Visual Art

IyunOla Sanyaolu: My Art is Driven Towards Finding Calm in Chaos

Awarded the female Visual Artist of the year 2018, from the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, where she studied painting. IyunOla Sanyaolu is one artist who has evolved from the creative cocoon of the Nigerian artistic scene. Experimenting with various mediums, she has been able to depict that art has the ability to transform moods and emotions, whilst possessing abstract meanings to each individual or audience.

“My art explores the path of what message wants to be passed through me, because i know there is so much potential in this being. With this enigma, i explore the oil medium and spray paint, texture, colors, movements whilst being influenced by my culture, heritage, environment and thoughts,” IyunOla explains.

Hamid Ayodeji presents the excerpts:

Hi, when did you develop interest in Art?

I can’t really put a time to that, but I know it has been of interest to me for a very very long time.

What medium do you prefer and how did you come to use it as your primary one?

I really enjoy the oil medium, And I think it’s because of how flexible the medium is. It doesn’t dry quickly so I can cross my T’s , dot my I’s and later decide to uncross my T’s and undo my I’s. I have used other known mediums but I prefer Oil for now because I don’t know what medium I might experiment with next.

How long have you been making money off your artworks?

That would be for 3 years now

IyunOla Sanyaolu

Do you have any advice for someone who is aspiring to be a successful artist?

Before the advice, I’ll ask them if they truly have passion for the profession. And if they do, that means no matter the obstacle, they’ll keep striving for success. So they should try as much to avoid being heavily influenced by opinions of others and express what they genuinely want to express. Study more in other to develop the skill and find opportunities to put yourself more out there.

How would you describe your type of art?

My style of art drives towards expressionism, and that’s because it shows the emotional experience rather than the physical. So every color, movement and the likes is an out pour of inner feelings and ideas.

How do you know when it is time to curate?

My moods depict most of it, when angry, when sad, happy…or I have an ongoing project that isn’t going too well for me and I want to correct it. Sometimes, I’m just curious.

IyunOla Sanyaolu
Via @iyunola

How do you measure the amount of value you attach to your artworks?

Different factors affect this and that includes cost of materials, the idea, one’s experience, time . . . There is more but these are majors I can pick out.

How would you describe the current situation of art as a business, whereby artists get value or more for their creations in the country?

Of recent times, the art industry in Nigeria has taken a very good turn. It is more appreciated home and abroad. It’s an encouragement and makes it a more promising profession. Opportunities and recognition pour in from the overseas and that shows growth.

What sort of influence has your environment had over your Art works?

My environment is pretty polluted, and I don’t mean in its rational meaning alone. My art is an escape to these things. It is driven towards finding calm in the chaos.

IyunOla Sanyaolu

You emerged as the female visual artist of the year 2018, from the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, how has that impacted the direction and value of your art works?

Getting that recognition is an encouragement. Like we see what you do, keep up the good work type of encouragement and has driven me to keep up my good work and want to strive to achieve my goal.

Recently you exhibited your artworks during the RMB Graduate Artists Program, which featured your pieces, alongside cu-rations by the likes of Akintomide Aluko, Ayanfeoluwa Olarinde, Washington Mosadioluwa, to mention a few; how has this experience impacted your journey thus far as an artist?

This was a mind blowing experience for me as being handpicked shows they believe in me and that has made me believe in myself more!

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

I would say, hunger for more, if that can be classified as an emotion. My curiosity to know and learn and also the urge to say something.

If any, what are the challenges you come across as a creative, in this part of the world?

Definitely, finding opportunities. The opportunities available in this part of the world are too little to cater for the growing artists. To be specific, art residencies and fellowships. Something I really want to participate in, but because of the very few opportunities, I am forced to search abroad.


Photographed by: Hamid Ayodeji