This post is part of Edition #1 – Primer.
A black mermaid with an afro. A one-eyed half-man, half-octopus with four human arms casting a spell in a forest. Oluwafemi, a.k.a. BeeverOne is a Nigerian artist living in Germany. His art features fantastical creatures and characters and a range of real-life paintings. In this QA he shares some of his story with studio BLVCK.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Ojota to be precise. It was somewhat rough growing up there. I have to say that it was beautiful neighbourhood. Most of the people in my life now are people I met/grew up with.
How did you start painting?
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pen ?. That’s a lie, I started drumming when I figured out how to hold pens. I started drawing in nursery school when I saw one of my uncles drawing drawing batman. I was so intrigued by it and thought “maybe I can do that too”, so I tried to draw and it was trash. My uncle gave me some tips and I could draw batman and superman from my head. I kept drawing because it was fun and it was something a lot of people couldn’t do. I got better with time and just wanted to keep getting better, so I kept pushing myself. I grew up drawing a lot of “Supa Strikas” in primary school, then a lot of “demonic” beasts and beings. My parents weren’t happy with this development and it discouraged me over time. I stopped drawing the way I would normally in my second year of high school. I stopped for a year before I hit reset and tried to understand the point to my life.
I’ve also learned it’s okay to take breaks and I mean those breaks that you take and make you feel like you’re giving up on your art. At first, these breaks don’t even seem like things you initiated but they are very necessary.
Best part about what you do now?
Best part of what I do now? That’s a hard one to answer… I love creating stuff and painting takes me somewhere nothing else takes me – I feel deeply connected to myself and the feeling is amazing. I love the learning about new random things of the type of design I like to do. Almost everything I do now is directed towards getting the best version of me at any given point in time for myself and all that feels really great. Living my life for myself and finding expression in the things I do is the best part of all this for me.
Where are you in your life now?
LMAO!!! I recently dropped out of university to just “figure out” my life. It was the second time I dropped out of university! I realized I wasn’t doing any of the things I was doing for myself, so I decided to reset and start afresh. I’m currently training/studying to become a nurse and trying to work as much as I can to improve my skills and still live a healthy life, and that’s not easy. Yeah, that’s my life right now in one paragraph.
What are you doing next?
I’m really just trying to finish up my training/studies and see what life holds before I decide what exactly comes next. I want to get more into animation so I can better convey ideas to people. I also envision myself starting a studio so I can do what I love – telling visual stories, and also helping other people achieve their dreams in the art industry. It’s very hard to decisively pace these things because life throws us off course every time we think we’ve found some footing but I’m positive it’s all going to come together.
What have you learned?
There’s so much I’ve learned over the past couple of years but I’ll just go through some art/life relevant things. One of the more important things I’ve learned is that motivation isn’t magic, and in my experience, it seldom comes to you. You have to meet it halfway. You need to try first and then the wheels get rolling. I’ve also learned it’s okay to take breaks and I mean those breaks that you take and make you feel like you’re giving up on your art. At first, these breaks don’t even seem like things you initiated but they are very necessary. Your creativity is an energy that needs recharging from time to time and unless you learn how to recharge as you go through, those long breaks are necessary! I personally take those long breaks less often now because recharging as I go is even healthier for me. Another important lesson I’ve learned is that things take time, especially if you’re going to get it right. Seeing frustration as a call for a pause and time to reset has really helped me on a lot of levels. It let’s me give myself space to improve which is necessary. You can grow into a space that doesn’t exist! I think I’ll stop there for now.