Adedeji Michael, popularly known as “Adedejiart,” is a Yaba College of Technology Lagos graduate. Although he is a pen and pencil artist and graphic designer, he is gaining more fame as a typographer a rare art form in Nigeria. The music, travel and people lover, speaks to our reporter about his creativity.
Please tell us, how you came about the idea of typography for your portraits?
I was just curious about the fact that everyone is doing the same kind of art and felt the need to start doing art differently. I got on the internet to research on ways that my art could be exceptional from others. Typography is what has already been out there. I simply took from what is already existing and coined my own style. For about two years now, I have been consistently doing it, and improving on it. My text art craft has improved and more is becoming more accepted by people.
You seem to focus mostly on portraits. What other art styles do you?
I don’t only do digital text portraits. I also make physical ink and pen drawings. I’m a part-time photographer and graphic designer. I believe the human face is beautiful, and I just love the way I use the texts to study and follow the anatomy of the human face. Portraits aren’t the only thing, and in fact my style is evolving into something much deeper in art than just human portraits. Doing portraits at the moment, is only a stage for me.
Are you mentoring others in this style?
Basically no. I’m not, because, right now even in the country, my own style is unique.
Being a rather rare art style in the country, what has the journey been like for you so far?
It has been really rough and smooth, and the rough part was when I started off. People didn’t notice it at first, until I consistently post on social media. It was then I started getting some sort of recognition. I’ve noticed in Nigeria that people cherish the old artists more than the new. People even prefer to buy art of dead artists than the new and young generation artists. It’s very difficult to have a platform in Nigeria as an artist, if you don’t have the plug, especially if you’re doing what some other people are already doing.
What’s the most exciting part to being an artist?
One of the most exciting part so far for me is the encouragement, and good comments I have received. Also, the social media support with people sharing my work and making other people see it, makes me so excited and encourages me to do more.
What do you consider the down sides?
The down sides of being an artist and practicing this art style for me, is the fact that, only a few people would want to pay for your art for what it is worth. Some would bargain and price like you’re selling groceries and toiletries.
Who or what has been you most inspiration with the work you do?
A lot of things motivate me to be different and to have my own legacy in life and in my work. I had an exhibition on the 28th of July 2019. It was a phoneography exhibition for charity of which no one has done before in the country. I thank God, it was a huge success. If anyone motivates me, it would be Chance the rapper, an American artiste. I have learnt a lot from his music.
What is your creative process like?
I get pictures, edit them to suite my style and creatively make them into typographs, digitally, while obeying the anatomy and structure of the subject’s face, in an aligning and creative way.
What would you say is your most expressive medium, for creativity?
My most expressive medium is my art done digitally. I believe digital speaks more, because, the world is going digital and we can’t resist the change.
What was the idea behind your exhibition ‘Sands of Time’?
The idea came to me as a result of me having a discussion with someone I told, I would really love to help people when I’m rich. But the person replied me saying, you don’t have to be rich before you can print your name on the sands of time. Use your creativity and whatever you can do, to help the needy. I felt really motivated after the discussion and then I got on twitter, gathered a few people who are really good with phoneography images, (pictures taken with phone cameras). I selected some really good pictures including mine, framed them and sold them during the ‘Sands of Time’ Exhibition. We were able to sell almost every piece and I donated 70 percent of the funds to charity just like I had planned it. It is the most fulfilling thing I have done in my life as of now.