PGI March Feature: LAWYARTIST
The day I stumbled on Lawyartist's Instagram page, it was like #throwback on steroids! I took a delightfully dizzy one hour journey through the funky 1990's and early 2000's, skipping through this crazy kaleidoscope vortex of my favorite cartoon characters, all in in vibrant color; Inspector Gadget, Mario, Sonic, Speedy Gonzalez, JackJack Incredible, Pinky& the Brain, Johnny Bravo, even Cheshire Cat, for whom I have an unnatural dislike. Lol! They all felt so alive and real! I could almost touch them....and I tried. Even that cat *side stare*
Lawyartist is Adetunji Muiz Onibanjo and our March PGI feature! He's a practicing Lawyer and Artist. He is a complete riot and uber-talented! I see his work on the walls of my kids' rooms when the time comes! Here's our fun chat below! Enjoy!
What song describes you at 5.30am?
Survivor’s 'Eye of the Tiger' on weekdays and Ty Dolla’s 'Or Nah' on free weekends.
Please describe your art?
Mixed media, as I rarely restrict myself to one medium. When I have just an hour to spare, it’s almost always just graphite pencils and ink. A couple more hours on my hands and I usually add some colour (alcohol markers, oil/wax artist pencils, water colour). I aim to master digital art this year as well. *fingers crossed*
Lawyartist was One a few days ago! Could you please describe the last one year, asLawyartist, in three words? (This interview was conducted in January 2016)
Consistency. Experiments. Shock!
At what age did you begin to sketch/paint? What/Who encouraged you to continue?In what tangible ways have you developed this talent?
I have drawn/coloured since my earliest memories. It’s weird because I never thought my talent was anything special until I noticed my friends’ stick figures remained the same over the years.
Although my parents encouraged me to draw and colour early on, I’d say my first motivation was a rivalry. A primary and secondary school rivalry I had with a now late friend, Dapo ‘Stunna’ Adenuga (RIP). We were both extremely competitive and always trying to outdraw one another. It has also always given me joy to draw things, especially cartoons I watched or was just fond of as a child.
I have developed this talent over the last year by being consistent (drawing every single day for the last six months and every other day for the preceding six months), watching videos on YouTube, stalking my favourite artists on Instagram and most of all by the dreaded but trustworthy Messrs. Trial and Error.
What do you do with your drawings once you are done working on them?
Typically, I store them safely away in my portfolio or folder. If it’s graphite based, I spray it with an aerosol fixative first, to avoid smudging. If it’s a commissioned piece, I inform the client and have it framed, picked up, posted or hand delivered as the case may be. Sometimes high quality prints of my work are made upon completion, these are also for sale.
Lastly, I flip through my body of work periodically to see what I could have done better and how far I have come. Self-assessment is crucial.
What does your creative workspace look like?
Oh dear, it depends, you know. Over this last year I traveled a little more than usual, so my workspace has had to go mobile several times. Quite a few of my best pieces started on a moving train (shout-out to EastMidlands trains), others on a friend’s desk or in the school library. Wherever I set up, I prefer to have my sketching glove (a glove that partially covers my drawing hand to prevent it staining the paper), 0.3mm mechanical HB pencil, clipboard/sketchbook and good lighting. It’s simple, if you don’t have your standards, the overall quality of your art will suffer.
During the art process, my desk is usually messy, I clean up after I finish each piece and then mess it up again during the next one. It’s a cycle.
How do you balance being an Artist with being a Lawyer? I'm assuming they are both time consuming?
Your assumption is correct, this is the question. I will say this however; I love both art and law. They are both huge chunks of my life and personality, they both stand for different sides of me, so balancing them is super-tricky but a must. Lawyartist was born over the winter of my masters programme and existed side by side by all my seminars, essays, examinations and dissertation. As the Almighty and my efforts would have it, I triumphed.
This year sees me return to full time legal practice (i.e. a real life Harvey Specter, without the unrealistic fun) while remaining The Lawyartist. This will definitely test my limits but I am prepared to keep the healthy balance going.
If you could go somewhere, anywhere in the world, and sketch all day, where will it be?
The Louvre, Paris, never been there but it looks like inspiration will find you once you get there.
What are your creative work must-haves?
