Get familiar with the work of Nigerian visual artist Ugwu Samuel.
In our ‘Spotlight’ series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Ugwu Samuel, a Nigerian visual artist, using digital mediums to paint dream-like portraits of Africans. Read more about the inspirations behind his work below, and check out some of his stunning paintings underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook.
Describe your background as an artist briefly and what led to you creating art?
Growing up, I have the passion for art. I make drawings on all my exercise book for different subjects.. that was how strong my passion for art was.
Nothing else keeps me awake at night if not drawing.. I could draw using the lantern or candle light if there was no power supply (NEPA).
My first roll model was my Dad. Though he was head master in several public schools within my state (Ebonyi state) yet he draws for his personal pleasure.. when ever I draw, he loves it and praise me with good names.. When he died in 2010, my family tried to discourage me from art to do other career. The suggested law and architecture. Their pressure was so much that I nearly fell for their dictates. Though they meant well, they said artist are not wealthy and Noble profession.
Despite all odds, I went for art as a career because I was more passionate about art more than any thing else..
I gained admission into unizik, there was no one to sponsor me financially. Though my family was not well to do at that time but no one was ready to sacrifice the little money available on art career which they are not sure of return non investment .
My mum borrowed my first school fees in the first semester year one to enable me obtain a registration number towards exam. God bless her. ( I have big gift to be given to her soon) let me not go deeper on that..
In second semester year one, started hustling to feed my self and pay my school fees. I sold pure water in my residential hostel while studying as a student. In year 2, (2014) I started using my art to make money .
As a student I developed multiple streams of income with, business sales, art works and making money in several competitions.
I finally graduated as the best art student in the department of fine and applied art in 2016.
I have won many other awards which includes, BEST YOUTH ARTIST IN NIGERIA, BY NIGERIAN HERITAGE ICON AWARDS IN 2016.
I WON TOP 25 ARTIST IN NIGERIA, LIMCAF 2015.
I WON 2ND BEST STUDENT ENTREPRENEUR IN UNIZIK, ALUTA CHALLENGE 2014..
And many others..
Image courtesy of the artist.
WHAT LED ME TO CHOSE ART?
I love doing what gives me joy that’s why I chose art.
Now my family are so proud of me for sticking to my dream to be an artist despite their pressure! I LOVE THEM TO AND I HAVE FORGIVEN THEM.
The fear of being poor has made me work so hard that I can comfortably say that God has blessed me. I ride a nice car, live in fancy home and I live well. Glory be to God for raising me from grass to grace.
What are the central themes of your work?
All my art works are directed towards a life of endless possibilities.. BELIEVING IN ONES SELF FOR GREATNESS, DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE ETC. most of them are my life experiences of my struggle to become a person of reputable value in my generation.
Describe your evolution as a visual artist.
Being Artist has made me very versatile..
I do inspirational writing. I am currently a published author of the best seller book “GO FOR YOUR WEALTH”
I am currently doing an inspirational talk on 94.1 Unizik FM. Every Saturday 6:30pm to 7pm.
I also run a YouTube channel where I inspire the world to attain their greatness.
I am currently a lecturer in fine art department, Unizik . I discover how impacting and effective I could be in impacting knowledge. My students love to have me to lecture them.
No matter the additional discovered skills, I continued making and and making money from it non stop..
My major monthly income comes from my art practice an a professional Artist.
Image courtesy of the artist.
What would you describe as your best work thus far?
I don’t have a special preference over my art works.. all my art works has ( individualistic ) uniqueness..
But I actually have the best art work, THE ART WORK I AM YET TO DO IS MY BEST. WHEN I DO THAT ONE, THE NEXT BEST WOULD BE THE ONE YET UNDONE, THE CHAIN GOES ON UNTILL I SAY BYE TO LIFE AT OLD AGE.
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