Yinka Ilori is not your average artist, His art is unique to the constructing and up-cycling of vintage furniture.
The British born artist first gained interest in furniture while studying for a BTEC in art and design. Yinka explains, “I fell in love with chairs and furniture based on a project called ‘Our Chair’ inspired by designer Martino Gamper.”
The Italian designer Martino Gamper is particularly known for his project 100 Chairs in 100 days in which he transformed a hundred broken old chairs to new chairs in a hundred days. Similarly, Yinka also revamps old chairs with a unique touch of his background and surroundings as an artist. According to Yinka, “I always look out for interesting parables and chairs that tell me stories when I instantly look at them.”
If Chairs Could Talk was based on five chairs that told stories of five people that I grew up with and how different our lives are now.
After obtaining a BA in Product Design and Furniture from the London Metropolitan University, Yinka was able effectively combine his artistic passion with his furniture business. Although he has started to explore floor tiles, his passion lies predominantly with chairs.
Inspired by Nigerian parables, Yinka’s favourite furniture collection is called If Chairs Could Talk. It is the most notable collection featured in well-known publications such as The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard in the UK. It compromises a colourful display of intricate wooden chairs combined with fabrics, which gives the furniture a unique personality. According to Yinka, “It was a very personal collection that touched a lot of people.”
This year again Yinka is again marrying passion and business ventures. He is looking forward to participating in Indaba – Africa’s largest annual trade show, taking place in South Africa.
But his inspirations remain rather ethereal. “I sketch in my head,” he says. “I’m sure everyone can do that?”