Adebayo Bolaji

Adebayo Bolaji is an artist among other professions such as actor, writer and director. Born 1983 in London, where he currently works and resides, he is of Nigerian descent. One of his main qualities to his working theory is honesty and play. He believes it is important to maintain a childlike rhythm, to utilise its rich unpredictable and truthful qualities.

“Ade believes you should walk into a room and be a child first. That is how his “technique” is formed. He says, if you go into your work with an unpredicted child like mind, your true self will immediately be shown.  Edit with your mature self, and you should have an accomplished piece.” The Quater Concept Interview

His influences derive from life, music and environments, but more specifically from artists such as Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jean Dubuffet.

Here is a collection of images taken from both Bolaji’s website and The Quater Concept’s Interview.

I discovered him on Instagram and began exploring his website, where I came across OCHRE PRESS, a London based arts media collective started in September 2017, whose focus is representing emerging artists and writers. Bolaji has published a limited edition poetry book through this collective, producing 3 versions. 2 more expensive versions with different covers, and a less expensive version. Another artist on their site who I knew the name of was artist Daisy Parris, a person who I also adore.

Bolaji also has a Youtube channel which contains clips of his multi-platform work, I particularly enjoy this video of him working:

When comprehending what it is about Bolaji’s artwork which I am drawn to, I realise it might just be all aspects of it. Not only the outcome, but also the process. The rich visual language, confident clashes of vibrance met with uneasy and immature trails of line. The use of the figure, predominately faces, met with snippets of written text interwoven by layers of textured colour, coexisting with fragmented unity to create strong solid compositions.

Something I thoroughly enjoy about discovering artists of this era is the abundance of information to be easily accessed. One of my favourite things is to be able to watch them work. To see a clip of an artist who I admire working is so insightful and inspiring, not just on a practical and technical level but it can completely change how I view the works (of any artist for that matter). To see the energy, the rhythm, the habits and techniques, and to attempt to understand the decision making process. I am definitely a fan and supported of the process being just as important, if not more so, then the outcome. Without the process, there would be no outcome. To go to a gallery and see a finished piece of artwork is insightful and astounding no doubt about it. But to be able to see the thought and process to getting to that outcome is somewhat more impressive and almost more valuable. It allows a relationship with the artist to be more personal. However obviously this cannot truly exist alongside the finished result, unless documented and expressed through moving or static image. This is perhaps the main reason why I utilise Instagram so much. It provides a ‘real’ insight into the lives and works of creators. It provides a personal live feed of their work and their life. It breaks down notions of us and them, humanising and bridging the gap.


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