Interview with Nigerian Visual Artist Adesola Yusuf Arclight.jpg – African Digital Art

We are pleased to feature the work of digital turned visual artist Adesola Yusuf. Over the past few years we have seen his work evolve from digital collages, to digital paintings and now incorporate a blend of digital collage and traditional painting. Arclight.jpg’s work has evolved into a prolific aesthetic that is bold and visionary. We had a chance to interview him on his work a few years ago and we wanted to have a chance to share his work and portfolio.

The purpose of my work is to narrate my experiences, thoughts and my interaction with my society and how my environment affects me, it tells a tale of a Nigerian in Nigeria at a time where everything is going digital and there are abundance of information, it sheds a light on the mind of a Nigerian boy raised by the internet.

Let us begin by getting to know you Arclight.jpg, can you please tell us more about yourself, where are you from and how did you begin your journey into art.

i’m a digital artist from Lagos, Nigeria. I’ve always had an interest in art from as long as i could remember, but i came to love digital art back in 2010, because i was in love with the Naruto manga and i absolutely wanted to know how it was made, that was the first time i found out about Photoshop but my laptop at that time wasn’t big enough to run Photoshop, i found this app for phone called picsart it was in the community in this app i discovered what phone photography is and how you could use picsart to make photo manipulation, this made me interested in photo editing. It wasn’t till 2016 I got a better laptop to learn Photoshop all by myself, that was how my journey began.

Original digital collages from 2016

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? We want to know a little about the significance and scope of your work. How do you make your work? Are there particular tools/materials/software/technology that you use? Is there a connection between your process and your artwork’s message?

I really don’t have a process lol, i have like jumbled up ideas in my head, i set out to take pictures of my model and download images from free stock photo site like unsplash, i always work with both images i took and free stock photos then i look at all the pictures i have sometimes ranging from 100-200 images, its at this point the ideas become clear and i pick the images that fulfil this idea move them to Photoshop, where most of the processes take place.

The purpose of my work is to narrate my experiences, thoughts and my interaction with my society and how my environment affects me, it tells a tale of a Nigerian in Nigeria at a time where everything is going digital and there are abundance of information, it sheds a light on the mind of a Nigerian boy raised by the internet.

Does your art represent something about you, does it represent a message about the world, does it focus on history or look to the future?

Yes i think it does: a message about my experiences and where its set, there are people out there having the same experiences like i do, and its like saying they are not alone, like the internet and social media made us realize a lot of Experiences are not unique to us and a lot of people going through the same thing.

What is African art? How would you describe “african art”? What does African art mean to you? Do you think African art is important? Do you think that Africa is reflected in your work? If/so how? why not?

African art is an art made by an African, that has any of African diverse cultural elements or identity in it. I don’t think there is a distinct explanation for what African art is. A distinct explanation would be myopic, African art just need to have ‘Africa’ alive in it, and made by any African who respects what it is to be a part of any tribe or nation of the African continent. The African culture is too diverse to be able to pin a particular description to it. I believe creating art of your experience or interaction with your society in Africa is African art. It is as important as any type of art, it serves a purpose, it tells a story, it serves as a milestone, it educates, it expresses feelings.

My work does reflect Africa, it expresses the mind of a Nigerian having a Nigerian experience while chronicling these experiences that comes with living in Lagos, Nigeria and being a Nigerian as art, that’s African enough.

I attached an image below named giant, from 2018 it tells a tale of living in the economic giant of Nigeria Lagos the every day struggle in the city like driving in the desert in pursuit of making ends meet, getting by or making it. Sometimes the future looks bleak but you know the treasure is somewhere there in this city.

How have other artists or art genres influenced your sense of aesthetics?

I’d say the internet as a whole helped shape what my art has come to be, as its what even provoked me to pursue this type of art, especially pinterest where i first came across collages in 2016, i was only interested in the drawing side of digital art and retouching pictures before 2016, while surfing pinterest for digital art i found collages from Magdiel Lopez and various other artist who i don’t think had their art tagged. My artist friends have also really been a major influence. The renaissance, baroque and rococo art movement too.

I attached an image below named, Rococo its one of my art where you could see the halo is inspired by the overly ornate rococo art movement.

What role does the artist have in African society?

Artist have helped in maintaining and preserving the African culture, it helps document the African experience of when they were created, in the future people would know what it was to be a part of one of the several nations of African at this particular era, this goes for all form of art.