In the last decade, Nigerians have come to appreciate artwork a lot more than back in the days and many have gone as far as investing a lot of money in artwork, paintings e.t.c. This is also evident in the rising number of artists and their amazing artwork. A very intelligent old friend of mine; Damilola Tejuosho buzzed me recently and sent me pictures of her handmade "String Art". I was dazed when I saw them. I didn't know Dami was this artistic, I just knew she loved Maths and she was very flexible back then (so flexible her leg could touch her chin..lol). I however decided against taking in on them alone and thankfully she granted me an interview session. Here are excerpts from the interview. Please read on.
Ladiesphere: Tell us about yourself
My name is Damilola Tejuosho, I work in a bank as an IT Service Analyst. I am married with two children. I consider myself a resourceful person who is always looking out for opportunities to exploit. I am a business owner as I sell goods online.
Ladiesphere: How did you come up with this beautiful idea/concept "String Art"?
We were taught about String Art as JSS students in FGGC Ipetumodu. That's over 17 years ago. But i never did anything with it and practically forgot about the concept. The idea came back to me one morning in July 2015. At that time i was already selling goods online as my side hustle. I told myself there was no harm in trying, I went online, did a bit of research about it. The rest they say is history because I started to make them for sale after that day.
Ladiesphere: What/who inspires you to make new designs?
Though I didn't train as an artist but as products of a creative God, I believe he deposited lots of creative juices in us as human beings. Honestly, there's no limit to what can be created as String Art designs. Abstract things, real life objects, company logos, simple shapes inspire the designs I make. Sometimes the customer has something in mind as well.
Ladiesphere: How do you advertise your works?
I share pictures with my friends and colleagues. I have also put them up on my Instagram and Facebook pages. Many of the orders have been through referrals from friends.
Ladiesphere: I understand that you are an IT professional, how do you joggle both as well as the family?
Well, I would say that the things that truly excite us, are capable of keeping us up at night. I work on my designs in the evenings and during the weekends. I would start a piece and dedicate like an hour to it everyday till I complete. I am also a student as I am running an online program in IT Business Analysis. I just try to juggle my time and take the events in my strides as they come.
Ladiesphere: What were the challenges faced while starting out and how did you overcome them?
The only challenge I faced initially was relying on a carpenter to source the boards for me. He would sometimes delay or bring the board to me with blemishes. I have since changed the boards used and now source them myself.
Ladiesphere: Would you consider doing this full time in the nearest future?
Definitely, I see this growing into a full-fledged Creative Enterprise.
Ladiesphere: Where do you see yourself/art in the next 5-10 years?
I expect that my art pieces would have gained the interest of Nigerians and replaced some of the imported designs hanging on walls in offices, homes and hotels across Nigeria. I would have assembled a passionate team of creative minds and partially automated the production process for improved efficiency.
Ladiesphere: What are the growth inhibitors in your business/art and entrepreneurship generally?
Sometimes people are a bit skeptical about this art form because it is not what they're used to seeing around them. People are now more receptive of the business. I would also have loved to train a few people to join me in making them, but i am constrained because of my other engagements.
Ladiesphere: What advise do you have for young people that have discovered their talents and perhaps those that haven't out there?
There's a little seed (idea) in you waiting for you to nurture. Your idea doesn't need to be new, you only need to put your own unique spin on it.