Silas Onoja: ‘My environment is my greatest source of inspiration.’

My environment inspires me every time. Seeing the daily activities of people in the society, the hustling and bustling, the good and the bad
Silas Onoja

Silas Onoja is a Nigerian Contemporary Artist born in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. He grew up as a kid who loves drawing with so much passion for the arts, and so, he went on to study Fine Art at the Benue State Polytechnic, Benue, Nigeria. His forte is creating realistic and lifelike paintings, which attract emotions and attention, and some of his paintings have been exhibited around the world.

Who or what inspires you as an an artist, Silas Onoja?

My environment inspires me every time. Seeing the daily activities of people in the society, the hustling and bustling, the good and the bad, the daily struggles of an average Nigerian, and people in general. The works of some great artists also inspire me, painters and sculptors within and outside the country. But most importantly, my environment is my greatest source of inspiration.

How long have you been doing this?

I have been drawing for a long time now – I had started drawing since I was a child. But professionally, I would say that I started painting in 2016.

How did you start making art? Did you always want to be an artist?

I didn’t want to be an artist at first, but I had always loved drawing. It was when I gained admission to study Fine Art at the University that it changed. It made me focus more on art as an important part of me and a source of livelihood.

Read Also: Art, for me, is a means of expressing myself’ – Oyedokun Ezekiel

What Does Your Artwork Represent?

My artwork represents many things. It represents hope, joy, peace, and in some cases, anxiety as well.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on? Why is it your favourite?

I don’t have anyone work in particular that I would say is my favourite, every new work I do becomes my favourite. So I have don’t have any particular painting or work that I can say is my favourite.

Your hyper-realistic art is very unique. What significance does it hold to you as an artist?

There are so many hyperrealism artists in Nigeria who use different mediums like pencils, pyrography, sculpting, amongst others – I choose to use oil on canvas as my medium. Very few Nigerians use it. Also, I use oil on canvas because it’s time-consuming and challenging. I enjoy good challenges.

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

The detailing is the hardest part of creating a painting. Detailing a painting gets to me. Sometimes, I get tired and discouraged as it takes so much time to get it done. I always want to get the best out of it, and for that reason, I have to keep working until a point of exhaustion, and then I know I’m done.

What’s the best thing about being an artist?

You’re doing what you love, and you’re getting paid for doing it. It is quite enjoyable that this is what you do for fun and you’re getting paid.

What is your dream project?

I want to have one of the biggest exhibitions and auctions ever heard of. – a show that is spoken of around the world where people can recognize the quality of work put in. It’s my dream project, and I’m actively working towards it.

If there’s one thing you could say to your younger self, what would it be?

At some point, I stopped painting because I was discouraged by a lot of people not to do it anymore, and I ended up yielding to their advice. So the one thing I’d say to my younger self is to pose the question, ‘Why did you stop drawing? And why did you listen to them?’. If I had kept pushing then, I can’t imagine where I would be by now. All the same, I’m glad I’m still pushing.

Check out Silas Onoja’s works on Instagram @silasonoja, Twitter @SilasOnoja .Prints and original paintings are available for purchase on his website


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