AyoOluwa is the creator of the cover illustration of this month’s magazine. He is currently the Design head at Gamsole (one of African’s biggest gaming start-up), in charge of Illustration, animation, UX designs and motion graphics for the company, also doubles as the creative director at E5 Studioz.
– By Ayandola Ayanleke
AyoOluwa Nihinlola Elisha (@ayooluwaelisha), also known as AY, is a Graphics Artist, Illustrator, and Digital Art Enthusiast.
“In the early days, I did much as I could to learn – sleepless nights, working part-time, hours in cybercafés watching tutorial videos – to learn the basics of computer graphics. I joined the Facebook craze around this period which gave me an early encounter with some awesome Nigerian Digital Artists like Alagbe Adegbola, Matthias Aragbada (Dudutoonz), James Alabi (Abinibi), Tola Alabi, Jydekris Okonkwo, and few others.”
“I spent hours studying the designs of these folks and many others, trying to figure out the software and techniques they employed to achieve their designs. All these started to pay off when people started responding to designs I posted on Facebook. Approval also came from friends and family and later, from other members of the design community who were ready to comment, commend and critique my works. All these helped forged my design and career path.”
“I have always had passion for art,” AyoOluwa says. “This passion is what led to my choice of study at the University, but I was fortunate enough to be exposed to the computer system at a really early age (around 6-7 years). I was really fascinated by how the system worked and more amazed when I came across software like PowerPoint and CorelDraw. So, with my passion for arts and the discovery of these different digital software packages, I knew this was what I definitively would love to do for the rest of my life.”
“I went ahead to study Fine and Applied Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University, majoring in Graphic Designs. I also studied at Ile-Ife and later went for a one-year program in 3D Animation and Game Design at The Open Window Institute for Arts and Digital Sciences, Pretoria, South Africa.”
The Yoruba culture inspires his art. “I take a lot of inspiration from the Nigerian culture, Yoruba culture to be specific, and it has a great influence on my work. My early childhood was spent in Oyo town, Oyo State, and it gave me access to some understanding of the Yoruba culture.”
“Growing up I also had access to very good pieces of Yoruba literature like Ògbójú Ọdẹ nínú Igbó Irúnmalẹ̀ by Daniel O. Fagunwa and the Alawiye books. These really inspired me a lot, and I have always imagined them animated or illustrated.”
“I also take inspiration from Nigerian proverbs and folklore; I think they are some of the most intelligent sources of content.”
See below some of AyoOluwa’s projects
Nollywood legends is a book designed to immortalize and project the legacies of some selected Nigerian Actors and Actresses. The book is illustrated in cartooned sequences of each of these characters beautifully niched and portrayed in their cultural context; which also entails a brief history and influence of the characters.
Naija’s Tech Revolutionaries
Naija’s Tech Revolutionaries Project is aimed to celebrate individuals that have inspired young men and women across Nigeria to strive towards building successful tech solutions, in spite of the Nigerian challenges. Some of these solutions have attracted foreign attention and in some cases, investments. The project was published in partnership with Techpoint.ng.
The objective is also to give a clearer narrative about these individuals and their contributions to the Nigerian Tech space which I hope inspires the younger generations about the positive impact and possibilities in Technology space in Nigeria.
Submit your works to be selected for FreestyleX. For submissions, go here