Nicholas (Nick) Freeman

Nick Freeman is a graphic designer specialising in digital illustrations particularly in  character creation, animation and game development assets and visualFX designs (Freeman 2017).  From his LinkedIn profile, Freeman is an African American designer from Orlando, Florida; and first graduated in 2006, with an Associate’s degree in Design and Visual Communication, from the American InterContinental University. Then later, with a Bachelor’s of Art specialising in media arts and animation at the Art Institute of Atlanta, in 2010. Since 2005, he has worked at several companies (Linkedin 2017). The first, at Atlantic neon, as a Graphic artist, the second, at Humouring The Fates, as a clean-up artist, then as a lead graphic designer at Fending Signs Inc, in 2010, and finally as two dimensional (2D)- and visual effects artist, at n-Space (Linkedin 2017). At present, since 2014, Freeman works as a character- and clean-up artist at Secret Sauce Studios, and freelances as a character designer (Freeman 2017). Freeman is relevant to my practice as create, design and illustrate man of colour cartoon characters.

Figure 17 shows Leon, one of Freeman’s characters on the left is an illustration of 2011, while on the right of 2015. In the one of 2011, the African features are not evident; however, on the right the African Themes are evident, as features of the face and Voodoo symbols. Vodou, better known as Voodoo originated about six thousand years ago, in mainly three Western African countries: Togo, Nigeria and Benin; and was brought to New Orleans, Haiti and other West Indies islands by the slaves (Robinson 2010). In the Leon character (see figure 17), Freeman makes use of the Voo symbol of Ayizan; Ayizan is the loa (pronounced lwa) – spirits of Louisiana Voodoo and Haitian Vodou (Pinn 2005: 229) – of the French marketplace, commerce and herbal healing, that represents love and the initiation of the Voudou rites (Alvarado 2016).

Delano Limoen an African Diaspora

As promised last week, here an African Diaspora who is using the concept of

The Ife Heads in his graphic design.

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Delano Limoen is a graphic designer from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and both the co-founder and creative director at Nozem; and art director at Air . Limoen began his career as an illustrator at Venhuis in 2010, then moved onto Abovo media in 2011, he later joined Air, in 2014 where he started as a freelance designer and at present he works there as the art director. In 2012, he co-founded Nozem with Lorenzo Pinto. At present Limoen specialises in branding, illustrations, custom typography and film. Limoen is relevant to my practice, because his works incorporates African Themes in his logo designs. Since, 2015, I have begun to make use of African names for start-ups, trademarks and platforms, including in logos.

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The Original series of Hip-hop heads, is one of Limeon’s illustrations, which is a collection of Hip hop artists heads, featuring Snoop Dogg (Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr.), Nicky Minaj (Onika Tanya Maraj) and Jay Z (Shawn Corey Carter) who are some of the most successful and influential rappers in the music industry. Although Limeon is not near an African community, he draws from the social influence which he is exposed to, as Clive Kellner (2007: 23) explains they are “informed by differing socio-historical factors and influenced by the process of globalisation” as well as Marcel Daniels (2014: i) statement an Afropolitan contemporary artists explore ways on how to survive in their current worlds or realities through redefining race, their ethnicity, and what otherness means to them, to form their new identity.

 

In this case he draws from Hip hop, which has strong roots in the African culture, and more specifically African Diasporas. Since in 1973, Kool DJ Herc, of Jamaican origin, is observed to cultivate Hip hop in South Bronx, New York city (Blanchard 1999). Hip-hop music is considered to have been pioneered in New York Dozens can be traced back to Igbos of Nigeria and referred to as Ikocha Nkocha (Chimezie 1976: 403). Similarly, in my culture and mother-tongue, Oshiwambo, Dozen is referred as okutema. Furthermore, there is another speech that is similar to Hip-hop, however this one does not aim to ridicule, but to praise. I was unable to locate books or articles on it, nevertheless it is referred to as okwii tanga or to praise speech, and it is usually done by Awambo men.

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Biggie with his crown, is an illustration part of the Hip hop head series, which pays tribute to Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie. Limoen imitates the social significance of the Ife heads which were created to honour both the living and deceased Ooni (Nigerian kings) (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Similary, Limoen illustrates Wallace’s crown, just as the Ife heads maintain their crowns.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.

