What do you know about the soul of an art piece? Do you connect to it? Can you feel the story, essence, narrative, and emotion behind each stroke? There’s something I’ve always found delicious about African Art, and it’s the magic I always felt inspired it. Africa constantly bleeds and it’s up to the creatives and artist of each generation to tell the story of how they pushed the bracket forward. It’s a delicate process of finding a unique identity and telling the story in their own way, a way they usually have to fight for but always win nonetheless.
After all is said and done, art is coming closer to us, and Artsoulkojo is something I’ve never seen before. Long before, I noticed special painters, the ones who stand the test of time lurk in styles only they can define. It’s a perfect analogy for what Artsoulkojo is, his idea of creating is entwined with his spirit, what he thinks of life and the universe we all co-exist in, nothing is taken for granted, preserving it all in exotic figures and shapes. It’s up to interpretation, you could call it crazy when you’re not looking correctly. Artsoulkojo is a Ghanian painter with a heart of gold, one leading the youths to a new art revolution defined by purity and world of its own. We caught up for a chat and it’s short, enlightening and brilliant in its own way as is everything you’ll expect Artsoulkojo to express.
Let’s start with your process.
ArtSoulKojo: I like to learn about nature and philosophies of life and death and other dimensions of the world’s habit more like questioning the realities of our world. So basically that’s what drives the concepts I develop. Some also come from the poetry I write, and things I see and experience.
How much of your environment influences the work you create?
ArtSoulKojo: All of it, I’m more in tune with what I see in my head than around me.
Okay, let’s talk about the uniqueness of your artistic style. How was it born?
ArtSoulKojo: My style came out through rough sketches during my free time. After every painting session.
How would you define it though as an artistic expression of your making?
ArtSoulKojo: I call it the ‘eyewitness’ cause I use them to represent characters that we don’t see from a universal world who dictates our lives in a way and people access them through spirituality.
You talk about the dimensions of our world a lot, art is a tool for expressing the unknown and unexplained… In your journey using art, what have you experienced that’s been a prominent center of your pieces?
ArtSoulKojo I’ve had emotional disorders that made me question my existence and I get visions too sometimes, the whole questioning of the reasons and ways the world works and why we are sustained and how we are going to exit baffles me that I use my art to express these unknown stories and worlds that keep things cohesive. It could be a scenery in my head of an event that happened that changed the future of certain events that would have gone bad and then I develop them into visual ideas.
Would you say that’s the true experience of African art, somehow accessing spiritual stories from ourselves and environment?
ArtSoulKojo: Yes indeed, our ancestral instincts Of deep insights seated within that we kinda ignore or world we experience as a result of setting spiritual practices.
I feel like we’re in one hub. In terms of experiences, art and skateboarding in Ghana are to me the same journey. Nobody recognizes it as a profession until you are successful and wealthy.
What spiritual history lies in the art of Ghana that you’ve been able to explore or tap into?
ArtSoulKojo: It’s more like telling a story of my spiritual journey, be it current or past events.
Wanna talk about the art scene growing around you in Ghana and how your pieces are moving within this growth?
ArtSoulKojo: The art scene is alive and gaining form more than ever with more young people embracing it and looking forward to more. We are still on the verge of breaking out more publicly to the average Ghanaian and changing the narratives of arts in our schools and community. For now, we are all contributing to that growth, I’m glad that my works are penetrating the market in terms of our small art community and business people here. People who are futurists enough to know how important this scene in the recent Ghanaian art world is are investing in my pieces not only to enjoy them but also to have a piece of this history and movement with them. I’m grateful for that cause it keeps me on my feet
Can you explain a few experiences that shaped your art relative to the history of your environment and how skateboarding culture also plays a role in this?
ArtSoulKojo: Will say its just the normal struggles of an artist in a space where art is not welcomed as much. It pushes you to approach things with a certain perspective first. I just came to realize more about the skate culture, when I had to work with a skate organization Surf Ghana, I feel like we’re in one hub. In terms of experiences, art and skateboarding in Ghana are to me the same journey. Nobody recognizes it as a profession until you are successful and wealthy. You gonna fail a lot of “tricks” in the start and but with great determination we overcome.
How are the kids reacting to the art spaces and ideas being created by you and your peers and do you feel there’s enough environment in terms of galleries to exhibit and show your ideas?
ArtSoulKojo: They’re excited. Always excited about anything they’ve been deprived of. There are more places willing to share their space and also listen to our ideas. You just have to be humble, make great work, and meet the right people.
What’s next for your art in terms of growth and ideologies?
ArtSoulKojo: Bigger exhibitions, bigger art pieces. Same ideologies presented differently.
You do a lot of street art as well as canvas, which do you consider more prominent in your work?
ArtSoulKojo: Use every medium to express myself, depends on how I feel.
What determines the form you use and how does street art differentiate from your canvas pieces?
ArtSoulKojo: It’s all same. I just use different ways to express my ideas. They all the same conceptualized art forms.