Data Oruwari is a Nigerian, New York based Creative consultant and Illustrator. She represents the percentage of women who follow their dreams against all odds. Working to become the best of herself, she gives her work a lot of passion, heart and energy. We hope her story inspires you.
Hello, Please introduce yourself ?
My name is Data Oruwari. I’m a Creative Strategy Consultant/ Visual Artist and Illustrator. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.
Can you recall when you first discovered you were interested in art ?
I fell in love with art as a child, when I watched my father (who was an artist himself) draw. When I saw the things he drew, I assumed he was making magic and that grew on me.
Is your creativity born out of passion (something you picked up and nurtured) or is it something you were born with?
I believe that everyone is born with the ability to create art. It’s embedded in our very nature as humans. The disconnect occurs when we choose to abandon our childlike wonder. So yes, just like everyone else I was born with the ability to create and I chose to nurture it over the years.
How would you describe your style of creativity?
My style is storytelling void or words or color. I’ve always been drawn to the monochrome style of tattoo art, which is very bold and relies heavily on lines and intricate details. I love that I can take different elements and symbols and combine them to convey meaning.
What inspires your creativity?
I’m inspired by a lot of things. One that stands out the most is the connection that I make with strangers who see my work for the first time. Some of these people don’t even speak the same language as I do, but the expression on their face and the fact that they can be emotionally compelled by ink on paper, makes me want to keep creating. I’m also very much inspired by other Artists of every form who stay dedicated to their craft. The unique creativity that each person brings to the world makes me feel part of a bigger picture. I feel like I’m part of an army that has dedicated their heart and soul to preserving beauty and wonder in the world.
When you create, do you always have a specific message to communicate for each creation?
Most of the time I start with a concept. It’s an idea or message that marinates in my head for a while. It could come from seeing something interesting or the need to make a statement. I research to learn more about the concept and that helps me envision how best to execute. Other times, I just go with pure intuition and see where the result leads me.
What are the challenges you have faced/still face as a Nigerian Artist ?
I’m currently based outside of Nigeria, but I can tell you that the sum of challenges I faced while still in Nigeria all point to dealing with a society that doesn’t nurture the creative spirit. Artists need to freely express themselves, to imagine without limit, to tell the truth without fear, to experiment and make mistakes without judgement and be confident that they can make a living through whatever they create. But with my experience that wasn’t always the case.
What do you find fascinating about being an artist?
Finding spirituality through Art has been the most fascinating experience for me. The ability to reflect inward, uncover a sense of meaning and then consciously bring into being something that did not exist before; while still evoking emotion. Every time I create I feel transformed. My Art has taught me discipline, empathy for others, patience, selflessness and deep love for humanity.
What creative medium would you Love to explore but haven’t tried yet?
Writing! For some reason weird reason, I have a fear of writing anything. Not sure why, but I’m going to one day challenge myself to write a book.
Advice for upcoming creatives?
To live a creative life you must lose your fear of being wrong. Don’t stress over what your work looks like or how you will never be a better. Your job is to focus on the quantity, and trust that your creator will take care of the quality.
What’s the most exciting piece of art you’ve seen, and what were your thoughts on it?
It has to be Alex Konahin’s pieces. The level of detail and dedication he puts into his work is ridiculously insane! At first you see the image and think it’s somehow digitally enhanced, but then on closer look, you realise that every single marking was done by hand. I get lost for hours in the details.
What song title best represents you as an artist?
I’d say Sia’s “Alive”.
What would you consider your ‘Muse’?
Afro-Goddesses are my muse. And I don’t mean those of the past. I mean the ones that walk in plain sight today. Confident African/Black Women who are very comfortable in their skin and know that they are capable of anything they desire. The ones that cherish sisterhood and want nothing but prosperity for their fellow sisters. The women who lead and also raise the next generation of leaders. For many years her worth has been ignored. She is my source of creation. She helps me inspire other women to be unafraid to tap into their inner Goddess
If you had to pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?
This is a tough one. lol. How on earth am I supposed to pick just one?! I have so many! Surprisingly, I think I’ll have to go with Chimamanda Adichie. If she ever decides to do an illustrated book, I’m game.