Top of the morning y'all. Its our sincere pleasure to bring to you this exclusive interview from one of our young entrepreneur and as you all know Abjrichteens is an outreach, top shot and stop shop that absolves and promotes vibrant, talented, energetic and young entrepreneurs Today, we have with us here, a special breed, An epitome of enormous talent, an embodiment of knowledge. She has proven to know more than her onions. She started from the cradle and has the zenith in store for herself. Her paintings are a print reflection of her creative mindset. As a young entrepreneur, she has charted a good course of combined academic professionalism and an inspiring talent. Stay glued, read, share and be motivated!!!
What do your friends call you?
Adaora, Ada, Dora, Ora
Tell us abit about yourself?
I’m Igbo and very artistic. I was born on the 15th of January 1999 and I’m a student at the University of South Carolina Aiken. I’m majoring in Fine Arts with a Technology Arts concentration.
I’m 16 years old.
Languages you speak?
English and some French and Igbo.
Background (state) and position in family?
I’m from Awka in Anambra state and I’m the first and only female child of four children.
Most valuable item?
What's your dress sense like?
How do you make your money?
I’m primarily a portrait artist: I draw high-quality custom portraits, frame and sell them to people.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I like when people are really happy or excited about the outcome of their custom portraits. That makes me really happy and motivates me to do better at what I do and keep making more art.
Describe a typical workday for you?
Arrange my art materials that I need for whatever project or commission that I’m working on beforehand so I can be organized while drawing. I listen to music while I draw so I have a pre-organized playlist for that as well. I work on desks facing a window because I like to to draw in natural light especially if it’s a colored portrait so I can get the colors right. Then I usually spend 6-8 hours drawing depending on how detailed the portrait is or how much work I have to do. Some days when my camera decides to behave itself, I record myself drawing, speed it up with the time-lapse effect, add some background music and upload it on Instagram and YouTube channel. Most of the time, I like to post work in progress (WIP) pictures of my work on my Instagram, Tumblr and/or Snapchat). I feel that this mostly interests people that want to see the in between processes of my work. If I finish earlier than I expected, I go to watch videos of how to draw some things better e.g texture (hair, clothes, etc)
How do you describe your work style?
I like to work in silence and solitude (besides listening to music) because it helps me focus better.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
My being an entrepreneur is what influenced my parents to allow me to study fine arts in college because I feel that I more or less showed them how significant art is as financially stable career if you’re determined and disciplined enough to do it properly. I think that they’re proud of what I do.
What's the biggest thing you struggle with as an artist in Nigeria?
That would have to be the lack of acceptance of art as a professional career. When people ask me what I want to study and I say fine arts. I get a lot of ‘is this girl okay?’, ‘her feet are not on the ground’ or ‘she’s never going to make it in life’ look. At first I used to be a bit ashamed of it and even used to say International Relations just to avoid any further interrogation but now I really don’t care about what people think about it. Contrary to what most people believe, there are actually a lot of opportunities for artists in Nigeria if they have the right vision, attitude, training and determination. I also get irritated when I refuse to do drawings for people for free and they get angry and start talking me down. You’d be surprised by how frequently this happens.
How many hours does it take you to finish a Job?
It depends on the size of what I am doing and the medium that I am using. An A4 and A3 black and white portrait can take a week or less to finish if I don’t have much to do while a colored A4 and A3 can take from 2 weeks to a month because of the multiple details I have to represent with color.
How did you start up?
I’ve been an artist for most of my life: I started drawing when I was six (self-taught) and started drawing people when I was 12. My dream was always to start up my own art business but I always felt that I couldn’t really do it effectively because I had to focus on school. I made some money selling stickers and small posters but that it wasn’t exactly official. My opportunity finally came when I took a gap year from school earlier this year. I didn’t initially think of starting up my art business this year but it seemed like the perfect time to improve on my skills and market my work. I prayed about this and talked to my mum and a few close friends before I officially started advertising on Instagram and creating custom portraits.
Who's your greatest inspiration in terms of what you do?
Tanaé Briana. She’s a Chicago-based portrait artist and her work is absolutely amazing (they influenced me to start using Prismacolor!). Besides custom portraits, she makes print copies of her other work and sells merchandise (phone cases, tote bags, clothes, etc) with pictures of her art on them. I’d like to start doing something like that pretty soon. I’ve never met her but she seems like a hard worker I’ve kind of watched her grow for a bit as an artist on the internet and I’m amazed with her progress in such a relatively short period of time. She was a major part of the things that inspired me to put myself out there on the internet in whatever way that I could.
How do you describe your art Style?
Careful, deliberate and detailed.
Who's your role model/mentor?
Kelvin Okafor. He’s a Nigerian hyper-realistic portrait artist based in the UK. I hope to be better than him someday so I can finally look for someone else to look up to.
What would you say are the top skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
a. Discipline is primary!
b. Be patient with yourself; Bill Gates wasn’t made in a day.
c. Set high standards and expectations of yourself and work hard to reach them.
d. Constantly look for ways to edify and motivate yourself.
e. Don’t be afraid to be innovative.
f. Believe in yourself.
How do you define success?
Success to me is completely maximizing your God-given potentials in order to be the best person
How do you market yourself or get what you do out there?
I basically use Twitter and Instagram (look up the hashtag #adaorawangart) to advertise my work and my work gets featured on a lot of art accounts on Tumblr and Instagram. I also talk to my parents’ friends and any new acquaintance about what I do and quite a number of them have taken interest and given me a lot of support.
If you could talk to one super Hero from the moves who would it be?
That would probably be Iron Man. I like the fact that he’s really witty and sarcastic so we’d probably get on really well.
What makes you happy?
When people buy my art. Lol besides that, I feel happiest when my hard work pays off.
What's the best song you've heard this year?
If you were to be an animal, which one would you like to be?
I’d actually like to be a cat for day because of their sophistication but I probably won’t even last that long as one in Nigeria before someone sprinkles me with anointing oil.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 - 20 years?
10-20 years from now, I hope to have established an art empire as a renowned successful and talented entrepreneur in the art industry both nationally and internationally. I want people to be able to just Google my first name and have all my work appear before they can even finish typing it.
Vote of thanks to Abjrichteens?
I’m very grateful for this platform. God bless your efforts to elevate others.
Contacts (IG, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat)?
Don’t be afraid to contact or ask me questions about my art! I have no reason to ignore you.
My art handles:
IG & Twitter: @a_wangart
Watch me speed draw on Youtube: (Adaora Wang Art) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCllpo2HDAhwkcIg2XMi0s3g/