References:

Africa’s Ancient Civilization (2017) video, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) 27 February, viewed: 9 April 2017. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365943926/ [Accessed 12 April 2017].

Chimezie, A. (1976) ‘The Dozens: An African-Heritage Theory’. Journal of Black Studies. 6 (4) June. pp. 401–420.

Childs, P. & Williams R.J.P. (1997) An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory. London: Prentice Hall.

Kellner, C. (2007) ‘Notes from Down South: Towards Defining Contemporary African Practice’.  In Njami, S. African Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent. Johannesburg Art Gallery: Johannesburg.

The Ife heads

Last week I provided an introduction on the essay I wrote on how Africans and African Diasporas are reviving their African Identities in their creative works.  This week I will continue to elaborate more on the Ife Heads or the Heads of Ile Ife.

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“Ile-Ife, also called Ife or Ife-Lodun, town, Osun state, southwestern Nigeria. The town lies at the intersection of roads from Ibadan (40 miles [64 km] west), Ilesha, and Ondo. It is one of the larger centres and probably the oldest town of the Yoruba people” ( britannica.com, 2017).

The lfe heads where crafted, during the 11th century, by an unknown artist of the Yoruba people, under the patronage of Ooni (king) Obalufon the Second (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). According to Henry Gates Jr, while European artists, in the middle ages, were still struggle with perspective and the human form, African artist were making magnificent life-like sculptures (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Gates further elaborates that “it is not just the technical aspect that is so impressive; it is also their shear artistry, and their capacity to capture the human spirit”. There are mainly two features that distinguish the Ife heads: the accomplished mastery, and their social significance.

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The Ife heads are from the African renaissance period, and until the 20th century most of the world was not aware of the existence of the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Leo Frobenius was with the native workers that unearthed the Ife heads in 1938 (British Museum, 2017). At first, according to Professor Suzanne Preston Blier of Harvard University, Frobenius had stated that the Ife heads could only have been made by the lost ancient Greek race of Atlantis, as published in the New York Times, but his theory was later challenged by other scholars, and it was decided that only Africans could have made the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017).  Nevertheless, Frobenius was amongst the first to agree and comment on the genius and intelligence of Africans (Miller 1990:16) in a Hegelian-  and Bergsonian tradition idolised society.

 

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Edith Ekunke, from the National Museum of Lagos, explains that one of the most difficult craft that the Ife artists mastered was metal work. Ekunke further elaborates that the conception of Africa, that they are not that intelligent, is challenged by the genius and skilfullness of the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Similarly, most of the works of these graphic design creatives aim as well to challenge the notion that African Themes are not acceptable for commercial design works. Blier comments on their aesthetic appeal: “They [Ife heads] are technically amongst the most truly remarkable works of art created any place in the world. These are striking heads that are quite naturalist, but there is also this idealised naturalism, so that none of the warts and wrinkle of the face are shown… there is almost this serenity in them and give a sense of timelessness” (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017).

Next week I will provide reference to an African Diaspora who is using the concept of  The Ife Heads in his graphic design.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.

References:

Africa’s Ancient Civilization (2017) video, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) 27 February, viewed: 9 April 2017. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365943926/ [Accessed 12 April 2017].

Encyclopædia Britannica (2017) lle Ife. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Ile-Ife [ Accessed 12 May 2017]

 

 

Reviving the African Identity

Today, I finally handed in my assignment. It is not what I expected, however, I got the job done. The main aims of the paper was to analyse ways in which Africans and African Diasporas were reviving their African Identities. Identity in this context refers to how one and the agency to be creative.

I wanted to link what current Africans and African Diasporas are creating or designing with what ancient Africa used to do prior to the arrival of the westerners and colonialism.

It was very interesting to find out that contemporary Africans and African Diasporas are indeed making using of ancient African Themes (patterns, styles, symbols and colour and thought processes).

One of the topics I dealt was on Ife Heads.

One of the points I mentioned that I wanted to rectify was the influence of Cultural Hegemony on University  level. The structure or learning path is designed in such a way that studies and theories on Africa are studied towards the end and are not given full attention, comparing to the New York School of Design or the Swiss School of Design or even the Arts and Craft Movement.  During our third year of study, African Aesthetics was the last topic and little or no attention was given to it. It was merely tried as the “I need to expose you to this since its part of the syllabus “, but even if I did, you will not  loss points. Fortunately, something good did come out that exposure.

