It’s really fun meeting passionate artists who knows what they want and strife to achieve it. Today’s interview is with a humble artist from somewhere in Nigeria; Benin City to be precise. He goes by the name “Fame Identity” on Facebook and basically uses his page to showcase his gift. There is something we have in common, that’s the PEN. Famous Identity started from pencil and eventually switched to ball pen as his weapon of “mass expression”( if you know what I mean). Observing from his progress, over the years, he has exhibited tremendous level of improvement with his art.
Me: Everyone knows you as “Fame Identity”; removing the veil of “Fame Identity”, tell us more about yourself.
Famous Umobuarie: My name is Famous Ehimen Umobuarie, I was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, where I grew up as a child to being an adult today. I actually studied Fine and Applied Arts in the University (University of BENIN).
Me: Just to be clear one more time. So, you’re self-taught or you learnt the skill from University of Benin?
Famous Umobuarie: I would say YES and NO: LOL! I started drawing from the Age of five, doodling with the pencil basically as a kid. It was so much fun for me that It seemed like insanity especially when I would draw on the doors, walls of the house and get scolded for doing so. I loved drawing so much and never stopped it till today. As I grew a few mentors and tutors influenced my style of Art.
Me: Tell us when this journey started.
Famous Umobuarie: As a child I would say age 5 which means I have been drawing for 17 years now; but professionally? Hmm 2015! That’s 7 years ago I guess.
Me: I discovered you use pen in most of your work, why pen?
Famous Umobuarie: LINES! One of the elements of design. I love lines a lot in the sense that it doesn’t smudge with the Ballpoint pen. The Ballpoint pen is a humble, simple tool seen every where but so powerful; most people do not know how powerful it is. I love the pen because of it’s vividness and vibrant colour, especially in contrast; it just blows my mind away. There’s this smell of ink oozing out that I love. The ability for me to freely express what I want to put on paper is possible with lines.
Me: Are you a fan of grid-lines when sketching?
Famous Umobuarie: No! I don’t grid! Never used it before.
Me: What inspired your choice of medium?
Famous Umobuarie: A lot of amazing Ballpoint pen Artists all over the world.
Me: How often do you get commissions?
Famous Umobuarie: Often!
Me: How long does it take you to complete a commission?
Famous Umobuarie: 2weeks for a medium sized portrait! But larger drawings? Let’s say a Month! (30 days)
Me: What are the major challenges you have faced so far on this journey and how have you solved them?
Famous Umobuarie: …By not giving up! You just gotta keep pushing no matter the setbacks
Me: How do you handle critics?
Famous Umobuarie: Wholeheartedly! I’m learning, trust me.
Me: Most Fine-artists often complain that art is under-appreciated in this part of the world, What is your take?
Famous Umobuarie: Yeah True! I believe it will get better someday.
Me: Do you think art forms like this have a future in Africa?
Famous Umobuarie: Yes absolutely!
Me: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Famous Umobuarie: Still creating Art as I always Love to.
Me: Do you have any word of encouragement for Artists following your footstep?
Famous Umobuarie: DON’T GIVE UP GUYS! KEEP PUSHING!
Wrapping Things up
In every of my interview there is always something I learn. The Obvious veracity of this interview is that change never happen until you make a push. I often get questions if it was possible to improve their art skill from novice to professional, I hope you’ve gotten your answer. Keep practicing and keep pushing. Hard-work often beat talent. Be inspired!