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Visual Art

Beautiful Minds in A Flash with Zara

My bright artwork is driven by sad feelings and my dark art is driven by more happy or peaceful times. My bright art has fewer details normally, so I can’t really focus on it for too long and is just in the moment of sad or lonely. My catalog has more dark art and experimental stuff and those were mainly just curiosity and happy times. It all depends, really, Nigerian, Abuja based artist Zara Medugu, explains to theparakeetshow.com

Hamid Ayodeji exclusively for theparakeetshow writes the excerpt

What is Art to you?

Art to me is escapism from this world into your own.

What made you take your Art further, from merely a hobby to a career?

When I was still 17 years old trying to get my footing, it was the drive to be known – I wanted to be a Tavi Gevinson who was young, smart, and had an active audience who appreciated her fully. Now at 23, it’s more of a necessity. I already immerse my art in everything I do, so why not add a little price tag to it? I tried working a 9 to 5 and hated how exhausted and drained I was. I want art in all mediums to be what provides me with a comfortable enough way of life.

The reason I started art and still love it is because I get to share myself with the world and provide people this tangible piece of my experiences that they can relate to. I was giving away these moments for free (and still sometimes do), but I also realized I don’t have to be a dead artist to make a little profit or be appreciated.

What University did you graduate from and what was it like for you as a young artist?

I finished from the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel at 20, but I didn’t study art. What I read was so far off visual art, but I was young and not paying my own school fees so I couldn’t really complain. Israel was a creatively stimulating place though – I made friends with people outside the school walls who were artists, poets, musicians and creators. I was also lucky enough to work on two radio shows there that allowed me to meet and interview people who had years of experience in the creative field and who spoke candidly about how you don’t just wake up and have it all. I learned art through experimentation, I learned how to navigate the art world by listening and trying.

Any specifics on how you were able to self develop your Artistic gift asides the basic fine art in primary and secondary school?

I am grateful for the curious mind I have that allows me to always find a craft store and buy up cheap supplies, which I used to experiment. I also thank the internet for being there for me to look up more techniques, tools and mediums.

How do you know when it is time to pick up your pen or brush to start creating?

It’s like falling in love or peeing; you just have this unshakable feeling that won’t leave. I try to do something creatively once a week, write, draw or sew. Even if it’s just for myself and it’s terrible.

Also, how do you know when a piece is complete and ready to be shown to the world?

My brother told me a piece is never complete. He made these intricate posters that he would have for years and just keep adding to. A lot of artists I follow share this same sentiment. I normally don’t like to spend time on one piece or thing, so it’s really about how people react to it. If I put out something I only half-love and it doesn’t sell at a show, I know it’s because there’s something missing, so I go back and try to add to it. But anything is ready to be shown as long as you show it.

If you were able to bring back one visual artist legend, who will that be and why?

I love a lot of dead artists, but I don’t think I would bring any back. It’s like how they say ‘never meet your idols’ – their reputations already precede them in such a way that makes them seem more legendary than human. I don’t think any of them would be happy to be back anyways.

What did you think you were going to go into as a career when you were much younger?

Nope. When I was 3, I wanted to be a ballet dancer or a model; I have no coordination or confidence for either of those jobs. I’ve always drawn and had a wild mind, but visual art didn’t really hook me until I was in SS1.

What is your take on the increased appreciation and attention African Visual Artist are now receiving?

I like it because visual art and the artists are being seen and acknowledged and paid. I’m just not a super fan of the pandering I often see that comes from African artists when it comes to getting international attention. Every story is ‘look at this African making African art about Africa and the suffering of Africans’.

Why can’t I just be a Nigerian artist making goofy cartoons or abstract art about my cat or life? I say keep the attention coming, but allow us to exist outside of the negative connotations people have.

What color do you feel you connect with the most and why?

Pink always seems to follow me, but it’s really green that has my heart. It’s always either very tacky or fits right into whatever you’re doing. Sea-foam green is my favorite shade though because it reminds me of a lot of Van Gogh and Botticelli pieces. It’s comfortable and calming.

Considering how much influence emotions has over the creation of Art, which of the emotions will you say drives you the most to create your Art?

My bright artwork is driven by sad feelings and my dark art is driven by more happy or peaceful times. My bright art has fewer details normally, so I can’t really focus on it for too long and is just in the moment of sad or lonely. My catalog has more dark art and experimental stuff and those were mainly just curiosity and happy times. It all depends, really.

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