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“Spotlight” is a series that focuses on young Nigerian creatives and the amazing things that they’re doing in their various fields. It was started because we wanted to share their stories and individual journeys on the path to success.

This week we’re featuring an amazing digital artist, Rume Ohimor. Rume’s talent is out of this world and honestly, we’re still wondering why the whole world doesn’t know about her yet. We discovered Rume on Twitter, and when we went through her media and saw her drawings we decided that there was no way we could allow such talent to pass us by.

In her interview, she tells us about how she got into art, why she chose digital art specifically and the themes she pursues in her art.


spotlight rume

Read the interview below:

Tell us your art journey, how did you get into art?

I’ve been in visual art classes since primary school and even had to take it as one of my subjects in WAEC. The way the education system in Nigeria is set up, I just kept on having various brushes with art that I was not chanced to refuse. Hated it at the time, but I am very grateful for it now.

Why art?

I’m a very visual person. So I constantly have a million ideas running through my mind, art acts as a filter almost and allows me to focus on the ideas I can actually execute. And the feeling of being able to carry out a concept from a random daydream to something tangible and complete, having your ideas quite literally “come to life” like that? Nothing greater. Can’t get that feeling from anything else.

 

Why Digital art? 

In 2017 I fell really ill and was uncomfortable 24/7, it was one of the worst times in my life. I genuinely thought I was going to die, and digital art was always on my bucket list just as something I would one day try but never did because as a law student I told myself I didn’t have the time. But now, here I was with all the time in the world and because of how much pain I was in, it was the only thing on that list that I could really do. Downloaded a mobile app and taught myself, it was a fantastic distraction and it ultimately changed my life.

How has your art changed over time?

I think you can tell that I’m more confident now and I have a direction. When I started I was all over the place, and very unsure. It feels good to now have an art style, I know what I want to work on and what I have no business doing.

What themes do you pursue in your art?

As a black woman, I represent in equal capacity, two of the greatest minorities in the world and as a feminist in a predominantly patriarchal society, I see the representation of women through my art not only an issue of preference but an obligation. So my art is always centered on black women, usually dark-skinned. My pieces are an ode to women; their sensuality and incredible strength. That’s my theme. Any other drawings are a rarity and usually commissions.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Don’t want to come off as corny but literally every response to my work is memorable, every bit of the support I’ve gotten since I’ve started is something I can never forget. It’s overwhelming and I’m very grateful.

 

What do you do when you have a creative block? 

When art becomes your business and not just a hobby you begin to understand that creating is not really a choice anymore, it’s something you have to be very deliberate about. So I usually make an effort to get inspired by going to art pages and websites with themes that align with mine, scrolling through Pinterest, listening to music, and even just going out to eat. Experiencing new things in any way usually helps, (me at least). 

What do you like about the art world?

How expressive it lets you be and how no matter how crazy you think what you do is, there’s someone who can identify with it. There are no rules, and it’s great.

What do you dislike about the art world?

My biggest issue is probably how digital art is looked down on in comparison to traditional art, what we do requires a lot of work and effort as well.

What is your dream project?

This question threw me off balance for a bit, I really don’t know. I’m just taking things one day at a time and I’m just happy for all the projects I’ve gotten so far. Maybe working on anything with my president – Rihanna 

 

Who are your role models in the art world?

Obviously there are people whose pieces I like, whose art inspires me but, I’m definitely my only role model. Not to be cocky, but creating the type of pieces I have with just my phone and my finger as tools? I deserve a pat on the back, no one is doing what I’m doing, on the scale that I’m doing it. Not that I’ve seen anyway. So, the only person I’m looking up to is myself.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a young artist?

In Nigeria specifically, as a young artist, the odds are stacked against you in a lot of ways. For one, a lot of people don’t take what I do seriously, they are constantly trying to overwork me yet underpay me. There’s also the issue of how hard it is to break into the market here, except you’re very well-connected, it’s a losing game. And the number of sleazy men that use buying art as an excuse to harass you and be sexual, very unsettling. Then our lack of regard for intellectual property is a whole other conversation of its own, people constantly post my art without credit and some have even gone as far as attempting to reproduce it. It is also a very unstable source of income, and I happen like financial stability.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My mum always tells me to believe in myself more and stop thinking I’m not doing enough, she constantly reminds me how talented I am and a lot of my friends echo her thoughts. If only my anxiety wasn’t so much more convincing than their advice. 

How did it feel to be featured on Teen vogue?

Extremely validating, hadn’t been getting the best responses to my art for a while and I wasn’t even going to do the challenge because I didn’t feel enough, so it was a really great feeling. Had woken up to use the bathroom in the early hours of the morning when I saw the link, screamed so loudly I woke my whole house up.

 

 

What is a huge challenge that you face as a creative?

Creating is obviously the biggest issue, there’s a lot of pressure to be dynamic and constantly at the top of your game. And struggling to do that and then your content is barely getting interactions? It can get very discouraging. 


If you’d like to see more of Rume’s work, check follow her art page on Instagram  and  Twitter 

By: Dammy Eneli

See Also: Spotlight-Meet Music Producer, Siji Ewedemi

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