Interview by Visual Collaborative
March 2019 5 min read
aYo Binitie is an Artist / Creative Technologist who splits his time between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. As an artist that works with traditional techniques and interactive technologies, he has co-authored books on strategy and online experiences. In this interview he gives some insight to his converged disciplines and perspective on the creative industry.
As a creative professional who is multifaceted and an active participant of art collectives in the Nigerian’s urban space, does your background in technology affect how you approach projects in your country?
(aYo) I consider the technologies I work with as creative media, in the same vein as any traditional creative media I use (charcoal, watercolor, oils or pastel). In itself it has options, concepts, form, methodology, procedure and actualization. The various technologies I use are important parts of my tool-kit and they expand the possibilities of my creative process. My workflow involves merging traditional and digital tools and processes to create powerful visual experiences.
“Augmented Reality programming is a technique I use regularly to digitally extend the sensory (visual and aural) possibilities of some of my art pieces.”
In certain cases, traditional art processes and techniques infuse life to a digital project – in other projects digital techniques, procedures and enhancements are a part and parcel of the creative process of a traditional art piece. For example Augmented Reality programming is a technique I use regularly to digitally extend the sensory (visual and aural) possibilities of some of my art pieces. It really adds an out-of- frame experience to a painting that can be quite stimulating. In my process, technology and traditional creative techniques ebb and flow seamlessly to help achieve the desired creative statement.
Given the rising despondency of political movements in Nigeria, with overlooked funding towards the arts, as an artist are you more critical about your own practice or more optimistic now given the trajectory of your country’s leadership and how it manages its art budget?
(aYo) I tend look inwards to try and build better delivery methodologies for my art practice. I believe that constant introspection, redefining and remodeling your studio business process is the mot juste for me.
Pot Head by aYo Binitie
You were part of the Macromedia Flash community, Is that kind of flash energy possible with the way technology has progressed. Could it be the present technology industry does not present that kind of community camaraderie?
(aYo) It is possible, but for the moment it has not happened.
The Flash/Actionscript experience was a singular one. I started with Flash when it was a little program called Future Shock and grew with it as it blossomed into a full fledged ecosystem, was bought by Adobe, then watched it die.
The level of creativity the Flash community spewed was astounding and has not been achieved in my view from its demise till this moment.
Most Flash developers I met were passionate, self -taught with strong visual creative strengths. Indeed for quite a few like myself, Flash was their first real programming language and we skilled up as demands became more interactive and sophisticated. The level of creativity the Flash community spewed was astounding and has not been achieved in my view from its demise till this moment. Never before or after has there been such an amalgamation of people who were as strong creatively as they were as programmers within one system.
The current technologies were never built with the visual creative bias Flash had and thus cannot achieve the same effect. Online tech has become more mainstream and sophisticated, requiring specialization that has formalized procedure, hiving it into distinct creative and technical areas of operation.
Does your Ghanaian and Nigerian heritage play a significant part in your creative themes or would you say you move with topics of the times?
(aYo) It definitely does. The experiences of your upbringing play a significant part in the development of your personal philosophy and the way you view the world, as does that of your parents and your immediate environment. My work tends to focus on social commentary and the introspective state of the mind as it experiences the social environment and conditions it is immersed in
In your quiet or noisy moments how do you get inspired. What makes you create the work you do. Do you seek religion or get physiological like
many artists for muses?
(aYo) Practice – practice – practice – practice. I find that the moments of inspiration come out of continued practice and lots of mistakes. Mistakes are the life blood of my creative process. You make a mistake, swear a bit (well, a lot more than a bit), then you look at it and think well “Hmmmnn, that looks interesting” – you exploit that angle and then you’ve got something exciting and new. Practice forces introspection as you are forced to review the work created and attempt to figure out how it can be improved, technically and creatively.
Looking keenly at the world around you, looking at shapes, the relationships between interlocking forms, color, feeling textures, observing the structure of all around you and then bringing all that to the creative process as best you can over and over again.
Confused and all jumbled up by aYo Binitie
Some mention the renaissance or the West African pan-African times as an art period they admire. If you can time-warp back to any era, what time would it be and why?
None really, those movements are footprints in the sands of time – I prefer to look forward and see what new frontiers can be discovered. On the other hand I would love to have watched J.M.W Turner at work, what a genius.
At this stage of your professional career and accomplishments, If you could work alongside any other artist or curator who would it be and why?
(aYo) That’s a really difficult one, over time your concepts of visualization, form, structure and technique change and so do the artists you come to admire at that space in time. For the moment 3 contemporary artists come to mind, Martin Compos, Zin Lim and Zhaoming Wu. I love they way they approach form, structure and modeling with light.
What kind of work can Nigeria expect from aYo BINITIE within the next 5 years?
(aYo) We’ll wait and see, but I will be 5 years better and 5 years more successful.