Bolaji Olaloye, also known as Beejay art-nerd, is an artist and illustrator.
His love for drawing led him to his current career path. I have always been fascinated by cartoons and comics while growing up as a child but asides that, I loved drawing. I was always found drawing on whatever space I could find. I was even told that when I was a toddler and was asked to write alphabets and numbers, I drew instead. I am fortunate to have a supportive family who encouraged me. So I went on to study Fine and Applied Art in the university where I met with some like minds and the rest is history.”
“Challenges are part of life,” the artist says. “First, while starting out I struggled with the stereotype that artists are poor and art is not a “real job” but a mere hobby. it’s quite sad when people ask you what you’re studying and you tell them Art, the expression on their faces shows disappointment as they were expecting you to say something like Law, Medicine or Engineering . Another challenge was that school wasn’t quite giving me the specific knowledge I needed to be the kind of artist I wanted to be, however school gave me the fundamentals and basic knowledge for a start. So from my second year I focused more on personal studies and self development. It wasn’t easy combining that with my academy. That affected my grades and I was losing interest in school, but I was able to graduate.”
Bolaji is not limited by where and what he gets his inspiration from. “But to be specific, I get inspired by pop culture, music, cartoons, comics and video games. I look up to a lot of artists like; Goro Fujita, Javier Burgos, Angel Ganev to name a few, my art buddies and friends whom I met in university; Etubi Onucheyo, Mohammed Agbadi, Harrison Tombra and Ifesinachi Adrain. Also, my brother, Bunmi Olaloye, the creator of #wearenigeriancreatives movement constantly pushed me to be better.
The project that made him believe himself was a challenge by a fellow artist. “I think the first activity was Inktober challenge that was created by Jake Parker, which involved drawing from a set of given themes throughout October, 2017, using inks. I successfully completed the challenge without missing a single day. That further pushed me to take up on an even bigger challenge , to draw everyday single day (365 days) throughout 2018 and I’m proud to say that I am 3 months in and I haven’t missed a single day! The aim of this is to improve on my art and also discipline myself on consistency.”
Now, he is looking “to eventually find a place in the international animation and gaming industry also to collaborate with like minds to create something awesome.”
“The youths are the future of tomorrow,” Bolaji believes. “So I believe any country or society that is focused in giving the youth the right tools, resources and platform is by so doing, building a bright and sustainable future. Nigeria is filled with so many talents and potential especially in the creative field. The internet was taken by a huge storm when my brother Bunmi Olaloye created the #WeAreNigerianCreatives movement on Twitter. You need to see the wealth of talents and creatives that got discovered, many of which we never thought existed in this country. Empowering the Nigerian creative youths is a much needed facelift that would take this country to a different dimension entirely.”
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