My Diovadiova Chrome portraits historically connect to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads. The oil paintings are psychological studies that investigate immortality, the universal masks we all wear and contemporary notions of beauty and luxury. The labor-intensive process involves making a mold of each model’s face, reworking the cast plaster sculpture, producing a version in resin and adding a chrome layer with artificial eyelashes. The final sculpture then serves as a model for the hyper-realistic oil painting. This technique maintains the likeness qualities of portraiture while re-presenting a mask that serves as a conduit between the spiritual and natural world.
Born in Harlem, NY Kip Omolade began his art career as a graffiti artist while interning at Marvel Comics and The Center for African Art. He continued his studies at The Art Students League of New York and earned a BFA at the School of Visual Arts. His work is available directly or through Opera Gallery Hong Kong and Opera Gallery Singapore.
NEW YORK, NY
1) What is your ethnicity?
2) What is your mediums(s) of choice?
3) What scale/ dimensions do you usually work in?
Usually 48” x 60” but lately I’ve been working on larger sizes.
4) How old were you when you began creating?
Five months old.
5) What were some of your earliest inspirations?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an artist. One of my earliest memories was from a children’s book “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey. I think it was then, at about six years old, when I realized drawings could elicit an emotional response with the viewer.
6) Who are some of your favorite visual artists?
Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami and Andy Warhol.
7) What are some of the consistent themes in your work and please describe them?
With my work, I’m always looking for what it means to be human. I’m interested in the universal masks we all wear. As an American of African decent, I’m also interested in sharing art that represents a broad scope of all ethnicities.
8) Are there any other art forms such as music, dance, acting, culinary arts, or other creative domains you occupy that we should know about?
9) Name 3 of your biggest accomplishment in your artistic career?
1) Painting full time.
2) Developing a motif that constantly challenges my skills and imagination.
3) Selling my work.
10) What purpose does your art serve for the viewer?
My job as an artist is to do my best and, hopefully, inspire others to do their best.
11) Do you think it is important for (a) the viewer to have a subjective experience with your work or (b) to know and take the artist’s point of view into account to appreciate your work?
I think it’s important that the viewer has a visceral reaction with my work. It’s up to the viewer to decide to understand the point of view of the artist.
12) would you consider yourself a relativist when it comes to art appreciation?
I reject most labels, I barely consider myself an artist. However, I do believe that truth is in the eye of the beholder.
13) is there any art you don’t like?
I usually find something to like in all forms of art. I especially like amateur artists who are still experimenting, they are knowingly or (unknowingly) using someone else’s style, while others are developing their own. They are on a path to impending doom or success beyond measure. It’s quite exciting.
14) please expand on your voice as an artist and explain why it is necessary to share?
I am an African American man who was born in Harlem and lived in Brooklyn for most of my life. I was part of the generation that birthed Hip Hop culture.
While many of my peers changed the entertainment industry or other fields, I think it’s my duty to offer my unique voice to the art world.
15) would you consider yourself a socially conscious artist or art activist? Explain.
I suppose that my unflinching idea to represent women of color as beautiful is a form of socially conscious art activism.
16) Please name 3 tangible goals you seek to accomplish in your artistic career
1) Pushing my skills and imagination to the limit.
2) Being published in a coffee table book dedicated to my art.
3) Exhibiting my work at a museum.
17) what city are you based in?
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