Don’t be a battery.

Yes you read the title right. If you work to earn a living doing a job you necessarily don’t like for the sole purpose of a salary. Then you are a battery for the various money making institutions and when they are done. Like you do when a battery has exhausted its use it gets replaced. In humans it is termed retirement. 

So what do you do? You might ask. I’ll suggest you live your life doing what brings you joy, whatever that may be. It’s easier said than done, I know we all have bills to pay. 

For those that are adventurous you start a business around your passion, for those that are not, I suggest you take on a hobby that brings you joy after you’ve done you regular day’s job. I can’t stress this enough.

Think about it, you need to live your life without regrets and the only way to do that is to live the life you’ve always dreamt of. It should be one of your main goals or at least something to strive for. You want to live your best life as cliché as it may sound. 

Time will be an issue that is just a fact. So utilise it wisely. Furthermore some of us will be more successful than others that is a fact. However remember that we are all on different paths as such we have different goals. Try not to compare too much with others. We’re human beings not machines that exist for the profit of our various economies. We all need to start living our life and not just exist to make money.

I think it is so paramount to look back and have as little regrets as possible. If we are lucky we may look back and smile on the things we have done and the achievements we have made in line with our passion and goals.

What are you doing to live the life you want to live, whatever that may be? How are you taking a break from your 9 to 5 if you’re not self-employed? What are you doing differently to get out of the rat race?

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Keep creating.

It’s one of the closing statements made by Umesh Dinda one of my favourite YouTube instructors. The statement is so apt. You create to put out your vision into the world. To satisfy a burning desire to give back, that which you love that brings you joy and hopefully others. 

You learn, you grow and become overall better.  There is always something to learn, there is always something to aspire to. So what happens when a goal is achieved? On to the next one, I’m afraid. You push your limits as far as you can and as you do, you get that addictive feeling of accomplishment. 

I find the joy is in the creative process more than the accomplishment itself. Achievements are very short lived. In so many instances the moment I’m almost done or nearing the end of a project, another one has invariably commenced, maybe mentally or in my sketchbook. It’s like reading a good book on amazon, the algorithm immediately recommends something similar for your next read or Netflix recommended another similar movie based on your previously watched movies or shows. 

As an artist keep creating. 

What are your thoughts? Can you relate? How do you start a new project?

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Practice! practice! practice!

If I were ever asked to give a simple advice on how to get better at anything. What would my advice be? I’ll say practice a lot. Put in the work, because you can only get better through mileage, of course this is after you’ve acquired the relevant knowledge and understand the basics. How much you might ask? I’ll say a lot, yes it is vague I know, but this is where things vary from person to person.

The key is you’ll subconsciously start noticing things you need to change & some things will become muscle memory. I think this is how instructors especially omit key information while teaching. It’s not intentional, it’s just that they’ve done it so many times that they omit it while teaching, without ever thinking of it. Ever wondered why you did something exactly as instructed, I mean exactly and it still didn’t come out as the teacher did his or hers. Its muscle memory, the instructor may have omitted something important however minute.

Practice!, practice!, practice!, it’s imperative, you need to put in the hours to get better it is that simple. It applies to everything from public speaking to drawing to painting. It is a prerequisite. You will definitely have days were you don’t feel like it. This is where self-discipline comes in. According to Elbert Hubbard 

“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it whether you feel like it or not”.

Push through, you need to if you want to get better. 

A common obstacle will be time, not enough hours within the day. Sadly we all get the same number of hours within the day, 24. I can’t help you here. What I will however implore you to do is to make time no matter how little and make it a routine to practice regularly for that is the only way to improve your craft.

How many hours a day or week do you practice your art whatever that may be? Do you think you’re doing enough or do you think there is room for improvement? 

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Don’t be mediocre.

So you’ve been told that your work isn’t good enough. For example, in photography, the light isn’t good; in art, your colours aren’t right or your proportions need work. They may be right, they may have a point, but be careful, it may lead your work down the path of mediocrity.

If you go ahead & tick all the boxes as required by the so called “best practices” you won’t stand out and you’ll just be one of the many. I’m by no means advocating you jettison “best practices”, no not by long shot. But have it at the back of your mind that your work should be yours. It should be for your audience. It should be a combination of the things that inspire you, with a bit of “you” added to it.

A bit of you can be many things. It could be what you’ve discovered while experimenting, it could be you going against the grain. It could be you embarking on what a lot of people shy away from. Whatever that may be, let it be that which puts a smile, a question mark, or that which puts an aha! moment on your face. I think that indicates progress on this never ending journey.

