If there was anything in particular that we took away from our interview with Adebayo Bolaji (Ade) other then meeting a truly talented, barefooted and brilliant artist, it would be that he taught us a few things about our own authenticity and honesty. When we walked into Proarta Gallery in the Enge District of Zurich Switzerland to meet with resident painter Ade, we asked him what was one of the best pieces of advice ever given to him, and we ended up coming out with some of our own.
Ade is a British painter, actor, director, and writer, residing and working in London. His unapologetic style of work not only comes from his attraction to strong features, lines and color but an unintentional inspiration of African masks. He believes this is something that has been innately distilled in him from his roots (both his parents are Nigerian).
What he paints five minutes earlier maybe completely different five minutes later and this is where the topic of authenticity is discussed.
When asked if he has a favorite piece, Ade said he definitely has a few he dislikes. The difference is that he still appreciates the piece in itself for how it came out in that moment of being true. Ade believes honesty is the most important aspect of his work because it affects his fears, the decisions he makes and the way he expresses himself onto the canvas or any other creative work he does.
THE HIGHEST TECHNIQUE IS TO HAVE NO TECHNIQUE
- BRUCE LEE
PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. Ade believes you should walk into a room and be a child first. That is how his "technique" is formed. He says, if you go into your work with an unpredicted child like mind, your true self will immediately be shown. Edit with your mature self, and you should have an accomplished piece.
Ade's style has never really changed but of course developed. In regards to the mediums he uses he has experimented but always come back to a heavy body acrylic to convey the punch in his work. The first thought is usually the best thought but to be sure he practices with others.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Scariest moment in his life?
When Ade was younger his parents, like many of our own, wanted him to be in a traditional profession (being an artist was not part of the plan!) that gained one's respect and acceptance among one's peers in society (Ade received a degree in law before becoming an artist). Despite his love and respect for his parents, he realized that living their dream out he was becoming extremely unhappy. The stress and desire to "get out" caused him to be both mentally and physically sick and this was the scary moment, that lead him down the path to what he is doing today. Although he appreciates and believes that the education he received has shaped him into the multitalented artist he is today, he did not like the pressure under which he had to do it. He no longer does things to please others and opinions are opinions people are entitled to--they don't affect him. As Ade puts it, the power of words can so strongly affect someone's state of mind, but if you believe in your own intuition then you will get to where you want to be. Being educated is important because knowledge IS power and allows you to understand and apply it to anything in life, be it creatively or academically.
Everyone has a calling and if you keep going with your intuition you will get where you want to be. - Bolaji
Check out more of his work at: