Interview with Ghanian pencil hyperrealism artist – Kwakwa Anthony
Here’s another Pencil hyperrealism artist I found pretty amazing. Remembered the first time I saw his work online years ago. I had to pause and zoom to see clearly, if it was photograph or hand drawn. He really caught my attention. He might not be loud but he is super dedicated and professional.
His name is KWAKWA Anthony Junior, a Ghanian hyperrealism artist. He is also a graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology, Ghana; with a degree in communication Design.
His art journey started at a very young age. He was sound academically and ambitious. He initially picked interest in science but was offered art in school. Even though he had the opportunity to change back to science, he decided to continue anyway and that was the genesis of a wonderful journey.
Me: You studied art in school or you’re a self-taught Artist?
Kwakwa: I studied art and design in the university. This gave me the basics in art; not neglecting the fact that I have also learnt a lot of things on my own through experience and hard work.
Me: What inspired you to take art as a career?
Kwakwa: I read communication design which involves a lot of computer stuffs. The pencil was the easiest tool to come by so I stuck to it, especially when I saw the works of other artists and what they were doing on campus; knew I could do something better.
Me: what’s your greatest challenge as an artist?
Kwakwa: The greatest challenge is not being paid enough for the work I do especially in Ghana. Sometimes, it can make you think of venturing into other businesses other than art.
Me: Your art works are photo-realistic, how were you able to pull that off?
Kwakwa: To achieve realism, you need to be more observant and patient. Determination is another key here.
Me: How often do you get commissions, and what challenges do you encounter selling your art?
Kwakwa: Social media is a great tool that aids me in getting commissions I must confess. Though not every month is rosy. And there are other times, commissions come often especially during occasions. The main challenge is that people are not ready to pay for the quality although they admit they are good works.
Me: How long does it take you to complete an art piece?
Kwakwa: The time depends on the size of the work. It takes 3 consecutive days to complete an A3 size paper, and a week for bigger works.
Me: As we know as an artist, not everyone encourage Art. How do you handle critics?
Kwakwa: It’s true that, not everyone will encourage art, but I don’t pay attention to their criticism. This is because I know they can’t do what I’m capable of doing. If 1000 hate me, 3000 are going to love me. I have accepted the fact that, not everybody will love me.
Me: Among all your Art piece, if you’ll choose, which of them would you call your favourite?
Kwakwa: Truthfully, I don’t have just a favorite. It would be very difficult for me to pick one out of all my art. But nevertheless, I love my conceptual pieces. “is this freedom?”, “self miner”, “murder” Because, I put in thoughts before I came up with them.
Me: What’s your future for art? Where do you see your self in the future?
Kwakwa: I think the future is bright. People especially Africans have started appreciating art. I look forward to people loving and drawing inspiration from my art, that one day, I ‘ll earn enough from even selling just a piece.
Me: Do you have a role model or someone who really inspires you?
Kwakwa: I can’t say I have a role model, but there are many artists, whose works I love and appreciate. When I started, there weren’t a lot of people to learn from on social media, so I had to stick to the tools and materials I found handy and learnt on my own; Though artists like Bright Ackwerh, Ray Styles, Fayamo, Kelvin Okafor inspires me.
Me: What Advice do you have for Artists out there who are Probably following your footstep?
Kwakwa: My advice to the young artists is that, they shouldn’t focus so much on getting the right materials; and, they should focus on getting the skill. I’m not debunking the fact that the right tools are easy to work with. But it’s not the tools that produce a good work. It’s the brain behind the tools.
Money shouldn’t be the main reason for pursuing art. They should let passion drive them, at the right time, the money will follow.
Wrapping thing up
Kwakwa has said it all, “…it’s not the tools that produce a good work, it’s the brain behind the tools”. So, while you are busy getting the right materials, you should also acquire the right knowledge and skills. I always tell other artists who ask me how long I practice everyday, that practice without the right knowledge will waste their time, money and effort. Get the right knowledge and improvement is easy. Don’t give up. Be passionate. Be ispired!