Next week I will continue with The Ife Heads.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.

 

Finding ways where there seems to be no ways

170310_100826I will never forget the days, I spend on the school porch, making using of the school WIFI. . I spent there hours, but I did not care, for what I was working on was more important. I was a private University, which closed at 16:30. I had inquired about it, but it clear to me that he University cannot afford, to provide an extra room after hours.

Our school did not provide accommodation. Therefore, we international students had to find residence at student residence, rent a room in a student house ( which were very difficult to get), or rent out a room from someone’s house. Usually student residence is usually expensive, and most of the time unconducive for studies, it always made me wonder what some people went to do there. It’s always about partying, eating, watching tv and more tv and more tv. There was one girl would watch Big Brother 24/7. Before school she is there, after school she is there, even when you take a break. Doesn’t she ever sleep – every time always on that couch.

In 2012, I had an internship at Inkfish Design Studio, and having learnt so much, I had decided that it was better to own my own studio, rather than work for someone else. Inkfish was great, but I thought what will happen when I get back home, and what if I do not get a studio like Inkfish and at what studio will I be working at, for whom, and for how much. In 2013, I started with first year, had accommodation problems – which I will share another day – that led me to get a job at Ocean Basket Kloof Street. Working there just fuelled my ambition even more to own my own studio.

At that point in life, I had never had a computer, my mother could not afford one, my extend family was not interested in assisting or whatsoever. Since 2003, where the dream of BKDS first surfaced, I kept drawing and writing all my ideas on paper and filling them.  One month in the job, I was informed that the Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) had finally paid in. They always pay, but never on time. Since February, when school started, I was informed that I was awarded a “10% bursary” for performing well, in last year’s modules; on top of that, I also got credit exemption for Applied Colour and Design theory.

After, I got the amount which was paid in, and working now. I was determined more than ever to buy my computer.  At first, I just wanted any computer, but then I thought, why not a Mac? When I calculate the reminder, after I had paid my tuition fees.  It would not be enough for a MacBook Pro, but now I was working, even though the rate was not so good – since I could only work in the night, and most of the time I was late, as I had to come first from school, all the way from Claremont to CBD, and then walk from all the way from Grand Parade to Upper Kloof Street (I actually ran most of the time) – I should be able to get it. In addition, winter was approaching – so a few customers and less tourists. I finally got my laptop in May 2013.

During June or July the Adobe GoCreate finally announced their winners (when writing this I just realised that I wrote a post back in 2012).  I thought all my hard work went in vain, but I later got an email that I was awarded a R500 voucher for anything at Digicape and the expiring date was something like the following year.  I waited until I could the R600, and then bought my Wacom graphic tablet.

In August, I stumbled upon a few freelancing sites, including Design Crowd. At first I was not sure, but I sent in my design any way. From there, they kept sending me contest updates. In December, I bought my all in one printer, copier and scanner.

In January new owners took over Ocean Basket, and they just turned everything upside down. They were more money driven, rather than people driven, destroying the whole concept of Ocean Basket Kloof Street. Amongst the changes was: letting go of students who could only be available for night shift. I had a word with the one of the new partners, and by the favour of God, I he agreed to keep me on; but it was second year, and we were introduced to the Animation Workshop, on top of that they removed the wages and I had moved to Kenilworth. So, I could not continue there anymore. My school was more important, and animation-hand-drawing was not so fun. I can still feel my fingers aching from repeatedly drawing the next frame.

Finally, I had my laptop, graphic tablet and printer – nothing could stop me. Unfortunately, when I went to Kenilworth, there was no internet in the apartment that I was renting. Luckily, the whole entire CTI moved to our building (MGI) and wifi coverage was extended. So, I could sit outside and do my work.

The Link

Postcolonial Implications on my creativity

From a young age I understood that I can never do art. Art is for the caucasian ( mainly those of South African descend as Namibia was almost annexed as the sixth South African province). This mentally was entrenched too deep in my mind that I was convinced that art, can never be a career that one could make a proper livelihood from.

Thus, I planned my entire life. I forgot to mention that I am a persuasive planner, worse than Caroline Forbes, mainly on science subject and the science field. Since, in my community or society the only jobs were those that involved engineering, and teaching ( but all of my friends and most our class mates no one wanted a teaching job as it was under paid and so far I have not heard nor seen anyone of us being a teacher. They all ended up being lawyers, accountants, engineers and business owners and managers).

