Artist of the Week – Tobijulo Onifade

POSTED IN Art, Art history, Culture, Drawn art, Fashion Design, Folk art
By Adefoyeke Ajao
Tobijulo Onifade is an illustrator, surface artist and graphic designer. A graduate of University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art, Onifade’s oeuvre includes digitally-enhanced prints, mosaic-inspired watercolour paintings, textile and upholstery design as well as a jewellery line named “Akun Joke” which is dedicated to making fascinating ornaments.



The Lagos-born artist’s prints are heavy on motifs and in illustrations such as “Corruption”, “Ubuntu”, “Floral Collage” and “Sharp”, recurring abstract shapes are arranged with a precision that makes them seamless but not chaotic. Each artwork might initially look like an intricate maze, but distinct outlines accentuate each motif and make the whole piece look less cumbersome. The meld of seamless patterns and subtle shades of colour bequeaths these prints with a hypnotic quality and each piece ends up looking like an optical illusion.



Unlike the abstract patterns that dominate Onifade’s prints, distinct female forms peddling their wares are central to the brightly-coloured images in “Hawking Series”, her collection of watercolour paintings. This collection takes a more kaleidoscopic tangent as she experiments with creating mosaic effects with watercolour instead of using traditional materials such as glass, beads or tiles.



However enticing it is to pigeonhole Onifade’s creations as Optic Art, her symmetrical patterns do not play many tricks on the senses – unlike works in that genre. However, whether she’s making abstract, illusionistic patterns or vibrant watercolour mosaics, Onifade employs a technique that confidently fits numerous shapes and details into a single frame. Her work is an interesting paradox that emits psychedelic vibes without inducing retinal overload.
To see more of Tobijulo Onifade’s work, visit her Art635 page or her Instagram profile @tobijulo_o
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