Naki Narh lives in the United Kingdom and Ghana. She is an artist as well as an architect in training. She has been exploring art for as long as she can remember. As the years progressed and as she sharpened her talents, she eventually fell in love with painting.
Her love for art and architecture is not simply an expression of self. It is an assimilation of all that has molded her – a reflection of the colourful cultural & structural vitality that she has been exposed to.
1. What came first, your passion for art or for architecture?
I would say my passion for art definitely came first. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I was the kid in kindergarten always drawing on the chalkboard when school was over waiting for our parents. Architecture came much later when I was able to comprehend space and form a lot more. I loved the idea of almost being able to 'play God' on Earth. Architecture is basically a form of art, but with building regulations.
2. What is your typical day like?
Well since I have started my Master's program in Architecture at the Royal College of Art, I would say a typical day would be going to uni for lectures and tutorials. And when I do have the time, I would go to my studio and work on some incomplete pieces or experiment with mediums I haven't worked with before. On days where I have no lectures nor tutorials, I tend to go to art galleries and museums. I love constantly being inspired by different artists in fine art, photography, sculpting etc - I cannot stay at home and be idle for long.
3. What is the art scene like where you live?
I'm currently living in two different countries, the United Kingdom and Ghana. I live fairly close to London, and I can say London has one of the strongest art scenes in the world. There's always an exhibition to attend, it's incorporated into everyday life - posters on the trains, restaurants, vehicles, literally everywhere. Ghana, on the other hand, is not as big. However, I do see the art industry growing and being recognized a lot more in the capital. I'm excited to see where the art scene would be in the next couple of years in Accra, definitely going to be bigger and better!
4. Who or what inspires you?
Oooo that's a tough question. I would say everything inspires me. That's quite vague I know, but I I literally get inspired by conversations I have with family, friends and even strangers. My mood, fashion, colours and patterns all around me. Social media has also made it a lot easier absorbing such information. With people I get inspiration from, I would have to say, Dawit Abebe, an Ethiopian Artist and Jeremy Geddes, a New Zealand born Australian artist. I currently love these artists because of their choice of subject, colour and composition.
5. In addition to painting, you're also a photographer. Do you prefer one medium over the other?
Painting will always win my heart over photography. I personally feel I have more liberation in altering reality as opposed to photography.
6. Do you think it is necessary to have a formal education in order to be an artist?
I personally do not think you need formal education to become an artist. That's the beauty of art. There's a lot of freedom in self-expression. However, I would say formal education has a lot more benefits such as having the opportunity to start creating a network and also getting exposure to various forms of art, artists and design. If one does get the opportunity to have formal education, I would say go for it! There's no harm in learning more about the industry.
7. Tell me about your More to Me series. What inspired you to create that series?
The 'More to Me' Series was a therapeutic project for me. It allowed me to self-reflect and realize had a lot more going for me than just what people saw on the surface. I decided to share it with the world because I knew I was not the only one who needed this reminder, especially being female. We should be reminded that we all have talents and skills that make us unique and no one can be against that!
8. What is your dream project?
I do not think I have a definite dream project, to be honest. Only because it keeps changing. Will definitely let you know once I settle on one.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creatives?
I would have to say do not hold yourself back on anything. Stay true to who you are as an artist, creative and most importantly an individual. Passion should drive the art and not the money, if it's the other way round, find something else to do. And lastly push your art as far as you can, if there's room for improvement, push it in that direction.
10. What's next for you?
Being 24 years old, I think now is the time for me to really put myself out there and start making my mark. I'm currently working on a collection of pieces which should hopefully be done by the middle of this year and hope to have my first solo exhibition in either London or Accra. The only way is up!
Story by Glodeane Brown
All photos provided by Nicole Naki Narh
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