Excerpt from Y! Issue 4
This issue of Y! Magazine’s ‘My Art’ features Olumide S. Akingbade, a Nigerian-born photographer based in the United Kingdom. “I never feel completely satisfied with my work and in a way I hope never to be,” the young artist says. Read the full interview, and view some of his work below.
What is your art form?
My art is the art of making evocative images. I won’t consider myself a bonafide artist (yet) but I’m working my way towards it.
How long have you been involved in this?
I’ve been interested in imagery and illustration ever since I was a kid. My love for taking pictures, however, was realised much later, while on a trip to Cornwall, UK. I remember my Aunt and I wrestling over rights to her disposable Kodak camera. The landscape was breath-taking and I came away with some decent pictures. Since then I’ve been actively taking pictures, which would be for about six years now.
How did you get involved with this art?
I’m naturally inquisitive and nostalgic. These two features are ideal for a photographer and it was just a matter of time for a camera to find its way into my hands. At first I was shooting with a little point-and-shoot camera and then later opted for the more grainy character of film. It was just right for the mood I wanted for my pictures, and I haven’t looked back since. Besides meaningful help from exhibition visits, extensive editorial reading and a very good friend of mine who also happens to be a photographer, I am largely self-taught.
Had you always known you would do this?
There was no way I could have envisioned it. Maybe it might have been one of those childhood fantasies, but even as a kid growing up, a career as an artist was never really encouraged. Along the line I became increasingly aware of the prospect of a career as a photographer and I’m trying to carve out my own space in that respect and make a name for myself by putting out the best work I can.
If you were not doing this, you would be a…?
If I wasn’t making pictures professionally, I’d be doing it as an amateur. Either way, I’d be doing it.
What are your inspirations?
I get inspiration from all places and anything – films, music, poetry, books, paintings, random conversation, people walking by on the street – all is there for the taking.
If you could make your art appreciated anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I’d love to be appreciated at home, in Nigeria, obviously. I believe we’re making better progress in embracing our own home grown talent, and that’s very important for any art, the artist and where the art is made, not to mention the people the art is made for. My hope is that someday my work would be recognised at home, and myself and my peers would be able to make a substantial living. I pray Nigeria has a place for my art in her heart.
Where was your best job done and what was it based on?
I never feel completely satisfied with my work and in a way I hope never to be. There’s always something at the back of my mind going, “There’s more to you, you haven’t seen the best of yourself”, and I hold on to that because it keeps me on my toes.
What location do you have a positive bias for?
I’ve been shooting in London for a while now and I love wandering about the capital, getting lost and finding new people and places. I’m a tourist by nature and there’s so much in the world to see, I could pass out from sheer anticipation.
Do you think your immediate environment has any influence on your art?
I feel it’s nigh impossible for an artist not to have at least a glimmer of their environment instilled in their work. These things are so subtle though, that even the artist himself may not even realise it. Everything seeps into everything, simply.
Which individuals or places would you love to work for?
Alongside my own personal work, I’d like to do some brilliant editorial work for a good publication, with brilliant people. I’m still in talks concerning world domination. Y!