Gwonobe Oshioma is a fast-rising young Nigerian artist popularly known as Le Shom from Edo State. He stole the hearts of the audience at a show recently,with his live graffiti performance and realistic portrait drawings.Tthis interview first published in Vanguard Allure, the artist talked about his great love for graffiti and how far he sees it going in the Nigeria arts sphere. The interview was conducted by Linda Orakwe.
What’s Art to you?
Art is everything; art is a lifestyle. Bringing creative imaginations to reality makes me fulfilled.
Tell us about your art?
My art speaks for itself. Ever since I was a young boy, I have been intrigued by the different and unique expressions on faces. I remember looking at pictures and always asking myself why people focus their gaze the way they do; how every smile seemed unique. So I started documenting my portrait drawings with a video camera. With my humble pencil and a camera, I create a time-lapse video and walk my audience through the creation of an expression. I like it when I tell a story through art; I take the audience on a journey, keep them engaged.
How did you start?
I never received any formal training. As a kid, I was in love with comics and cartoons. I would use the back pages of my school notebook to practice my sketches. As I grew older, I started to discover new ways to express Art.
How long have you been doing graffiti?
My graffiti art rampage has been my most recent adventure. I’ve been performing Graffiti Art for about a year or two now.
How long does it take to complete a piece of work?
It depends on the concept of the design and the size of space I’m working with; it can take from 15 minutes to a couple of hours to complete a piece of art.
What inspires your work?
Everything around me; from music to environment, events, nature – things that happen every day. Even this conversation could be an inspiration to have an artist and an interviewer as a work of art; give people the opportunity to see what they mostly think about.
When was your first exhibition?
My first exhibition was at an event called ‘Pop Culture’. That event was in the summer of 2017.
What’s your idea of the event ‘Pop Culture’? How does it promote Art in Nigeria?
Pop Culture is the new generation of artists. Young, creative minds from diverse fields come together to a single platform to express Art in the form of music, fashion and fine arts. The networking atmosphere at these events is amazing. I was impressed with the ambience of the event. Honestly, for any artist, it is inspirational
How does the street influence your work and what’s the role of the street in graffiti art?
‘The street’ as they say is as good as the people in it and people are getting more aware of the beauty of street painting. Some walls have been left desolate but brought back to life through good graffiti; it’s evident in Lagos now – at bus stops and major roads. Most times, people take pictures and share with friends. Some give good comments; others criticise, it’s all encouragement.
Have you ever been discouraged due to lack of awareness in respect of your kind of art?
No, I haven’t. It hasn’t been easy but God has been my biggest promoter.
What are your plans, going forward in this field?
My ultimate goal is to influence society with my art by promoting the culture of creativity. In this light, I’m open to collaborations with individuals or organisations who share similar passion for creating a colourful and artistic experience for my audience. I am currently in collaboration with Bankhead Lifestyle as they share the same passion I have for Art.