We had a chat with Nigerian photographer and filmmaker Chukwuka Nwobi.
You use a lot of women in your art, why is that so?
Chukwuka Nwobi: For me, art is seeing the beauty and being able to express that beauty in any means you can I use a lot of females to express the beauty I see in the world and around me. These females help express a certain vibe and feel I want the world to see a persuasive and also gentle touch on beauty.
Are you big on self-expression?
Chukwuka Nwobi: Yes, definitely. I feel like as an artist self-expression is key. That’s the only way you can connect to the world as an artist, giving back what you feel visually from your own line of perspective. I’m someone who is very passionate about everything, I’m very expressive about everything. I tell my friends that they need to express themselves no matter what cause the day you stop expressing that’s the day you die and loss of consciousness.
Why do you feel the need to be a creative?
Chukwuka Nwobi: I don’t feel the need to be a creative, I feel the need to create constantly cause as long as I breathe I will always have ideas and like I said in my last response I’m a very expressive person and the day you stop expressing yourself is the day you die. So once I have an idea I have to create If I don’t the idea literately haunts me. Following me everywhere reminding me of how fucked up I am the cause if I don’t execute who will?
You’re a filmmaker, do you call yourself one? What’s the process of creating a film for you?
Chukwuka Nwobi: I’m a photojournalist transcending into being a filmmaker. The process for me. is having a structure. I make a certain short experimental film that has a flow and connection between their literal expressions and visual expression. You need to understand the beginning and the end of the film, then you can now start fitting in bits and pieces that make up the middle hence the body. But knowing the beginning and the end is very key in filmmaking.
Your experimental films always touch on the topic of youthfulness and sexuality, are those big influences on you?
Chukwuka Nwobi: Yeah. I’m a 19-year-old creative living in the steady buzzing city of Lagos, being young wild and free are key elements that make me who I am right now. And that has a social influence on my art. I’m a cult follower of indie films, over the years I’ve drowned my self into directors like Stanley Kubrick, Larry Clark, Gasper Noe, Wes Anderson & Woody Allen. All these directors have had an influence on my art and one thing they all have in common is their raw look on sex and youth. Being young is a drug and sex is just a high that comes with it.
How do you define the culture you exist in around Nigeria and Africa?
Chukwuka Nwobi: I feel like it’s changing on a very dynamic level especially for Africa. A lot of things are going to change when our generation takes over. Swear words would become a form of expression and not an abomination. People would chase their dreams no matter the social construct society or their immediate family circle wants to put them in. For our generation everyone is starting to have a voice, For our culture, everyone is becoming more open-minded to ideas and a better Africa. With our changing culture, things would be more flexible than they used to be.
You’re the creative director of Radr, tell us about that?
Chukwuka Nwobi: It’s an amazing experience, being a photojournalist I’ve always wanted to capture people on a large scale breaking into all aspects of the creative field and showcasing them in a taste and manner only I could accomplish. It’s also challenging building a face for the culture you’re currently residing in. Years from now I aim Radr at becoming an African cultural reference, like how people reference Playboy magazine to the American 90s subculture. Radr is becoming a face for the millennials and I the sculpture.
What do you say about your art and identity to minds following your work and persona?
Chukwuka Nwobi: Be you. Do you. Don’t let anyone take away your will to express.