Artist Interview: Oluwatobi Adewumi, winner of the second peoples choice award Derwent Art Prize

by Cass Art

The Derwent Art Prize aims to reward excellence by showcasing the very best 2D & 3D artworks created in pencil or coloured pencil as well as water soluble, pastel, graphite and charcoal by British and International artists. Derwent, internationally renowned fine art brand, are proud to announce that the fifth instalment of the Derwent Art Prize is now open online in the form of a virtual gallery

We caught up with this second People's Choice Winner Oluwatobi Adewumi to talk about his creative journey, his work and his experience of the prize this year!

“Oluwatobi Adewumi is a Contemporary Artist who focuses on the sociocultural of the subject through his multimedia drawings. His work explores his personal journey of having been born in Nigeria then moving and assimilating into American Culture in conservative Arkansas. His drawings are between  realism/abstract figures and portraits layered out to make it simple for his audience by telling a story in a story. Some of his best tools are charcoal, and Acrylic paint which he can manipulate and use freely to bring the depth of the subject as he tackles the story behind each artwork.”

 

Scaled, Oluwatobi Adewumi

Congratulations on winning the Second People’s Choice Award in the Derwent Art Prize 2020! Could you tell us a bit about your journey as an artist?

My journey as a self taught artist has been great, but I know there is more to conquer.

With every piece of art I produce comes a story, an opportunity to provide history, a new voice, narrative, and perspective for my audience. I believe in using my artistic gift as conduit to share the stories of people and places living in a different society and cultures with a new context.  My creative process and work always leads to providing platform and information for movement to discuss values and cultural shifts in the new world. Every face has a story to tell, history behind it, questions, and beauty. The use of materials in my work is calculated.  I am often looking for avenues of the unexpected.  An ironic twist to images or things you might expect or their combinations, provoke a participant to new and perhaps unexplored territories

How have you found your experience of the prize? We’ve all had to adapt and find new ways of working and giving our creativity a platform during this time. It was a unique experience exploring the Derwent prizewinning works in a virtual session! I hope that I’ll be able to enjoy seeing it in person in the not too distant future.

The experience has been great, coming from one of the brands I work with and a new audience in London/Europe where I plan to exhibit soon, so the opportunity was right and I appreciate it

 Doublesided, Oluwatobi Adewumi

You’ve taken such a unique approach with your hyper-realistic drawing Doublesided. Could you tell us a bit more about the work and your approach?

Double sided was created out of an idea to tell a story about my muse using her face. I had to show the good and the bad side of her journey through life, the black lines represented the dark times and the clear path represent the good side of her life. Think about it: Everything in your life is defined by its comparison to something else. Night is night because it is not day. Physical pain is the opposite of not having pain. Heartbreak is the end of love while “being in love” is, umm, being in love. And so on. So then, how do you appreciate life if you have yet to feel the effects of death? How do you appreciate success if you haven’t tasted the bitter sting of failure? How do you appreciate love if you don’t know what it’s like to lose love? The polar opposites are what makes life. Without good, there is no bad; neither exists because each defines the other. This dualism is what gives us art, music, love, passion, joy and happiness, and, on the flip side, gives us war, suffering, rape, pillage, hate, and murder. Each one is defined by its contrast to something else. But the center point of the artwork is where her face which her identity came together to form an image. We all go through good and bad times is left to us to choose the what we project. The approach is to illustrate all my story in a two dimensional format but using an abstract approach  pass the message to my audience.

Third Eye, Oluwatobi Adewumi

What materials do you enjoy working with? 

I work with a lots of materials, but I enjoy with Derwent pencils, General pencils/pastel, Winsor & Newton brushes, Faber castell pencils, Caran Dache the list is endless.

Thanks for taking the time to chat Oluwatobi! We're looking forward to seeing more of your work when you exhibit in London

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