During the time I was in grade 7, I had mapped the following chart

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My mothers Generation: During the Bantu System people of colour students were only allowed to study until grade 10 or standard 8. There after they would become teachers, nurses and skilled workers: They not allowed to become doctors, engineers, plumbers, accountants

In fact, growing up we were only exposed to seeing our parents as nurses and teachers. The options of other careers only become evident in the 8th grade. One can deduce that from a young age I have been unknowingly being controlled and dictated by the apartheid system  (which falls under colonialism), and I thought that that is just how things were, or were suppose to be.

In conclusion colonialism has affected my life even before, I was aware of it. I was born into a world dominated and subjected  to colonialism (apartheid). Even though it ended when we became independent in 1990, it still had affect in my life.

This is the kind of links I am looking for. In your design career is there any evidence of the impact of colonialism or postcolonialism. If you can identify some, and you are interested in taking part in this research. Please contact me through the contact form so that I may send you the questionnaire (the questions needs to be the same as the other studios or graphic designers).

 

About me

I am interested in running and operating my multidimensional graphic design studio to a level where it is fully independent financially. (At the moment, I still depend on my day job, which I am satisfied with, however I am not planning on working in my current job for the next ten years). My graphic design studio presently provides animation, web design, corporate identity and illustration services.

Furthermore, I would like to learn more effective ways to successfully incorporate social media into my business. I would like to operate an online school, where I can teach entrepreneurs the importance of graphic design solutions for their businesses, and how to effectively incorporate social media into their business. Similarly, finding online payment channels or systems that would enable Namibian freelance graphic designers to accept oversea payments.

At present, one can receive the money in a virtual bank, but one cannot withdraw it. I would like to continue my research on Postcolonial Studies, as well as how it affects the contemporary African and African Diaspora. I know already about this topic as, I have studied Postcolonial theory during my final year. Postcolonial theory aims to challenge and destabilise the western ideologies, which were once regarded as superior to that of all the other nations. The notion of the ‘other’ comes into play, in order to qualify the dogmatic western ideologies that were used to justify the barbaric motives, actions and treatments that the colonised received from the colonisers. Within Postcolonialism the concepts of hybridity, cultural hegemony and subaltern are discussed. My aims for this research is to provide solutions to the limitations which the contemporary Africans and African Diasporas are facing in order to eventually create an online training school, and an online community for constant interaction and the establishment of a fund, to provide financial assistance where possible.

The elements that really interest me about my topic, is the effect of colonialism, which is still evident in a subtle manner, in the lives of the descendants of the once colonised. As well as, the limiting mentality to believe that one is limited, because of one’s past and who one is – a man of colour. Similarly, the external factors that prevent the descendants of colonial victims to grow, and flourish in comparison to the descendants of the colonisers.

Omazimo

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In connection with the Post-colonialism which emphasises on a postcolonial identity a hybrid culture constituted of Western cultural influence and the native culture (Fischer -Tine, 2011). This notion elevates the native Africans that have allowed themselves to be limited by the past colonial experiences. It is often said that South Africa is one year behind than the rest of the world in terms of design. It does not have to be that way since we can come up with new ideas that are only unique to us and thus we can turn the wheel and be the ones creating the trends and not just following them. One of the problem that the Western world is facing is that so many ideas have already been up into practice, just as land is scares. However in African there are still so many unexplored opportunities, and so much land which still needs to be discovered. African has so much more to offer in terms of design.

Amadigiafropreneur

Welcome to the  Ama Digiafropreneur – (I am a Digiafropreneur).

The blog that express true African Designs by Africans.

In this blog, I will explain the thought behind my essay question. I do not merely want to create a questionnaire (which is most of the time less engaging), but to create a community where we can all share our views and find ways of solving our problems.

At present, I am thinking of having Ama Digiafropreneur on various social media: instagram, facebook and twitter.

Although this endeavour is particularly for my essay, I would like to have the theme:

The Subaltern are talking.

With the subtopic: Challenges in creative practice. 

In connection with my essay, I am looking for African and African Diaspora individuals who are under 30, who have not started their freelancing or practice prior to 2012.

Now you might be wondering who is Bennardo Santos.

I’m the founder and managing director at PriDegree Designs

I am currently pursing my Masters in Graphic Design, at University of Hertfordshire through IDI.