Ebele Oladeji Osita-Michael Onwugbufor, also known as DejiDigital is a digital, illustrative/concept artist with an emphasis on 3d and character design.
Although, he has not gone into art full-time, as at the time of this interview, he, however, made it clear that he still got a lot of commissioned jobs and is working towards going full time. Right now, he is just doing his art, which is basically how he started.
Speaking on his challenges, the concept artist said, “The list is endless. Being a digital artist, you have to deal with crashes, internet issues, corrupted files and of course forgetting to save. Software and hardware upgrades can also be very expensive. Online art theft and copyright issues is a major challenge as well. Naturally, being in Nigeria has multiplied the severity of this issue many fold, but I guess it’s made up for by the fact that living full time in Nigeria has been one of the best creative decisions on my life.”
Nigeria inspires him. “As you may see from my portfolio, my art is very “black”… But not just black, more specifically, African, even more specifically, West African, and even more specifically, Yoruba. Living in Lagos has really imbedded me in a cultural hub … the sights, the sounds and the everyday interactions and experiences … driving around or just talking to old folks … so many stories, so many ideas … I can barely keep up sometimes. Going to CMS market a couple weeks before was almost a life changing experience. And if what I’m saying is confusing anyone, I should mention that I was born and grew up in London, England. More generally, I have been doing a lot of research online as regards to myths and legends from all over Pre-colonial Africa. There is so much untapped wealth and knowledge as far as new stories to tell.
Considering a project he has engaged in that made him believe in himself, Ebele says there is none specifically. “I always liked making art…. I honestly never even imagined I’d turn it into something profitable. I was content with doing it for the sake of the love of it as a hobby and just having my 9-5. I honestly love working for my parents. I’ve learned so much from them and their business. It’s also good to know where your school fees came from, you’ll appreciate it more. But really, I’ve been doing long enough (even though part time) that it’s just became one of my multiple streams of income. It’s just work, I guess. No big deal about it.”
And now, he is hoping for funds to do more. “I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on an IP I’m working on. I’m currently building up enough content that would be pitch-worthy. There’s only so much I can do by myself though. I’d like some funding, just to hire some more artists that could help out with building the world and narrative. Then when we have something solid enough, we could pitch it to a big studio to get it made or pitch it to the internet through gofundme or kickstarter. But of course I’ll need something more tangible than an Instagram account and a Facebook page. I also recently found a 3d printer. Looking forward to what I’ll be able to do with that.”
The concept artist believes it’s up to the youth to empower ourselves. “At the end of the day, young people, or any group for that matter, are ultimately made up of individuals. It is up to the individual to live the best life they can live. A lot of young people around the world seem to enjoy wallowing in sorrow and despair, protesting, wanting to change everything … but you should start with yourself. Ask yourself, what are you doing in your own life that you could stop doing that would make your own life better for you? Or what are you not doing that you could start doing that could make your own life better? If enough people did that, we’d be living in a much better place. There are a lot of opportunities out there for young people, especially with the internet. You can get a free masters level education on the internet if you use it wisely and with discipline. If your parents made it, you have no excuse. They didn’t have internet and they were living in much harsher political conditions than we are. Nigeria is a difficult place, but if you have access to the internet, you’re relatively someone who is well off.”
Reach him on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @DejiDigital