Thursday, October 8, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Adebanji Alade

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Adebanji's painting, "Urban Shadows Highlights III" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


Adebanji has sketched and painted almost all his life and he currently works full time as a painter from his studio in Chelsea, London. Whether he works indoors or outdoors, he strives to bring the life, vitality and movement of 'the sketch' into his paintings. He sometimes refers to his paintings as colour sketches as they capture the feelings of the scene as seen with all the life in it!

He is currently an Associate Member of The Royal Institute of Oil Painters. His works have been exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Society of British Artists, The Pastel Society and The Royal Institute of Oil Painters. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting in college. It was part of the course in General Art at Yaba College of Technology in Nigeria (1992-1997). I never really got the hang of it because I just loved to draw. But what really got me hooked was when one of my lecturers did a demonstration for us in the class. That was it! I saw his procedure, replicated the procedure any time I went out to paint and it worked!!

Urban Shadows Highlights III
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Adebanji's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Yes, I did have a major stop-start in my art career. It was when I left Nigeria in 1999 to resettle in England (I was Born in England in 1972, my parents took me to Nigeria in 1980, I didn't come back until 1999). It was a great culture shock. I came back to England with so many of my African paintings but they didn't get any recognition. I was so discouraged for almost 4 years!! I just couldn't see the point. Then I decided to change my subject matter, I decided to paint English scenes too! And that was it!! People responded in England and they started buying and I also started winning a few major art competitions!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have experimented with all mediums. Oil, acrylic, watercolour, pastel, charcoal, pencil and coloured pencils, and mixed media. I mainly love to paint people and places. I love the play of light and shade on people's faces. I love beauty, moods, emotions, texture on human faces. I also like people in general, I mean lots of people, crowded people, people congested in lots of places! I also love places -the mood in a place, the light and shadows, the effect of rain and reflections on a place and just painting a place for it's beauty and historical importance!

Human Congestion
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I seem to have stuck mainly with oil and acrylic and the occasional pencil or charcoal piece. I seem to have done less of watercolour and pastel through the years. But I have a love for mixed media and I'll occasionally do that too.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I'm looking forward to exploring the combination of acrylic or oil with coloured pencils and ink, I love to draw into a painting! I want to infuse some energy into paintings with the marks, energy and effects of drawing!

Evening Light Leadenhall Market II
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

My inspiration comes from what God has created! The natural world!!! But to be precise... people and places inspire me!! I just can't hold back walking through life once I leave the door of my house. Everything around catches my attention and I'm constantly sketching every single day (I'm an addictive sketcher). I love sketching people on public transport, I get a buzz from that and sketching inspires me to explore, which then leads to making more and more art!

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks subtle and dangerous! I don't like to say this, but I used to be a professional procrastinator. It was the fear of failure, I'll do every other thing apart from painting and drawing. I'll clean, arrange and tidy the house and studio, watch art videos, read art books and magazines, go to galleries, browse and search the web for great artists and great sites, I'll buy art materials and lots of art materials, I'll talk about it BUT never really do it! But I started listening to motivational tapes by Dr Eric Thomas, Les Brown and TD Jakes and they basically got me hooked on the power of delivering and executing. They got me out of the fear-failure mindset!

After the Rain Towards Trafalgar Square
(click to view)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

The main one that works for me is to have black surfaces all around my studio, staring at blank surfaces makes me want to paint. The other one is simple, just never think about it, just get straight to the studio and do it! I no longer follow my feelings, I just follow the facts and the fact is, I have to make more art. I'm no good with routines but I am a firm believer in setting targets and meeting them. The feeling of setting a goal and achieving it makes me feel better and do better!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I arrive at ideas for paintings by walking around with a curious mind. I'm constantly thinking, "How would that look on a canvas?" I've now become obsessed with taking millions or photos and insane sketching... just to keep generating ideas.

The Cromer Pier
(click to view)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I keep my art fresh through constant sketching! I go around with the mind and soul of a sketch hunter, sketching everything that catches my attention and inspires me! That process helps me never ever have a need for new subject matter or variations in a subject matter. I am constantly sketching. As mentioned earlier, I am an addictive sketcher! Also, whenever I notice I am getting into routine, I simply try out a new medium or a new surface or a new subject that I haven't explored in a while.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

As an artist, I am learning more about the power of having a motivated and positive mindset. I never knew how important this was in the past. But now I am beginning to realize that success on the canvas comes more from the success of my thinking. I have completely changed my mindset about painting, sales and exhibiting. It's a process and I am beginning to realize more and more, everyday, that, "If you think you can or think you can't, you are most probably right." - Henry Ford

The African Doll
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

The one thing that gives me the greatest joy in my art, is not actually the painting. It's the sketching! Every time I bring out a new sketchbook, I SMILE, because I know it's going to be full of exciting adventures!!!

What advice would you give to any artist today?

That would be clear - BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. The greatest thing we lack as artists is self confidence. Once we loose our confidence, it all goes pear shaped from there! The next one would be, "SKETCH, SKETCH, SKETCH, DRAW, DRAW, DRAW!"

Thanks, Adebanji!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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