Artist Interview - Victor Ajayi
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Victor Ajayi. I'm an artist and photographer from Ireland and currently based in Stockholm, Sweden.
How and when did you get into art?
I was always doodling as a kid, but it wasn't until Michael Jackson's death in 2009 that I became a lot more serious when I was ten years old.
I became a massive fan of his music, and at that age, I only started to gain access to the internet. Until then, I never knew what could be achieved when it comes to drawing, this was the first time I saw what a photorealistic drawing looked like, and I was blown away.
Around that time, there was a trend of amazing Michael Jackson fan art drawings, and being a fan and new to the possibilities of pencil on paper, I knew I wanted to draw just like that. I became obsessed with it and would strictly draw him as a subject matter until I started improving and diversifying into other things.
What's your favorite piece of art that you've created? Why?
I like to think of my artwork as my children. As a parent, you can't really choose a favorite. But if I could choose one that I enjoyed creating, it would be "Exposed."
"Exposed" was one that I enjoyed the process of creating. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and feel before creating it, like how a director would envision a scene for a movie.
From there, it was all about choosing a model who would be my actor and a setting where I want this scene to occur. From taking the reference photograph myself to it becoming its own entity on paper in the way I envisioned is what I enjoyed about this piece.
How has your practice changed over time?
My practice has changed quite a lot. Younger me was a lot more careful about the process of art. I would strive for meticulously detailed and photorealistic work with graphite pencil.
Mature me has thrown that all out the window. I'm a lot more bold, daring, and loose in my style while maintaining the details and realism where it matters. I'm finding that there are no rules and every single detail isn't necessary. I strive for simplicity, eliminating distractions to amplify the story. Less being more.
What inspires your art?
The biggest inspiration would be photography and film. When you think about it, film making, art, and photography are pretty similar. You're telling a story visually, and with photography, you're telling it in one frame, just like artwork. Filmmakers and Photographers are very advanced with story-telling. They have a deep understanding of story, composition, atmosphere, lighting.
As a photographer myself, my passion for photography and film translates into my art. I use the knowledge from photography and film and put it into my art. I strive to make my compositions resemble a scene in a movie. I view my work as a scene from a dramatic movie, paused in the moment of suspense. I like to take everything that is appealing about photography and film and put it in my artwork.
What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?
My favorite Strathmore Paper is the 400 Series Bristol Smooth. I've invested a lot into drawing paper over my years of creating art. Finding out what works and what doesn't, the 400 Series Bristol is by far the best I've tried for my style of charcoal drawing. It's smooth to the touch, allowing you to get more of a variety of edges and textures.
Why do you do what you do?
I like the idea of creating something from scratch that has never existed before and never will, as well as that creating art is like a creative visual diary entry for me of how I felt at the time, a reflection of my mind.
What art materials could you not live without?
I wouldn't live without my charcoal sachet. It's a quick way to apply large masses of charcoal on paper.
What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?
Since much of my art is black and white, I'm drawn to dark values more than color. But for the times I do oil painting, I'm drawn to reds, yellows and, blacks.
What's the best piece of art advice you've been given?
When I started posting on Instagram, I would always draw celebrities even though I didn't enjoy it that much, but I thought I had to for exposure. Then I came across this "Don't create art for other people's approval. Create art for yourself. Don't be swayed by negative or positive feedback. Feedback is their opinion, art is subjective. The most important opinion is yours."
What's one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?
My biggest art tip would be to take your own reference photos and get good at photography, understanding lighting, and composition. From taking your own reference, you’re creating the story from scratch, you have more control over the way it looks, and the art piece is entirely original, as opposed to using a photo you can find on the internet. The better you are at photography, the better the reference photos you take and the better your artwork looks.
Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?
I usually embrace it. I cover it over and create effects where it was, so It’s not much of a mistake, just a happy accident.
Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?
My biggest influence is Casey Baugh. He helped me reimagine the possibilities of creating art.
What's the most common art-related question you get from your followers?
Typically ranges from what materials I use to how I get proportions right.
Website/social media links:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/victorajayiofficial/
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/c/VictorAjayi/
Website - https://victorajayiart.com/