Here’s an opinion I’ve held for the longest time: people who go to med school and law school are two of the most creative sets of people. There’s neither any empirical nor logical backing to my reasoning, so you can take it with a pinch of salt. But it’s one of those opinions that I hold because I’ve come across creatives like John Nwokocha, a med student and visual artist, a lot of times.
Another opinion I now hold is is that med students are superheroes. Amidst their busy student schedules, they always find time to pursue hobbies and other interests. Most of them have side businesses and many, like John Nwokocha, are creatives who are actively creating.
In my last post about a doctor who’s doing things (read it here – “Dr George The Talk Doctor proves medical knowledge can be easy fun“), I wrote about how I believed medical school students were supposed to be all about their books. Still, John Nwokocha and his peers find a way to balance one of the most tasking courses to study with an active lifestyle.
John Nwokocha has been drawing as far back as he can remember, but med school helped him find his feet. It was in studying medicine that he began to appreciate the complexities of human features which he then represented in his art.
John Nwokocha, the medical artist
John Nwokocha is a 21-year-old visual artist and a fourth-year medical student at the University of Lagos. He started creating art, like many other visual artists, as a hobby, until he was commissioned to do something big. John has come to see art as a “language which incorporates aesthetics and creativity”. John says that what draws him to art is its “liberal nature; allowing unrestricted expression across different media.” He sees art as important to the world because it spices up everyday life.
John Nwokocha couldn’t be more spot on. Art plays a vital role in entertainment, activism, culture, aesthetics, therapy, and a whole lot of areas. Art provides a means for emotion to be conceptualised and communicated. The whole world is a big canvas in itself.
Art is incredibly time-consuming. Many visual artists spend weeks and months creating an art piece. Yet John Nwokocha manages to combine this incredibly tasking creative process with medical studies because he says that art helped him focus better.
It’s great that John Nwokocha turned to art to help him focus. And not only does it help him focus, but it also helps him makes people happy while earning a living for his time and efforts. But that’s not all that John wants his art to be. “I want to influence people positively through art, medicine, or both,” John says. “I love music and crafting, so I want to use these to create art that will impart positive values to my immediate society!” He adds with palpable enthusiasm.
That last statement made me understand that art is more than just a pen (coloured or not) on paper for John Nwokocha. It’s something that has become a part of his routine, his daily life. John lives and breathes art and being a medical student helps him appreciate this gift he has been blessed with even more. Also, like John Nwokocha, everyone and their brothers want to be a game-changer. Some change the game, and some don’t, but the fact that people are concerned enough to think about anything other than themselves is something that helps to keep the hopes of a better future alive.
I am especially confident in John Nwokocha who applies his experience in human anatomy to his art. His visual art niche is realism/surrealism and his common media is pencils and pens on paper. Realism artists pay incredible attention to their subjects. John, whose subjects till date have been mostly human, makes sure that he pays even extra attention. He takes in the features of the subject and does his best to reproduce them to scale. He makes sure to pay close attention not just because he wants to reproduce it but to enhance the subject’s features through his art.
John Nwokocha is like an architect who supervises the construction of a building he designed whenever he creates art. John keeps his art senses sharp by always trying out different techniques to increase his range and also master his realism niche. “Connection with fellow artists in your niche too is important, as well as constant practice which can make even a talentless person become a talented artist,” he says. All of these do not take away who he is at the core: someone who wants to use his art to edify the beauty of the human being.
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John Nwokocha mentored himself to the point where he is right now. He never had a teacher or anybody who he studied under, so he understands the struggle of artists who are just starting out. “Beginner artists shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the talents out there,” he says about up and coming artistes. “Everybody started somewhere.” he continues. “Start small, use materials which are available to you and be creative with them, try out different techniques and media till you find your niche/potential niche.”
“People might learn at different speeds but everyone stands a fair chance of being a great artist. Practise a lot, be patient, and enjoy the process!” he adds with more palpable enthusiasm.
Asides from his main niche which is realism, John is also a performance painter – one of those super-fast guys who can whip up a portrait in a minute or two to entertain audiences. All you have to do is follow him on YouTube to see his art videos, and on his Instagram (@the_medical_artist) to see his finished work and get inspired by this young artist.