From a tender age, Atinuke Awotedu has always had a passion for drawing. Like most other children, that passion was shelved for a shot at formal education. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, Nigeria. However, she recovered her love for the arts during a brief period of inactivity following her graduation from the university. The artist now spends her time perfecting the art of her craft. Some of her works have been featured in an exhibition in South Africa, organized by Slow Sunday, and also in the USA. She is currently working on a series of five art pieces titled ‘face of freedom’. It’s a piece to honour our black heroes’ who fought for our freedom in time past. She resides in Lagos, Nigeria and is currently accepting commissions.
Tell us, what is the background story behind your art and how much has changed since you started drawing?
I’d like to believe every child is artistic in nature; life just happen to take away our creativity as we grow and begin to deal with its many obstacles. I started drawing as a child. Little sketches here and there. I wasn’t very vivid in imagination, but whatever I see, I could replicate or recreate. I studied Biology at the Tai-Solarin University of Education. After my NYSC in 2016, I couldn’t find a befitting job so by 2018 when push came to shove, I started drawing on commission.
A lot had changed since April 3rd 2018 when I made my first piece of commissioned portrait. To me, I just wanted to survive. I needed a means and art created an opening. Today, it has become more than just a means. It has become the only drive I have and, I dare say, the center of my purpose.
How do you feel when you begin a project? Do you feel that same way when the project ends?
Every project/piece begins with excitement, a rush of adrenaline because I always usually can’t wait to get my hands on a particular aspect of the drawing. Along the line, of course, wariness usually sets in. And at this point, I usually can’t wait to finish. However, at the end of every piece, I would stand up, take few steps backward and admire what I have created.
Portraits are a major feature in your gallery. What are the highlights you focus on when you begin a portrait and how do you realize them in your drawings?
The major places I focus on every piece are the places where light or a reflection of light touches the drawing. This places are the first touch of contact to the audience so more time is spent trying to create something as close as possible to the reference.
How has the coronavirus epidemic affected your work and patronage?
The pandemic affected my work positively. People were at home bored and had nothing to do. Being an artist, I am used to seclusion and solitude so I worked more because I realized I had a larger audience on my social media pages. So while everyone was getting entertained by social media, I was working double time to keep my audience focused on me. I posted more work progress and I realized that I had the highest growth of audience during this pandemic more than I have had since I joined those platforms.
As regards patronage, I was affected negatively. There has never been a pandemic in this lifetime so it was new to us and people didn’t know what was coming next so they were careful in parting with what they have. Art is luxury, nobody would pick art over food.
Are you working on any projects?
Yes, I am currently working on a series of 5 art pieces titled ‘face of freedom’. It’s to honor black heroes who fought for our freedom in time past.