One thing I have always loved about photographs is the way they speak a thousand words, tell untold stories and yet mean different things to different people who see them. One of the many few photographers who have captured my eye with their images through the act of storytelling is Asiko aka Asiko Artist.
Seeing an Asiko image makes you wonder what emotions run through his mind as he creates these images. In this interview, he shares his background, inspiration, hopes for the future and what makes him unique as a photographer.
Hi Asiko, introduce yourself.
My name is Asiko, and I am a Nigerian art photographer based in the UK. I have a degree in Chemistry and another in Bioinformatics but art has always been a passion of mine. I am self-taught having previously developed a career in the pharmaceutical industry for about 10 years. My work is inspired by culture, identity and femininity.
What attracted you to photography?
I stumbled into photography when my mum bought me a small digital camera a few years ago. I have always been interested in art and I enjoyed going to galleries and museums. I guess I had started to feed my mind before I got into photography. If she had bought me a canvas and some brushes maybe I would have ended up a painter.
What I love about photography is the ability to create a narrative or idea and document through a camera. It has been a way for me to create conversations about my identity and my African culture.
What inspires your creative process as an artist?
My process is inspired by my African heritage and more so by my Nigerian culture and identity. Being the child of two upbringings, living in Nigeria and UK, my process is informed by these two aspects.
I am also very interested in conversations about women and their space in the world. These conversations also inspire my work and are the basis for my current exhibition ‘Adorned’ at the Rele gallery.
What message do you hope for your images to pass on to its viewers?
I want to create conversations about women and African culture. I would like to catalogue our culture in a way that someone who looks at it in the future can tell the nuances and beauty of our history and traditions.
What has been the highlight of your career, thus far?
I have had a few career highlights this year; exhibiting at the Gallery of African Art and the South Bank Centre and in London, interviewed on the BBC, featured on Huffington Post and having my first solo show at Rele gallery. I am thankful for a good year.
What are your long-term goals?
To keep creating work that is important to me and work that means something. To get the work featured in prominent galleries around the world.
I would like to have contributed to photography being viewed as a legitimate form of African expression and African art.
Do you have role models in the industry, if any, how do they inspire you?
There are many people whose work inspire me in some form. Within photography, I love artists like Tim Walker, Sarah Moon because to me they exemplify the emotionally connected artist. Their work is authentic to them and that resonates with me.
If you were not into photography, what would you be doing?
I would be a film maker or artist in another medium possibly a painter.
Words you live by?
It may sound cliché but I believe in doing what you love. For many years, I didn’t follow this principle, it wasn’t until I started doing more and more of what I love that I found fulfillment and discovered who I was meant to be.