Artist Spotlight: Samuel

What is your name?

My name is Samuel Akorede.

Tell us a bit about yourself/background?

I was born and raised in Kaduna, Nigeria. It was a small community, friendly people, lots of camels, and open space; I had a very enjoyable childhood there.

When did you start doing art?

I emigrated to the U. S. when I was eight, that's when I started doing art. It was my way of adapting to the American society. It allowed me to create my own reality while trying to accept my new life.

How was the reaction/feedback from those around you (family/friends)?

My family and friends were very supportive of my passion. My mom was very proud, and my friends were very supportive of my craft.

What inspires your art?

Initially nature was my inspiration. I loved animals, especially lion and tigers. I still do, so for years animals were all I focused on.  However, for the past 3 years or so I have been focused on drawing people. Funny story, I drew a girl I had a crush on in high school, it was the first time that I draw someone and took it seriously. It was a challenge but I enjoyed it and liked the outcome. So I decided to shift my subject matter to people.

What is your favorite piece and why?

I have two favorite pieces. One is a tiger that I painted in my senior year of high school. It is a oil painting and it came out well. I ended up giving the painting to my mentor; it was definitely hard to let it go. It meant a lot to me. My second favorite piece is a recent color pencil portrait of cousin. It is my favorite because it really captures how far I have come. As previously stated, I only started drawing people three years ago, so looking at the image I see how much I have developed since then.

Who would you like to work with?

I would like to work with LaOlu the tending Nigerian artist based in New York. I think he is extremely creative and expressive in his work. I would also like to work with other genre of artists, musicians, fashion designers, actors, poets, etc.  Visual art can be integrated into different arts, so I am always ready to expand to other fields.

Future Plans?

Academically my plan is to earn my bachelors in chemical engineering at City College. Artistically I am currently working on starting a clothing brand called “M.A.S” which stands for “Making Art Stylish” (Sam backwards). The name explains it all; I digitally print art (that I painted) on t-shirts and hats. So far I've made 3 shirt designs. My first shirt was a walking dead t-shirt and I had the opportunity to give it to some of the actors from the show. This summer I made a shirt for a Gabonese pop singer name Seinabo Sey, and I had the opportunity to give her the shirt at Afro punk. I really like creating and wearing the shirts. Currently I am trying to expand my band everyway I can.

What advice do you have for anybody out there who wants to be an artist like you?

My number one advice for anyone who wants to be an artist like me is to find time to put in the effort. With my engineering curriculum, it is very difficult to find time to do these projects, but I believe that we ought to follow our passion.  Being invested in schoolwork is necessary, but it doesn’t always mean we have to sacrifice our artistry. Self-expression is important, and I encourage everyone to exercise self-expression despite personal restrictions. I encourage you the reader as well to delve into you artistry, by relinquishing any talent that you have subdued for so long.

Samuel Akorede
Instagram: @samakorede