Gabriel O. Bello, also known as Geebelz, is a visual artist (painter); a self-taught painter to be precise.
Art for Gabriel started when he was still very little. “I see it as an inborn talent. After God, my dad inspires me on this, I love drawing cartoons and caricatures like super strikers, bat man, superman, spider man and other drawings based on my mentality then. In a nut shell, despite my passion and love for art, I still didn’t see it as something to take serious; I just felt it was a normal thing (talent). I enjoyed drawing and the fun behind it that’s all.
My colleagues used to admire my talent so much and some encouraged me to change my department because I was in commercial department. But I resisted and continue my commercial class till we all graduated secondary school. After taking JAMB twice without success to go study Banking and Finance or Business Administration, I decided to go for Art. So I took G.C.E based on Art subjects and luckily for me, I cleared all my papers and gained admission into Yaba College of Technology, Yabatech (PT) and came out with Upper Credit. Since then, I also commercialised my craft and went professional.”
Gabriel is not a stranger to challenges. “There is always challenges in everything that has a good end, Sacrifices has to be made to overcome any challenge in life. To me personally, I grew up in a family that loves art so much, but they were not comfortable with it as a profession due to the economy of the country, in comparison to other countries that value art so much. My dad inspires me a lot but still encourages me not to rely on it.”
Speaking on his sources of inspiration he says, “My inspiration comes from God first, then my parent and girl friend (Shodiya Grace) also inspire me a lot through their encouragement and love for art. I also draw inspiration from one of my big boss, Prince Saheed Adelakun; a painter, entrepreneur and also a graduate from Yabatech. He inspires me a lot through his massive works of art, his shades of colours, thread mixed media artworks and all of that.
“Again, I am inspired by Edosa Ogiugo’s works; he’s an expressionist and a realistic painter; a mentor when it comes to stokes and other forms of art. Lastly, my inspiration also comes from things around me. Sometimes, I am drawn to particular sights, I put into reality and it becomes a piece of artwork.
“I worked on a project titled “The mood in Ramadan period “, he says, talking about a project that increased his confidence. “It was a missed media work sized ¾ feet. I used twine (rope) for the background replacing almost all the things found in the background; the wood holding the canopy, the Iron Gate and wheel barrow. The work itself portrays two Hausa men peeling oranges, and having the rest of the oranges in the wheel barrow, while a buyer was standing close to buy from them. It’s a project done last year April, 2017 and it really encouraged to keep pressing on.”
The self-taught painter had a lot to say about youth empowerment. “According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 1.8 million young Nigerians enter the labour market every year. Meanwhile, employment in Nigeria is estimated at 22 percent while youth unemployment is significantly higher, at 38 percent, according to World Bank.
“In addition to the detrimental effects on a nation’s economy, unemployment and poverty are the primary causes of addiction and substance abuse by teenagers and young adults in Nigeria.
“It is therefore, without gainsaying, that there is a lot to consider by the government. Government should not just focus on one direction alone, as its usual practice. We have so many Nigerian youths with great mindset and strength out there that can help this nation move forward in every other aspect of entrepreneurship at large but there is no empowerment.
“I believe with the support and encouragements from the government, the youths can be independent and also help in developing the nation as well. Personally if the government can help in raising fund for artists that I can benefit from because I don’t have a studio yet, I do my work at home, I believe I can contribute my own quota to the development of the country.”
Connect with him via
Facebook: Joe Gabriel Ezzy