Chinyere Ofodile is a full-time studio painter. She is a graduate of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu. In her style, Chinyere likes to rescue and retain the deep essence of Africanism. With her strong strokes and creative use of the brush, the artist communicates effectively through her medium, which comprises acrylic and oil on canvas.
As a talented artist, Ofodile reflects the wealth of her cultural ambience. The painter who believes in the artistic passion and consistency also holds her philosophy in high esteem. She also explained why she has always encouraged female artists, especially in a male-dominated environment as Nigeria:
How I became an artist
When I was young, I had always loved relief works. I had actually wanted to be a sculptor but I was counseled in school to become a painter. I had always wanted to be a sculptor.
But I do not regret being a painter. Sculptural pieces inspired me to become an artist. Whenever I see relief works, I’ll stop to appreciate what the forms are like.
School of art
I am a product of IMT and I had worked for a few years. I have been to several art schools, and I can’t really say that I belong to any school of art. I have learnt so much from these schools and I have deviated from the style of IMT, although I have not dropped the style completely, I have combined all the schools of art together. I am a realistic painter but sometimes I veered into expressionism or abstraction. But most of the times, I am more into realism because it helps me to express myself. Besides, any mood I find myself usually reflects through my work.
Input from the school
Like the Auchi School of Art, I have borrowed so much from their vibrancy in colours, which I have used in my paintings lately. Basically, all the things that I have picked from other schools of art have actually helped me in my choice of colours. I am now different from what I used to be. I believe that life is all about learning, virtually, I learn from different schools of thought.
The source of inspiration is God and whatever I see around me. Besides, I am inspired by the way I feel. I try to relate what is happening at present to the society at large, after which I use them in my drawing. The environment also influences my work. It enables me to get the story lines and relate same to the society in colours.
I have both male and female artists. I respect Lara Ige-Jacks although we are not close. I have met her on several occasions. I see her as a woman of honour. Although it is a male dominated profession, women have been able to make their mark in the profession. Olu Ajayi and Soji Toloye have actually brought me to the level I am today. I don’t think that I would have been an artist if these two people did not encourage me and told me to have confidence in myself. My target is to be able to compete favourably well with my male counterparts in this profession.
Woman in male dominated profession
Against all odds, I have been able to break-even. I believe in the saying that "what a man can do, a woman can do better." I know that there are men out there that I can actually challenge comfortably well with my paintings.
One of the challenges that I have faced is, stretching the canvass because it spoils my nails. I like to work on stretched canvass.
Arts as collateral
Arts can be used as collateral. Looking at the works of Pablo Picasso, he used them as collateral. When art lovers appreciate arts, they’ll know what it takes to keep them as collateral. Arts can be highly valuable. I am an artist, there is no way that I can use my works as collateral. There are some of my works that I attach so much affection to. I would not like to part with them until the owners of the works come. Then, I would find it difficult to give them out.
Artists contribution to society
Artistes contribute to the development of the society in so many ways. Artistes can use their works to help charity homes by organizing exhibitions and giving out certain percentage of the sales of art works. Artistes also use their works to help the less privileged in the society.
Duration of my works
Working on textured canvass takes a lot of time. For it to stay up to ten or twenty years, I ‘ll have to dry it up in the sun. To prepare my canvass properly is different from working. Preparing the canvass and working takes up to one month - two weeks to prepare the canvass and another two weeks to prepare the work.
Description of my works
I am currently working on textured canvass where I combine abstraction and realism. I also have a mixture of semi abstract and semi-realism on textured canvass which I titled Life is Beautiful. It is a landscape that depicts a village scene; a city, and a developed town. The abstract painting is all about people that no matter how they struggle in life, they would be able to provide the good things of life for their dear ones.
I hope to stage a solo exhibition in the last quarter of the year. My medium would be textured on canvass, which is different from the normal texture . I have faced a lot of challenges due to my experience with my last collector who told me that I should think on something different from what I am used to. Although, I still paint on canvass, most of the works will be on textured canvass. I had to go an extra mile to create a style for myself because that is what art is all about. I want to be known as an international artist just like my mentor Lara Ige-Jack.