You just can’t guess how much this 500 Level Unilag Student makes from his Artworks
“I always knew I’d make a noise. I just didn’t know how. I tried playing the guitar; tried building my poetry skills; tried dancing; tried everything. Nothing was working. I had a lot of things to say. I just knew I wasn’t meant to be like the ‘ordinary average guy’ who goes to school and gets a job and has a planned life. It was obvious there was more. So, I started to find my voice. And I stumbled into art. Art wasn’t a first option, but I knew it was the last.”
Those words have depth. Indeed, they are inspiring and portray the journey of a soul, seeking self-actualization and excellence. They are the words of Ken Nwadiogbu the 500 level student of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Lagos, Akoka, whose works of hyperrealistic Art will blow your mind.
Ken is a visual artist, who works with charcoal on paper and, at times, a little bit of collage.According to Ken, he has been able to build his skills to a considerable level, by studying the hyper-realistic works of several renowned artists, without any formal education in the arts.
Ken’s works belong to a genre of visual arts known as 3-Dimensional Hyperrealism. He calls his niche Dimensional Realism and creates his pieces with charcoal and graphite on paper/canvas, adding collage and pastel at times.
An award-winning poet and lover of music, 23-year old Ken is the second of the three children of Dr. and Mrs. Nwadiogbu. He informs Outrepreneurs he makes up to $1,000 from the sales of his artworks per month, at times. Other times, Ken makes far more, from exhibitions, personal projects and auctions.
Ken Nwadiogbu currently owns, Kenart Creation, the brand with which he produces and sells his artworks . Ken is also the founder/CEO of Artland Contemporary Limited, which aims to develop the Young- Nigerian Artists Guild. Moreover, he’s the co-founder of the largest visual artist gathering in Nigeria, aptly named Artists Connect NG.
For someone who was never an artist initially, how did the artistic streak in Ken get unleashed, you might wonder.
Ken says “I started art at the late stages of my Diploma days in UniLag, around 2013.”
He was 19 years old, then.
“Very random day, I met a fellow artist and it sparked the artist in me. I began searching, learning and working to improve myself.”
It’s been four years now in the business and the young man says “no slacking, no holding back, no pause, just pure undiluted struggle to create what is spectacular.”
In this venture, the slogan ‘no pain; no gain’ is one that Ken easily identifies with, considering the fact that he had no initial capital to start his Art venture. As a matter of fact, for him, it often meant skipping meals and sometimes living on an empty stomach, since initial capital was sourced from allowances his parents gave him for school.
“I had less eating time though, but I regret none of it,” he says. And denying himself food did not necessarily ensure that he was successful. There were still challenges.
“I did a lot of free art. A lot! At times, I charged people N1000 or N2000 naira for a full-framed piece. I was more concerned with the experience, than the financial [gains], so it burrowed into my financial strength.
“Another setback was the Nigerian Art world. There is no room to connect or understand Art except you go to an ‘art school’. There is this [apparent] stigmatization [of] artists who didn’t study Art. It was hard for a young artist like me to evolve.”
No doubt, juggling studies with Art business should pose a formidable challenge for a student working hard towards an engineering degree. Ken says he tried and tried and failed several times at this venture, but once he handed everything to God, it was a pretty smooth journey from that point.
What does he think about competition? Ken believes his art (Dimensional Realism) is different and captivating.
“The name indeed is derived from my success to conjure, with Hyperrealism, the illusion of 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional surface. My works tend to nurse a rare and undiluted expression, letting the subjects in my art communicate via their emotions. Also, my motto is Art with Definition. I try to become an activist through my art; to speak about a better life, a better consciousness and a better change. I do not see myself or my business bounded by any competitor. All I do is create valuable content and share it with the world.”
Currently, the young artpreneur does not have any staff, though he probably could afford additional hands, if ever there was a need. Again, the business has helped him to pay his bills and meet up with responsibilities.
“I can sort out my school tuition and any other extra, now. I can help out a lot both home and away,” he claims.
He plans to strengthen Artland Contemporary Limited to evolve as a company whereby Nigerians can enroll and have access to Art information, tours, exhibitions, auctions, etc.
“For me personally, to build my studio and gallery and expand my name in the Art World is the goal at hand”, he explains.
Ken Nwadiogbu has some words of encouragement for his contemporaries: “Don’t stop. Don’t slack. Don’t pause. Don’t sleep. Just keep working. I’ve grown to know that, no matter what you do, persistence, patience, and perseverance are all you need”.
Are there other Campuspreneurs out there (anywhere in Africa), whose efforts are worthy of emulation? Let’s celebrate them. Who is your favorite Campuspreneur? Let us know, now.
Cees Harmon10 Posts
Cees (pronounced Case) is on the editorial team at outrepreneurs.com. He has been in the field of journalism for 11 years and counting. He relishes Banga soup with fufu.