LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Lagos-based artist Timilehin Oludare’s surrealism artwork focuses on expanding and exploring different mediums with an ideology that talks about absurdity, mutations, and alienage in the human body and society.
Oludare’s “Red Walls and Entities” work visualizes romance, playfulness, and shadow. In the collection, ‘Romance’ expresses his love for the color; in Santana Red, ‘Playfulness’ portrays the intentional yet random selection of entities to be presented in an almost shadow-like state. Oludare explores the shadow as a symbol of uncertainty and suspense.
He creates each of these queer entities in the collection without any preconditioned notions about what form they should take. These entities represent beings with distinct and independent existence, confined within the red walls that connect them, thrilled by a sense of ambivalence.
In this way, a level of suspense is translated through the series, specifically through the expansive stares and dark eyes that have become Oludare’s staple.
Voiceofnaija.ng’s Oluwapelumi Shemuel caught up with the full-time, independent artist working from Lagos Island about his artworks, his background, and his art medium.
Oludare opens up about his creative process, and his dedication to his craft shines through.
Where are you from, and what was your childhood like?
I’m from Ibadan, Nigeria. Growing up in Ibadan with my parents and six siblings was amazing. It really plays a big role in my personality today because I really enjoy being around people.
Tell me how you’ve developed your art career so far. Tell me about your favorite medium.
Honestly, I can’t fully explain how I’ve developed so far; I’ve just been living through it. My development has been focused on expanding and exploring different mediums with an ideology that talks about absurdity, mutations, and alienage in the human body and society.
For my favorite medium, I really don’t have a favorite medium. I mainly work with three main mediums, which are sound, scent, and visual works (drawings or paintings). For now, I’ve been working with sound a lot.
Can you recall a negative experience and how it shaped you and your career?
Hmmmn, a negative experience. Career-wise, I haven’t really had an intense negative moment; most of the negative experiences I’ve had have been rejections, which I believe all artists go through at some point in time. I’ve really just managed to appreciate the positive experiences and learn from the negative ones.
What motivates you to create? Where do you find inspiration? How does that affect your work?
My work begins with a conversation with myself, then I converse with people, then I go back to converse with myself and put out a question, and the question serves as a prompt for the work I’m creating. I get inspiration for my day-to-day interactions with people and society. It sounds very vague, but it’s true. I’m drawn to absurd questions that exist within our day-to-day lives, which are fully led by curiosity and exploration.
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
Art is my life; what I do as an artist is a current expression or exaggeration of what I do and think about daily.
Talking about other areas of your life, what do you like doing in your spare time?
In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends, who are mostly artists, art curators, and art enthusiasts, so art plays a role in our relationships. I’m a big extrovert, which allows me to enjoy having like-minded people around. In my free time, I’ve also been looking into facilitating art gatherings like sound walks, workshops, book readings, and so on.
Is there a specific environment or material that’s integral to your work? When is your favorite time of day to create?
I really enjoy creating work in Ibadan, ‘Lagos’, where I’m currently based. It often seems too fast-paced for me to enjoy the process of creating work, but it’s very good for the social aspect of art. I really don’t have a favorite time to create work; I just do it when I’m in the mood or when my thought process is ready to produce output.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
First off, I’m influenced by surrealism. I’m also influenced by a few artists and some artists’ specific works. I also draw influences from different artists for each of the three mediums I work with, ‘visually’ I draw inspiration from Wura Ogunji, Pond Lovers by Sasha Gordon, Odun Orimolade, Two (video performance) by Wura Ogunji, and ‘You will see that a little can be enough’ by Temitayo Ogunbiyi. ‘olfactory’ I draw inspiration from Oswaldo Macia, Soft Memory by Peter de Cupere, Marcel Duchamp, and garlic soap by Oswaldo Macia. ‘For sound, ‘I draw inspiration from Emeka Ogboh, Susan Philipsz, and Erratum Musical by Marcel Duchamp. These are just a few I could list. There are a lot of amazing artists whose works I witness, and they give me joy.
Tell me about your techniques for overcoming creative blocks. What would you do if you were given a limited budget for a commissioned piece?
When I get creative blocks, I just let them play out and try to find inspiration in anything I encounter from then on. Regarding a limited budget on a commission, I just creatively do what’s within my limits with the budget.
What makes you stand out from other visual artists?
By being me, I’m a person with a personal upbringing, a personal artistic style, and a personal life style. I don’t know if that makes me stand out, but it makes me my person.
How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist?
As a full-time, independent artist, I don’t just create work; I sell, market, and promote my work myself. Which makes me an artist, artist manager, and art dealer—that is my trinity.
Describe how art is important to society.
I really can’t describe how, but some people are happy to interact with my work, which makes me happy. We are all happy, and happiness is important to society.
What have critics and collectors said about your work?
“It’s scary,” “I like the gore of it,” “it’s interesting,” “it’s not my style”,” it’s too much for me,” “I love the details, “and so on. I get really interesting feedback all the time, and I really appreciate and respect every piece of feedback I get.
Are you more into brains or looks?
Lol, I have to say ‘brains’ because saying ‘looks will make me seem shallow.
Are you single? Do you have a girlfriend? Is your partner comfortable with your career?
No, no, and no
What’s your annoying habit?
I don’t think I have an annoying habit; well, I hope not. If I do, please let me know.
If you could go back five years, what advice would you give your younger self?
Hmmn, invest in crypto in 2019, then dip in 2021.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
Clips from the film “The Color of the Pomegranates” by Sergei Parajanov (1969)
What would you like to be remembered about you?
The urge to always connect and converse with people, as well as my art, obviously
Name: Timilehin Oludare Osanyintolu
DOB: November 26, 2002
Place of birth: Ibadan, Nigeria
Occupation: Visual Artist