Each month ATGhousing.com interviews an Artist and showcases a few
examples of their work.
This month we had the opportunity to catch up with Nnamdi Okonkwo, please see our Q&A below and be sure to visit Nnamdi's website at
ATG: Who are you, where are you from, and where do you live?
My name is Nnamdi Okonkwo, and I presently reside in Fayetteville, Georgia, with my wife and kids. I was born in Nigeria, but was recruited to play college basketball at Brigham Young University where I also graduated with a Masters of Fine Art Degree.
ATG: Why art?
I’ve always felt that I’ve been called to be an artist, to say something necessary and of importance to the world through my art. I do art with the hope of revealing some hidden beauty and meaning to life.
ATG: How is your personality reflected in your work?
My work is simplified, joyful and full of emotion, mirroring my natural predispositions. I truly believe that when art is not contrived, it usually serves as a window to the artist’s soul.
ATG: How do you overcome creative blocks?
Because experience has taught me that at my best I’m just a channel and not the source, I am learning to be more patient with set backs such as creative blocks. I am learning that when I’m trying my best, stumbling blocks are really stepping stones to higher heights. They’ve come to help me rather than thwart me.
I usually work on more that one piece in the studio at any given time, and whenever I feel the door of creativity closing, I would stop and move on to a different piece. Inevitably, with the passage of time, I would come back to the original piece filled with new, fresh and often better ideas.
It has been said that art wants to come through the artist just as much as the artist wants to create it. So one must approach the creative process with confidence, and in a relaxed and less anxious kind of way, letting go when the well seems to run dry, and believing that it’s only a matter of time before the creative juices start flowing again.
ATG: What art do you most identify with?
I am partial to art that is stylized and simplified, and expressive of inner beauty or strength. I am drawn to art that expresses the largeness and capacity of the human soul.
ATG: Which Art Festivals do you enjoy the most?
I’ve participated in quite a few good and bad art festivals, but 3 of my favorites are, Coconut Grove Art Festival in Miami, Cherry Creek, in Denver; and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
ATG: What inspires you?
I am inspired by a need to add something of positive value to the society, and the only way I feel I can do that is through my art. I have a need to create which is fueled by my belief that my work can be of inspiration to others. I’m also inspired by excellence in any field of human endeavor. Such perfection in the work of others encourages me to pursue excellence in my work and in my life.
ATG: Professionally, what’s your goal?
I want my monumental sculptures to populate the world, and be for many people a shrine of hope and inspiration.
ATG: Personally, what’s your goal?
To be a successful husband and father, and to live a good, purposeful and inspiring life.
ATG: What's the best piece of advice you can give?
Learn humility and patience, and life will teach you every lesson that you need to be successful in any and every field of endeavour.
ATG: What themes do you persue?
I want my work to emphasize the aspects of our humanity that I find beautiful, noble and even divine. This includes the idea of love, joy and the brotherhood and interconnectedness of all man.
ATG: What's the strongest memory of your childhood?
There are, of course, lots of memories from my childhood but this one comes to mind right now:
One of my aunties who we saw about once every couple of years came to visit my family when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I had planned to surprise her with a drawing I made, hoping to win her approval.
I couldn't wait, and soon after she arrived, I proudly showed her the drawing. I was anticipating words of praise from her but was quite surprised with her reaction. She glanced for a moment at the drawing, and with a disinterested look on her face, she tossed it aside and said something that I can still hear clearly in my mind today. Calling me by name, she admonished me to cease from wasting my time in worthless ventures, and to begin to engage myself in more productive things.
ATG: What is your most inspirational place ?
Inside my studio. A close second is in the solitude of nature. Also I feel inspired wherever there is genuine love.
ATG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve been a beneficiary of many wise counsels. But one of the most precious to me with regards to art is this: Hard work, persistence and belief are indispensable on the road to success