

1. Glue: Elmer’s glue is a constant in my studio. I do make my own papermache paste when tackling bigger works but even then, I still add some white glue into the mix to give me what I need.

 

2. Wire: This is what I use to build armatures for my figurines. There are different strengths and thickness to wires. If you would like have an armature that doesn’t bend over easily, It is best to look for the lesser gauge numbers. For example, the 16 gauge wire would have more strength than the 24 gauge wire. I once went for a sculpting class in which the artist used those wire clothing hangers and they worked perfectly as they could carry the weight of the molding clay we used. I do also wrap my armatures with masking tape to reduce their contact with my moist paperclay so that no funny business goes on while I work on a sculpture.

3. Ziplock bags: To keep my freshly made paperclay moist and moldable. This way,  I can make a good amount of clay and store for later use in the fridge without it coming in contact with food though during the winter, it tends to stay on my table as the cool air keeps it from drying.

 

4. Paint: what can you do without paint? I use different types of paint for my work and they range from acrylic paint to enamel paint. There is a variety of paint in the market like the Martha Stewart Line  and the Apple Barrel Line, but I personally, have used FolkAcrylic paint and it has been wonderful to my work especially their metallic line. Decoart is also a great alternative as they have a great variety of colors as well.

 

5. Varnish/ Sealer: to protect the end product to avoid moisture getting in as it is made from paper. The two main ones I use in my studio are  Duraclear Varnish and Varathane Water Based OutDoor Varnish. Duraclear I use mainly for jewellery projects as though worn, they are usually handled with more care and also, it is a line used by other jewellery designers. Varathane is used for my bigger projects like Nothing New Under the Sun and more as it is used to protect both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It helps to ensure the longevity of my works without them yellowing or moisture seeping in.

6. Sculpting tools: These a great addition to my work as they help in various projects like my jewellery and sculpting. I easily make things I find around me as tools like toothpicks, skewers, old credit cards, old brushes and forother artists, dollar store dentist sets, but it is great to have sculpting tools in your arsenal.

 

7. Glue gun: I believe that a glue gun was one of my first craft tool purchase ever. And after many conquests and battles, she is still waxing strong. This is an important purchase so get one that suits your needs as well as the glue sticks. Don’t forget the glue sticks.

 

8. Jewellery pliers: Also one of my first purchases and they too have kept my studio alive. As my journey into the arts started with making jewellery, jewellery pliers are always around me. I use them as well to bend and cut wires in making my armatures, fixing and making wire jewellery and more. The round nose plier, the cutter and the bent nose plier are some I would recommend to have in your stash.

 

9. Masking tape: Everytime I find that my masking tape has gone halfway, a tiny panic sets in. So I tend to get more than one on an art supply run. I use it alot in my studio for taping down paintings, making clean lines in a painting, a quick layer for my armature wires, a snatcher of glue gun webs and a protector of my pinkie when cutting through a shipping box for project parts.

 

10. Cutters: You can never go wrong having cutters. As of now, I have 2: a box cutter and a craft knife cutter. The box cutter is for the heavy duty cutting, when I cut out parts for a project from shipping boxes. The craft knife cutter is for delicate materials and more fine cutting like for leaves, patterns and more. A popular one is the X-acto knife.

There are other tools I use but these are the major big timers for me. If you are just starting your journey down the artistic path, whether crafter, fashionista, artist, have a look through and see what you can add to your studio to make the best working space for you.

Have a great one.

Strong Shoulders, Heavy Heads, Soft Hearts: How I made my Contemporary Wall Art.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

Women. I paint them, sculpt them, still trying to understand them. Which is funny as I am one myself. But I think that is the beauty of us, the ladies. As we are all different, there is always another way, another view, another perspective on how the world works or feels. But one thing that has always been clear is the strength of a woman. Whether used as a chain of guilt or as the wind to soar, that is a tagline that has followed womanhood.

So, an idea came to me after feeding off social media about this year’s women’s day and how women helping women kept coming up and the process to move beyond breaking the glass ceiling. it was my version of women working together to make the world a better place. Yes, it may seem a bit sappy, but I do believe that we would get there, hopefully in my time. And luckily for me, I got a 20″ by 20″ canvas during one of my earlier art supplies runs to Michael’s so I started working immediately.

After making a quick sketch and some extra touch ups on how to make my piece, I got to work. I drew out the shape of canvas first on a cardboard then drew out the designs I wanted and cut them out differently. I wanted to have 6 forms, all different shapes but still similar in form. These forms are the bases of my armatures which I added jewelry wire to give them necks. Then I covered my armatures with paperclay I made using Jonni Good’s recipe, also giving each of them different designs all over before they dried.

I was really happy with how they all turned out. Though similar in form, I wanted each of them to still have a uniqueness to them. I wanted to show women that dance to their own beat or flow according to their course.

Also had a little photoshoot with them as well.

And while the women dried, I worked on the centre of my piece, the earth.

