Osaro Osula is a self-taught artist, brand influencer and the hype man of the movement on Twitter #WeAreNigeriaCreatives. The talented artist hails from Benin City, Edo State and his works have been featured in Ireland, Canada, Sweden and the USA.
He also runs Daddy Soft Apparel and Accessories which has sold in the US and Nigeria. He is the founder of ArtBlastt and FreeArtAd on Twitter to support creators by increasing their reach on the platform. Osaro Osula wants to make art-inspired shoes that will dominate the market but he needs our help. Blueink caught up with him, read excerpts below.
What inspires your art works?
A lot inspires my art. I started doing art as a child in nursery school because it made me happy. I continued until people started commissioning me when I was in junior secondary school. Presently, my art is inspired by the platform it has created for me to assist my fellow humans in different ways. For example, hyping the movement on Twitter, posting works for start ups, and good memories like when the movement went viral, got published on BBC, Bella Naija, CNN, All Africa and many more without paying for it.
I also succeeded in raising N405,000 for Ella when she was four years, I made a video of her singing ‘IF’ by Davido and it went viral. When the public got to know that she was a sickle cell patient, the love came from every angle. To me the world and humans are like my canvas, putting a smile on faces others is an art, art is the best way I have discovered to pleasure my soul.
Tell us about Daddy Soft Opulens Sneakers
My recent project is about the launching of my footwear ‘the Daddy Soft Opulens Sneakers’ which has already been approved by the producers AliveShoes founded by the likes of Luca Botticelli. He is part of the Botticelli family, one of the famous shoe families that kick started the shoe valley movement in Italy after WWII. The design and production team is located at their headquarters in The Shoe Valley district of Le Marche, Italy. They also run international operations in three flexible offices in Milan, San Francisco, and Amsterdam.
Why is the launch of this footwear important?
I really want the launch of my footwear to go global, I want to inspire younger Nigerians, I want them to believe we can make the magic happen even from home (Nigeria) . After drawing the plan, I noticed I will be needing a lot to achieve the goal and other means of raising the funds would be a draining task for a freelancer like me. Our industry is not yet encouraged by financial firms in Nigeria, that’s why I choose crowdfunding. There are a lot of positive minded people scattered around the world that would see the light in me, I can testify because I already received a cash donation of $200.
What are the challenges faced by artists in Nigeria?
The challenges of artists in Nigeria are much. First, I think the higher institutions should take art marketing very serious, especially digital marketing. It will give value to Nigerian art. know a lot of good artists (graduates) that gave up their talent because they are not crafty in marketing.
Secondly, due to the poor educational system in Nigeria, we have less enlightened people in the country, and only the enlightened can see and know the value of art. We have nothing like art collecting education in Nigeria as far as I know. I wish people would start holding seminars on art collecting, the industry is not just about artists but also collectors and dealers. Thirdly, funding. Every financial firm in the country would fund agriculture but not art, it seems they have forgotten that the British invaded Benin after deliberations that our art would cover the expenses of the war, they need the eye opener. Agriculture is good but art sells everyday. When Nigerians hear art, the picture in their head is wall art (decoration) meanwhile there is art in everything, your car is an art piece, there is art on your shirt, your shoe is a piece, your appliances had to be designed before production, art is life.
What are your future plans?
When I make it big, I will first educate people in art collecting. I strongly think this would have a positive effect on the economy, especially on exportation. Building of art marketing faculties in higher institutions is one of my top goals, and creating platform for artists to earn royalty aside selling our works.