My favourite music playlist, TV show or movie I like and have already watched playing in the background. Already watched so I don’t have to pay attention to it at the detriment of what I’m drawing. Drawn a lot to shows like Sons of Anarchy, yesterday it was Boardwalk Empire Season 1, Episodes 3-5.
Thus, I usually prefer to have two screens if I’m drawing for long, my iPad and MacBook or my MacBook and my old laptop. One screen to search/display sources of inspiration and the other to show my slight distraction i.e. a video/my Twitter timeline (those guys are so funny). When no screens are available, the Drawing playlist on Spotify will do, highly recommended. Sharp pencils are also a must (which is why I prefer mechanical pencils for sketching, they don’t get blunt, just click).
Those cotton buds! Lol! Where did you learn to smudge with those?
I just improvised one day when I was too frustrated to sharpen a proper blending stump or as they are called 'tortillions'. It’s a bad habit, which has stuck.
Don’t worry, I have clean ears, I promise. I think.
What location/time do you get most of your ideas? [Examples of answers: on a run, driving, the shower, on the toilet seat]
All of the above, inspiration is such a strange creature.
Do you ever have a creative block? What do you do?
Well right now, I’m just trying to become a pretty sick artist so not every drawing is entirely creative. I make my own characters and concepts occasionally but primarily focus on old school cartoons and themes to draw, so I don’t have to be creative every single day (yes, remember Lawyartist draws every single day even after work).
However, even drawing something that already exists has its ‘block’ periods. So what do I do? I either watch a movie to ease up or if that isn’t feasible I look for something I would ordinarily really feel like drawing and force myself because I have an endgame in sight for my art. I have to be epic.
What/Who is your most recurrent muse?
I’ll categorise them for clarity sake:
Artist muse: There are sooooo many, mostly itsbirdy, Art_of_Supershinobi and Adxnna.
Fashion muse: Fisayo Longe, Estaregrams and TheOrangeNerd of OrangeCulture.
Cartoon muse: Stewie from Family Guy
What's the longest time you've spent on a piece?
A total of 18 hours, in four sessions. It was an Iron man oil pencil piece.
What is the quirkiest thing about you?
My thought process.
Who is your favorite TV villain, present or past?
So tough, it’s between Bane and The Joker from The Dark Knight Trilogy. Recently, Kylo Ren from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens became number three. If I had to pick one, it would be Bane. Kylo Ren’s getup though, so coooooool!
Any other hobbies?
I am a former gym rat that now does home workouts. I run long distances, skip, swim and occasionally play basketball and football.
What app do you use the most on your phone?
Since Lawyartist’s inception, it’s been Instagram, easily. Spotify, Twitter and my Dictionary.com app are not far behind.
What do you feed your inner child? How do you keep your playful self alive? Do you watch cartoons/ animations?
Spot on, I feed my inner child anime and my favourite movies. It’s weird because I draw cartoons way more than I watch them, especially the new ones. e.g. Adventure Time, The Regular show, Frozen etc.
What are you reading these days?
I need to do better in this regard as I used to be an avid reader. Today, I read NatGeo’s 100 Events That Changed The World. Once work resumes in a couple of weeks, it will be court cases and case reports etc.
What would you rather be reading?
A billion zeros in my bank account. In Pounds.
Lagos or London?
What do you love about Lagos?
Its unpredictability (such a gift and a curse). Both of Lawyartist’s parents are from Lagos, so it’s truly home.
Pounded yam or Amala?
You saved the toughest choice for last. ARGHHHH, URGGGGGH, Amala, forgive me.
Thank you so much, Lawyartist for this fun interview and for inspiring through your work and aspirations!
4 Things I learnt!
1. That someone else agrees with me on Kylo Ren's outfit! If I could, I'd wear it as Pj's. Looking dope in my sleep
2. "If you don't have standards, the quality of your work will suffer."
3. Cotton buds make amazing smudging blenders! After this interview, I tried using cotton buds (q-tips) to smudge my eye-pencil on my lower lash line! Thanks Lawyartist, for the unintentional makeup hack.
4. Believe in what you do, do not stop, ever, ever and cyber-stalk your fave cyber-mentors. *Grin*
If you'd like to contact or connect with LAWYARTIST, you can! Please find his contact details below!
Phone number: +2348129402878
Instagram art pages: www.instagram.com/lawyartist
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/thelawyartist
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