It’s easy to wax poetic about art even without any real understanding. In this day and age, you’re just a few Google searches away from being a genius.
Oh, the Glory of Rembrandt! The genius of Van Gogh and so on and so forth.
Except it’s in the mainstream, art goes on largely unnoticed. If you doubt this, consider that Van Gogh died in penury and Oresegun Olumide, the Nigerian painter hogging headlines had his works in public for over two years before any sort of recognition.
I caught up with Olusayo Ajetunmobi, the creator at the heart of Art of Ajet (I suspect it would be more accurate to say her art caught up with me) and I warn you, there’s nothing cliché about Sayo and her work.
Sayo isn’t the tortured artistic soul so the beginnings are simple; an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry which she totally loved and doodles inspired by boredom. She loves science and would probably be the biochemist next door if not for a series of ultimately fortunate events.
The only remotely cliché bend to this story is that in the beginning (God made heaven and Earth), Sayo’s parents weren’t over the moon about art and painting seeing as it is not a particularly economical endeavor (have you seen the prices of art materials?).
At present, Sayo is serving her country as a part time lecturer at the Plateau state Polytechnic and also does freelance clerical jobs on the side (are you even a Nigerian if you don’t have a side hustle?).
If you have seen Sayo’s works, you would understand how tacit acceptance from her parents became full fledged support. The harsh reality remains that very few young Nigerians have made a fortune from art but she’s not afraid to say she wants to be the exception to that rule!
“I believe over time there would be growth in scale. And even if others might say it isn’t, I would just love to be the exception.”
“I put in a lot of work and every small success is a proud moment for me, from learning a new art technique to being a part of an exhibition. It’s hard to pick a proudest but I’d be cliche and say the first time I sold a work. It was a big deal for me, because my art was now out of the four corners of my room and in someone else’s home”
It’s not all roses and interviews though! Sayo says, “The one time I almost gave it up… I had put in a lot on a project that flopped and more or less bankrupted me. But my support team is A1. Here I am today, still at it.”
Sayo believes art is lucrative and hopes to make a successful career of it!
“Art has put food on my table and paid bills a number of times through the year.”
Here’s to bigger successes Sayo!
The artist is on Twitter @Nerdyajet and you can take a look at some more of her works on Tumblr: http://artofajet.tumblr.com/