Spotlight: David Ansah (Cozyshrt)

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During my time in Ghana, this holiday, I encountered creatives brimming and overflowing with energy, exuding a force which is characteristic of the emerging pool of talent the continent is birthing. One of such creative energy is ‘David Ansah’.

 The Father of Flowers

A notorious yet shadowy figure in Accra underground art scene who speaks few words, letting his creativity vocalize what he scarcely does.

He has a brooding mannerism, almost like he’s sad about having to be at a party where no one shares his taste in music. But beneath this veneer hides a boyish charm and an artistic genius, the likes of which few exist.

His talent and dedication to whatever craft he is applying his focus to at the time is a  showcase of how little he needs to speak. In my other Spotlights on creatives I am quick to point out the cadence of the creative’s voice; but for David Ansah, the cadence of his silence speaks loudest and sounds sweetest.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, D has touched on photography, graphic art, audio-engineering and film making. Having been in the studio with David, I reveled in the respect he commanded from his peers as they call out to him for his learned counsel: switching easily from advising a fellow producer in a project to editing a visual he had shot earlier that week, to editing photographs for someone else’s shoot, this man is a machine.

You can always count on this guy’s eye and ear.

[I swear to God on my flow]

Before the flowers, there was a pineapple under the sea..

The inception of his creativity and this nickname can be found in the recollections of secondary school, freestyling with his classmates, doodling instead of paying attention and being taunted for his love of Spongebob Squarepants. A nickname which today his peers use in a show of nostalgic affection. But during that period, he experienced bullying for his difference, his individuality which today he and his loved ones celebrate, but then, was a cause for humiliation. This social injustice is entirely normalized and hardly fought against, often placing the young in positions of self-hate and shame. Today, David fights constantly for social justice, putting themes such as masculine vulnerability in his work. The silent strength of Mr. Ansah is a testament to this fight. Surely there is probably some negative memory attached to the nickname, but if Tyrion Lannister has taught us anything, it’s that we must wear our shame as a shield, then it can never hurt us.

Cozyshrt

As @cozyshrt David is most notable for this visual work. During an over-the-phone conversation, he told me that even in his photographs there is a silence,  “a hidden meaning”, thus, this hidden meaning much like his character has a pronounced mystique. A mystique which, try as you might to make him surrender, he will never forsake.

I had asked him his priorities when it came to shooting:

 “Architecture, colors, emotions, textures, perspective and angles”, just to name a few.

As the conversation got more technical, he delved into the physics he keeps in mind when breaking down a shoot:

“..angles are powerful in telling stories when it comes to visuals. If I don’t get the right angle for my stuff I don’t shoot. When you shoot someone with the camera angle above a person it makes them vulnerable, powerless. And when you shoot with them looking down at the camera it makes them more powerful.”

And none of this is forced. He insists on letting his subject act natural, capturing the rawness in life that our, HDR cameras and augmented reality could never dream of achieving. This is not to say he has found his formula. He is adamant that this is not even his final form, something I appreciate and value greatly in an artist that already seems to have his own style, flair and artistic goals. Despite his signature manipulations, his uncompromising photography, he is bold in the face of experimentation.

He exudes a thirst for growth that does not cease, never comfortable, never satisfied with where he is. Always keeping in the back of his head that he can and will do more. This can be ascertained from the infinite ideas that spout out of his cortex. Some of which he was kind enough to share with me, ideas which, my words would only spoil the surprise by revealing. So I let them remain a mystery, much like the man behind the lens.

Kwame Barning

Kwame is an undergraduate law student in his final year. He is in a constant state of creative evolution, and as a musician his primary choice of medium is words. His topics of interest are often grandoise, "tout le monde" philosophy, covering political, cultural and historical themes.
His life's work is to see the restoration and development of Africa.
He often leaves you with more questions than answers.

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