Talent is something I really appreciate in individuals and I try as much as possible to encourage as many talented people as possible, which is why “Talent Spotlight” was created; to serve as a source of inspiration to the aspiring ones or the ones who are skeptical about honing and developing their talent.
I caught up with Sumaina Ikohgode of SMKY arts on the interwebs recently and we had a little chit-chat about his talent; fine art. Although he is a graduate of Civil Engineering, he also pursues his passion in art…and did I mention he is the genius behind the animated sketch of me in my header?Read on to see his fascinating story and works.
SMKY: My name is Ikoghode Sumaina Isaac, I hail from Owan-east LGA of Edo state and I’m a graduate of Civil Engineering from the University of Benin. I love science fiction, philosophy and beer. When I’m not being an engineer I usually spend my time being a fine artist. It is with such time I have been able to start my art movement as SMKY ARTS.
Miss PH: How did your art journey begin? What got you interested in art?
SMKY: I wouldn’t say a particular thing got me interested in art. I just somehow grew into it. In primary school like all my mates, I drew a lot on my note books. My dad would always scold me for drawing inside my class note books, so I started tearing the centre pages from the books to draw where he won’t see. I believe a lot of us can relate with that. Of course that also got me in trouble.
It was a friend and then mentor; Solomon Omosuri Asowata, who rescued me when he gave me his drawing book to continue with drawings he had started himself. Man, could he draw! I was fascinated by the drawings in his drawing book that I tried to redraw every single one of them. Well, I tried.
In my trials I discovered that I could draw even more than I had thought. Soon my classmates and even school teacher took notice. My class mates would ask me to draw cartoon characters for them on their note books and my school teachers asked me to draw posters of teaching aids like the Nigerian map and flag, coat of arm and stuff like that for the class room walls. It was fun for me, so I did it with diligence. Little did I know that I was living the “pilot” of my “art journey” series.
Miss PH: How were you able to juggle studying Engineering and creating art while in school?
SMKY: It was tough and exciting at d same time, engineering as a major, needed a lot of dedication and so doing art works by the side was a distraction but I pulled it off. There were times when I really wanted to quit the art business and place all my focus on my studies, but art has always been there for me and I just couldn’t do it. When I paint, or draw a comic strip or paint kids faces for a party or do interior wall designs for a client, or paint designs on a ‘t shirt, all d worries in the world usually fades away for me. It is my own fortress of solitude. It is that place I go to for clarity. Studying engineering had a lot of trial periods and tough situations where I thought I couldnt pull it off and almost snapped, my art saved me on such countless occasions. It helped me forge ahead, so I didn’t really try to balance or juggle with them like you’ve put it. I simply accepted both aspects of myself and they both just came into play right when I needed them, as is still happening today.
Miss PH: Does your art have a specific style or message it’s trying to pass?
SMKY: Of course it has its specific style. I call it the SMKY style. Okay, I know that sounds funny. What I really mean is, in the course of my art journey I have come across a lot of art pieces by different artist. Sometimes I felt discouraged that I wasn’t as good as they were. It wasn’t until I had the epiphany that “art is expression of ones’ thought and emotions in the best way he or she can” that I was able to find my style. My art style is a combination of Heart, Mind and Skill because these are what I put into account when I try to express those thoughts and emotions which always vary with place and time.
Miss PH: What inspires your work?
SMKY: Most of my commercial works are inspired by people, time and the environment. However personally, I am inspired by the concept of creation. The idea of bringing different shapes, colours, materials, words, that may be meaningless or have a different meaning on its own, together to form one new entity is the ultimate inspiration for me.
Miss PH: What are your most important art tools/ supplies?
SMKY: I really cannot say. A painter can easily mention his paint brush, easel, pallet and paint. A graphic artist; his graphic tablet or a pencil artist; his leads. I never really had a formal education in art so I try out any genre I feel inspired to express myself in. But I have to say that the Acrylic paints and paint brushes have been trusted allies over the years. In recent times, the stylus of the Samsung galaxy note professionals is winning my heart over.
Miss PH: Is there a particular aspect of art you enjoy the most?
SMKY: It is really hard to tell because I believe every art work undergoes the same basic principles. And it just so happens that the principles behind art are what I am really in love with not necessarily the art itself.
Miss PH: Do you have any artist role model?
SMKY: Once again, owing to my flexibility in the art world, it is difficult for me to have one role model. What I have are artists I admire in any particular genre of art in which I do my expressions. For example when you talk of paintings I worship THOMAS EVANS a contemporary painter, and when it comes to comics, COMIC REPUBLIC is a big motivation (download SMKY arts first comic HERE for free).
Miss PH: What is the hardest part about being an artist in Nigeria?
SMKY: In a cultural, religious and traditional country as Nigeria, one would expect the appreciation for art to be at its peak. This may not necessarily be the case because I believe that familiarity with the concept of art has made Nigerians see art as a common idea, thus place little value on it, which is the exact situation of things in my home state. This approach alone makes the work of an artist difficult.
Miss PH: Do you have any interesting story to share from your experience as an artist?
SMKY: Come on! I have been on the story since we started this interview. My artistic journey has been one big adventure; one I believe has not even fully started. It makes me interact with people and my environment more closely than usual. When you can see through the eyes of an artist, you come to appreciate the littlest details of life, at least that’s what I feel as an artist.
Miss PH: Any final words?
SMKY: I like to thank you Miss Purpleheart for inviting me for this interview. It is an honour being with the the esteemed life and style blogger. And for the reader; know that you are all artists just like the creator, all u have to do is express yourself.