On the Nigerian Urban street artist series, we have U_TBJ. TBJ is a creative designer, illustrator and overall superhero artist who loves coffee and Friday.
Hello, please introduce yourself?
I am Udegbunam Tochukwu Bernard Johnbosco, better known as TBJ.
Can you recall when you first discovered you were interested in art?
Growing up as a little child I loved to scribble. Myself and my siblings…I suppose I couldn’t stop.
Is your creativity born out of passion (something you picked up and nurtured) or is it something you were born with?
I could draw as a child compared to my contemporaries. I think I had a little edge over most of my age mates back then. I obviously developed my skill continually and with great support from family, I became better. I think it’s safe to say the ‘talent’ has been there but of course with much love & passion I strive to become better every day.
How would you describe your style of creativity?
I love creating in the styles of mixed-media realism, Afro-futurism & symbolism. My Illustrations are usually characterized by intricate lines.
What inspires your creativity?
Everything contemporary African is number one on my list of inspiration source.
When you create, do you always have a specific message to communicate for each creation?
Definitely! Every single piece I create has a story/message attached to it. Some of them are very personal to me.
What are the challenges you have faced/still face as a Nigerian Artist?
Piracy tops the list. It’s really disturbing when you discover how bad it is on this side of the Atlantic. Most people don’t even understand what copyrighting is all about not to mention the implications of copyright infringement but I always try to never let it weigh me down in any way. Keep my head up and try as much as possible to inspire people with what I do best and of course hoping someday the piracy ‘drama’ takes a different turn for good.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Making an impression with an expression…It’s magical!
What creative medium would you Love to explore but haven’t tried yet?
Hmm I think that should be gun powder on wood board. I have got so many other ones I would love to explore as well though.
Advice for upcoming Creatives?
Always be yourself and try as much as possible to learn something new every day outside your field of expertise. Remember the challenges you face as a creative person are only there to make you better. Stay POSITIVE in everything you do. Connect and always keep a very strong creative circle preferably the ones you learn from.
What’s the most exciting piece of art you’ve seen, and what were your thoughts on it?
I can’t really pick out one right now but trust me I have seen a whole lot of exciting art works…most of the times I’m like ‘OMG! Some people are freaking awesome!’
What song title best represents you as an artist?
Sia’s ‘Unstoppable’ from the album ‘This Is Acting 2016’
What would you consider your ‘Muse’?
An elegant melanin-popping beautiful lady!
If you had to pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?
Oh dear this is a difficult one because I have got a long list of artists I admire.For now, Lora Zombie. She’s amazing!
You can follow TBJ on Instagram @U_tbj.