One feature I wanted to add was how Waja women from Gombe state carry their wares. They carry it on their shoulders, not on their heads as other ethnic groups do. Truthfully, I thought it was just the Gbagyi women of Abuja that carried their wares that way. So it was a pleasant surprise hearing that Waja women did this too. From what I heard, it is because the head carried the weight of wisdom so the shoulder helps in carrying the weight of materialistic things. And in a way, it seems like that is how women seem to be. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Paperclay Earth

Mini Photoshoot of Paperclay Woman Form

I wanted this to be a piece that reflects the innate power of women. There is a reason why if new ideas are going to be implemented in a society, women are targeted. Women are usually the carriers and enforcers of societal rules and values because they are seen as the caregivers of the next generation. It is probably one of the reasons why women that are different are often feared, ostracized and in some cases, killed because of the control they wield over change.

Once all the pieces were dried and painted, I arranged and glued them on the already painted canvas and allowed them to dry as well.

Strong Shoulders, Heavy Heads, Soft Hearts

I am happy with this piece. I can see it gracing the walls of an influencer of the world Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or the cozy santuary of a home maker. To me, it showed how different every woman is but at the same, how each woman wants to play her part in the world she is in. But not just for herself, but for her fellow sister as well. It is also the reason why I gave them necks that allow their heads to almost lean on each other. A shoulder to carry the world and a chest to rest their heads.

It is an ode to my mothers, my sisters, my cousins and my friends. The women who have always been there in my life. Those whose stories laid the foundation of strength and those whose lives were painted with vibrant colors.

 

Strong Shoulders, Heavey Heads, Soft Hearts Wall Art

 

Nothing New Under The Sun.

Wonderings of a Mixed Media Artist

In August 2017, I got an email that opened something for me. I got accepted to be part of Culture Days in London, Ontario, where I could display an art piece of mine. This email came at a time I was struggling. Looking to find my purpose in life and just what path I should follow that would let me live my life to its fullest potenial. A friend once said that I was a push over a few years back and it hit me to think that I always gave the reigns of my life to someone else to control. But this email felt like I was finally taking it back.

So I wanted to show how much I deserved this chance given and come up with a concept that spoke to me about London. Having lived here for about 5 years, considering that I moved home then finally relocated here again, I was out to show off how london had influenced me and started with furor.

There was no method to the madness I fell into and this led to sleepness nights, no appetite and an anxiety that never slowed down. I kept changing the ideas and oh, it was a train wreck…then I stopped. It hit me that I couldn’t do by trying to show off that I deserved this path. It was never about deserving, it was just about accepting. I wouldn’t be the first person to have go through anything in life. What issues, problems, joy, happiness I have ever had, someone else has done it already. My mix is unique to me but definitely not the experience. There is absolutely nothing new under the sun and that was it. My concept was here.

So, with better confidence and peace in myself, I set about creating my vision. I made about 17 figures from paper and wire using the papermache technique for all of them. As they would all share the same form, each would capture a different movement. This is to represent humanty basically.  While they dried, I worked on making swirls that represent the sun using newspaper for them. I wanted to get something close to the swirls you see in Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as he is an inspiration to me.

I wanted this piece to be big as I always seem use smaller sizes to convey my ideas. So I used 2 16″ by 20″ and 4 8″by 10″ canvases for this. The plan was to arrange the pieces in such a way that you can switch them up when you hang them so that you get different scenes from this whole piece.

After painting all the canvases, the figures and the swirls, I finally arranged them. To add to their differences, I painted them in similar colors but each in a different way and arranged them in different hieghts across the 4 8″ by 10″ canvases. Then the swirls were placed on the bigger 16″by 20″ canvases as well. And finally, like a puzzle, they came together as my art piece.

This piece got good reviews from all that saw it. The colors stood out, it calls out for your attention and that was what I wanted. I wanted it to remind everyone that there is nothing new under the sun, hence the title. We may all have different stories, different experiences, both good and bad. But if the Sun could compare our stories to the ones he has seen as we travel round him, there wouldn’t be anything new. We all journey the same, we all want the same things. A home to call our own, another to love without restraints and walk our lives with a legacy to leave behind.

So…knowing that someone else had or has a journey similar to mine make me feel like I am in good company. I shall, one day, reach my destination. It may be a road less followed but the path has been beaten for me to follow. Ask the sun. He knows.

How to Make This Easy Peasy Fabric Hair Bow

Tutorial Tuesday

The weather is so much nicer now. Even though it is my number 1 go to small talk topic, I do seem to talk about the weather alot. Coming from Nigeria, hot was the usual and there were other topics that circled around the woes of every nigerian. Actually, thinking about it now,  we don’t do so much small talk. It was always straight forward. I mean, the heat already makes you cranky so no beating around the bush.

But I digress. We have entered the season of weddings, parties and all out fun days. I can wear my hair out again, rock an afro or twists, take a shower without a shower cap and also accessorise without having to consider a winter hat. Yes, wearing a crown would be easier these days. But as I haven’t made my crown yet, I do have this fabric hair bow I made last year.

I made this fabric hair bow to go with an Ankara dress I sewed and is wearable.

And I absolutely love how it came out. It was quick, easy to make and you can practically use anything that comes your way for this. Plus, who doesn’t love a chance to dress up 😉 ?

So, this is how to make this fabric hair bow. These are the steps below. And you can easily download this tutorial to always have it with you any day, anytime.

Now that you know how to make the lovely fabric hair bow, don’t be shy and share your version of your lovely hair piece at the comments below. I would love to see it.

Have fun and God bless.