If you had to spend the rest of your life illustrating one book, what would it be? Why?
I suppose I'm sort of a one trick pony, but if it was for the rest of my life it would have to be some sort of compendium or collection of West African/ Yoruba myths, tales, and legends type of book. I would be able to work on it with my brother as both of us have already discussed such a project. It would be a great alternative to animation, although it might not reach as wide an audience as I'd hope, and it would be a great way to showcase aspects of a culture and its nuances that I haven't seen in much of any worthwhile media at all. I suppose that part of the allure is that it is pretty much an untapped goldmine and their seem to be no limitations besides my own imagination and effort that could possibly ruin the venture. Finally I'd like it to have a style that's unique to me or my brother, something that doesn't say 'Africa' in the stereotypically depressing sense. I expect it would have a great balance of humor and light-heartedness interspersed with some socio-political problems that face the countries of West Africa. Also it would take on experimental graphic novel formats as well as encyclopedia/compendium style illustrations and info about intersting characters, history and places in West Africa. If it got good enough, i definitely wouldn't mind hiring guest artists to illustrate some stories or characters e.g Jason Shawn Alexander. I think I would like the magazine to be called Ase, which is Yoruba for life force/soul/ spirit.
If you could go apprentice with any two artists in the history of the world, who would they be? Why?
August Rodin because of his unique insight into the human form and it's expression on paper and in sculpture and Edmund Dulac to understand his color theory and most of his techniques.
If you were banned from the art world, but could have any career you wanted that wasn't in art, what would it be? Why?
Architecture is art so that's out of the question, so probably archeology, which was actually one of the first ever career aspirations I developed in elementary school. I guess its part romanticism, part love for all things history and science, plus I'd get to travel.
Describe the project you would propose under the following circumstances. Describe the project in detail: what would it be, how would you spend the money, how would you schedule the time alloted, and how would the work be presented upon completion? 1) You have one month and one thousand dollars (all of which must be spent on art expenses). 2) Six months and ten thousand dollars. 3) One year and one hundred thousand dollars.
1. I would create a large wall sized banner (10x30) consisting of illustrations of unique scenes in Lagos and its denizens in one of the major markets in the 90s. Either Oshodi, Tejuosho, Mushin would be depicted with heightened reality (mental exagerations) highlighting positive and negative aspects of society all set against the backdrop of the tumultuous time of Military government. First I'd buy a large HDMi 30 inch monitor ($400), then I'd hook it up to my existing computer, buy some good paper ($50), a $150 scanner and then the rest would be for its printing. I would spend a week doing research and sketches, then execute the piece in 2 weeks, and leave the rest of the time for printing and set up hopefully presented in a safe public space that is not a gallery.
2. A 2 part 200 page graphic novel based on the life of the two historic kings of Mali, Sundiata and Songai. I'd spend the first month traveling to Mali, taking reference pictures, buying books, visiting relevant sites and the history relating to the story doing preparatory sketches along the way. That whole trip would cost about $3500 or so. I'd spend 2 weeks writing the story, revising it if need be over the months. I would send the script, research and sketches to publishers at this point. Upon approval or interest from a publisher I'd spend $3000 on materials (computer, software, ink, paper, paint, etc) and get to work over the next 4 months. I'd spend the rest of the money on replenishing materials and printing tests of the book. Hopefully if there would be time and money left I'd make more sketches and presentation illustrations that could accompany the book. I'd send off a test copy to the publishers relating to them that I'd like to overlook the presentation of the book, cross my fingers and hope for the best.
3. A 20- 35 minute animated short of course, based on a story that I've been writing recently about a girl from a middle class Lagosian family who gets kidnapped and apparently left in a ancient forest of spirits outside of the city. The first 2 months would be used for the script, concept art storyboard and animatic. The next 6 months will be used for animation, modelling, and the final four months will be for rendering, lighting, sound, and post production work. I would need to acquire equipment and software needed for the project ($25000). I'd need to hire three animators, a concept artist, a sound technician, and composer, which would require 11 months of salary for the animators and concept artist ($1000 a month), and 6 months of pay for the sound technician ($1000 a month) and $1500 for 3 months for the composer's services ($43500 in total). $6000 for a year of utilities, $8000 for lunches and other activities throughout the year, and $2000 to backup information on external and secure servers. The $15500 left would be used to find market and generate interest in the animation, and entering it into film festivals and competitions world wide trying to get it as much publicity as possible. Hopefully it'll end up in enough theatres in the world to generate interest for a DVD/ Digital distribution release.