Dipo Doherty is a new generation artist, with skills and techniques that speak globally. He is on the journey to becoming the Picasso of our time.
Tell us about yourself, growing up, family background, education and all?
I grew up in a family full of culture and history. I can literally trace my family lineage back to 5 generations, which I thought was amazing. During my time in primary school I’d take my art class so serious because of the cathartic feeling I got from drawing. I mean we were drawing huts back then but I will take it so seriously!
What do you do for a living?
I’m an IT Business Analyst, but I still spend a great deal of time in the Art Industry
Please fill us in on your artistic journey?
My artistic career started of way back in my formative years in secondary school. I deeply enjoyed the art of technical drawing- being in a meditative state of understanding 3D forms and representing them on 2D surfaces with so much detail. I think that was where the cement of my artistic character began hardening. Then there was a hiatus of a few years till college where my art interests began pouring out again. I’d always visit the galleries in New York; that’s where I got my first exposure to Post war American art. That was the awakening moment. I began reaching both organic and synthetic forms using machine elements and organic matter. You could say my work is a marriage of both fields.
Which of your many jobs excite you the most?
By all means Art. I find Art being the great connector to all human disciplines: Philosophy, History, Sociology, Science, and of course Mathematics and Geometry. For me, to be able to learn and grow by discovering abstract ways of expressing ideas with a limitless toolbox is simply emancipating.
What other areas of your career are you looking to explore?
I’m really keen on bringing my technology experience to my artistic practice. The IT industry is becoming more immersive and deeply linked into our lives in many ways. Exploring the possibilities in creating an immersive artistic experience will be great.
What has been the highest and lowest point of your career?
For the time being, the highest point would most likely be my solo exhibition at Nike Arts Gallery in 2015. It was a personal reaffirmation of my path as an artist. The lowest would be the beginning of my practice in 2012, while I was creating a new aesthetic for my art. My work takes a great deal of discipline and precision, qualities that took me 3 years to build to take my art to where it is right now. It’s a process that’s still being refined every day. I’m a huge believer in the Eastern beliefs of Taoism and as Socrates said once ‘The undisciplined life is an insane life’.
What are the plans for the future?
There are a few collaborations in the pipeline with some great fashion houses in Lagos. I feel the fashion industry would enjoy what I’ll be bringing to the table. There is also a book project in the works.
What does it mean to be a young creative/artist?
It means being daring, it means being true to your craft, it means carrying the responsibility of your heritage, it means a great deal of things. But above all it means staying true to you.
Is there anything you’ve done as an artist that you wish you did not do?
Trying as many things as possible as early as possible is what I wish I had done. The journey to self-discovery is a fully conscious and difficult one, but the journey to self-fulfillment is more fun, passive and adventurous. You tend to have more faith that things would work out. Parents in our society don’t really encourage enough self-discovery or purpose building early in life. They tell their kids to ‘play it safe’ and be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. The result is a graduate in the workforce without any sense of purpose.
What do you believe differentiates your work from the rest of the industry?
My work is truly about the transcendence of oneself. It reaches its completion in the mind of the viewer. I do a great deal of research in forms and studies, especially in cultures with rich architectural backgrounds, to get the right balance of geometry and form. This in turn produces a well-balanced work in form, detail and rhetoric.
What are your thoughts on the future of the Nigerian Art market?
It’s still quite nascent and blurry in its formation, but a good thing is the initiative the society is taking to restore the appreciation once had for it. People consume more local cultural content than a decade ago, be it in music, film, performance or case in point, Fine arts. But I do believe for it to be part of the ‘mainstream consciousness’ it would need to influence the other thriving creative industries. That’s why dynamism is so important in art.
At your debut solo exhibition ‘Coherence In Duality’ at the Nike Arts Galley, Madam Nike Davis Okudaye, referred to you as the ‘African Picasso’, how does that make you feel?
I was quite humbled when I heard about this! I hear many critics say my work reminds them of the cubist masters, and I guess I could see that. Picasso broke norms and most importantly, he was relentless. He literally made and average of 2 works every day of his natural life. I believe this will is truly what drove him to such a revered status in the art world. It is in this respect I would like to trail blaze African art to a global level in a way never seen before.
What’s the major motivation about your art?
It’s the Existential feeling it gives me. I feel it’s leading me to a greater realization of my nature and that of the world. And I hope I can usher any observer of my works to that state.
You can follow the works of this young creative on his social media pages, on Instagram @kingdips and on Twitter @DipoDoherty