Now don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always work out, but I believe the day you stop doing these things is the day the mundane creeps up in your work.

So while you check some “best practices” boxes while working, have it at the back of your mind that the mundane is your enemy.

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Art X Lagos 2019.

Art X Lagos is an annual West African Art Fair which held from the 1st to the 3rd of November 2019. It was held at the Balmoral Hall of the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos Nigeria. It is the fourth of its kind. 

Below are some of my favourite art pieces from the exhibition. All images are credited to the relevant artists. For more information please visit their website at https://artxlagos.com/

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People and their love.

People tend to take extra care doing what they love, it just shows. If you have two people on the same endeavour, with the same relative skills & experience, you can tell who loves it. It just comes through, it might not be immediately obvious but if you examine closely it shows. There is that extra labour of love in what we like. People that enjoy what they do tend to stick it out longer than those that don’t as well. So ask yourself? Do you really enjoy what you’re doing? If not, will you ever enjoy it?

It may be you don’t like the stage you’re in but the stage is required to get to your favourite part. So stick it out. If not, how fast can you can get out? If you can’t get out for the time being, what can you do to alleviate the situation? It is not all endeavours we dislike we can easily get out of, for example your day job. So what can you do to make it more interesting? It could be something as simple as listening to your favourite music while you work. We know that music can change ones mood. 

If for whatever reason it is hopeless can I recommend setting a part of your day to do what you love, it can be therapeutic in my opinion. It could be done after work. You could take up a personal project that you are passionate about. Overtime you’ll find out that you start to look forward to it and it invariably brightens your day. Thus having a positive impact on your mundane daily routine. So give it a try, what else is there to lose? Hope it helps.

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That is a really nice photograph.

“That’s a really nice photograph. You must have a great camera.”

⁃ A well-meaning friend

I love this quote, mainly because people ask this question all the time. Forgetting or not knowing that it’s really the ability to “see” that matters. This is what counts particularly in photography. What do you see ? What is the concept? What are the colours, is it a location shoot or studio shoot? How does the model come across in the image? 

It’s not just the camera, not by a long shot. The camera is just a tool at the end of the day. To help you achieve your artistic vision. Anyone can get a good camera but it takes years of practice & lots of experience to develop the skills you need to be good. It’s more important to spend time experimenting and learning what is relevant to your art than getting a new gear. At the end of the day you’ll just get the same results but at a higher expense. 

There is always something to learn and room to grow. This is a more valuable way to spend your time. I recommend you spend your money on relevant courses, on studying other artists than on new gear in this day and age where your gadget is outdated every 6 months. I mean we all know that artist who makes great art with the most mundane tools. It sure is the way to go. 

What is your take on this? Please like and comment below.

Time in your cave

The conundrum, the number of post versus the quality of posts in your social media feed. I don’t know if other artists have this problem but I do. As an artist you need time in your “cave”. It’s a time and place to learn, experiment and push your limits. 

Your audience ultimately gets to see mostly your best work. Yes, these days it’s normal for people to see how you work but I feel invariably most of them are doctored. People generally prepare a lot beforehand and they mainly just execute what was pre-planned. In truth I don’t think the audience really gets to see the amount of work done and the amount of hours put in behind the scenes. They don’t get to see the artist’s frustrations, the amount of abandoned projects, the amount of re-starts and so on. These tend to be done when one is in his/her  “cave”. 

Your time in your “cave” is important, for you to grow. Your time in your “cave” is needed for you to discover. Your time in your “cave” is important for you to learn. 

So regularly go to your “cave” and work. Yes your social media algorithm may not work in your favour because you have to get away for a while. However it is more important to produce your best work for your audience. So do that instead. It is more important. 

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Price Less Art Exhibition

So over the weekend I attended Yusuf Durodola’s art exhibition titled “Price Less” at the Lagos Nike Art Gallery, a very prominent art gallery in Lagos Nigeria. If you happen to be in Lagos, Nigeria. I highly recommend that you visit the Nike Art Gallery. It is amazing, so for Yusuf Durodola to be exhibiting his art work you know he must be good.  In my previous blog post, which you can read here. I talked about the importance of visiting art museums especially for inspiration.

As expected, I got inspired on what to do for my next set of photo shoot and art work. Gosh, I love his use of colors in each of his paintings, he also has a thing for children, especially channeling their innocence in the way he captures them, as far as I can tell. Below are my some of my favourites from his art exhibition. If you want to know more about him you can take a look at his Instagram profile, which is @yusufdurodola.