Saturday, December 18, 2010

"My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration"

Professor Oga Steve Abah from the Theatre for Development Centre (TFDC) at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, speaks about exploration in the creative process and his inspiration that often came from folk stories that he listened to while growing up in a village in Nigeria.

What inspires you? 

I grew up in a typical rural village in Savannah region of the Middle Belt of Nigeria. I ran around the forest as a child playing, I went to the farm with my parents and watched crops grow from seed to maturity. And in that environment I listened to folk stories by the flaming fires as my parents and other adults told us stories. The stories were of life, growth, death and collective living. I knew then that I wanted to make things happen for the benefit of people because the I-syndrome was not top most in people's lives. My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration.What I set out to do later in life took off from all these

What difficulties did you encounter when you were young?

I don't know if I want to cast them as difficulties, because all of us in the village grew up in the same circumstance and it was fun! Ok, maybe I could have done with riding a bicycle seven miles to school every morning and afternoon instead of walking!  But we survived!!

Why did you decide to become an artist? 
I like the idea of expressing myself, exploring ideas and being creative instead of taking people's taken-for-granted positions on issues. And I know that the creative process allows such exploration and experimentation.

Which project are you working on right now?  

I am coordinating a project of empowering youth groups and community-based organizations in the Niger Delta to promote peace and development. Theatre for development and participatory video are the main tools in the project.
In one sentence, what advice would you give young artists if they want to pursue their dream?  

Be dogged, determined and pursue your dream of making the world better, even when it is difficult.

 Theatre for Development Centre

"Never give up" Interview with animation artist Alison Donato

Alison Donato, graduated this May from Ringling College of Art and Design's computer animation major 
 Why is art so important for you?

Like a lot of artists, ever since I was little, I loved to draw.  All of my school notebooks were full of sketches along the sides. When I was deciding to go to college, I was actually pretty indecisive. I had taken a few 3d classes in high school that had gotten me interested in animation. I ended up giving the animation path a shot and went to Ringling College of Art and Design to major in Computer Animation. While I was there, it was obvious that I had made the right choice, finally I could take a bunch of my interests (drawing, designing, computers) and combine them into a job I would enjoy. After immersing myself in art and design I grew to love and appreciate it even more, along with animation. Going to school with many others who share your interests is an awesome experience and keeps you on your toes in terms of work ethic.

What inspires you?

Lately the art blog world has been of great inspiration to me. Having a blog has helped motivate me to keep drawing, and following many other blogs and their updates is a very cool way to be inspired. Every morning I can check my Google Reader account for new art posts from some of my favorite artists I've stumbled across. Along with that, the community of artists online and in the industry is very strong and positive; I've found that most artists are willing and happy to teach and inspire other younger artists. There is a certainly a trend of passing on knowledge and advice that is very admirable. People who are just starting out can always find plenty of help, and those who are experts can always find new pupils who will be eager to seek their advice and tutelage. For anyone who wants to get inspired, I'd say to find a group of friends who have similar interests and goals as you. Find people who will always push you to be better and to not get distracted.

Your advice for young artists?

Never give up! 


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