Creativity without fear nor limitations with Eugene Ankomah
Don’t call him an artist, call him a Creator. With a body work that spans visual art, performance art, sculpture and installations, Eugene Ankomah is fearless when creating art.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR LOVE OF ART?
It was always there. I actually have no memory of not engaging in art. Like I was always drawing or making something as a very young child. My parents confirm this.
YOU ARE A VISUAL AND A PERFORMANCE ARTIST…
I have always believed that everything else I have become has sprung out of my primary practice as a Painter. It has shaped my understanding of my Performance Art, my sculpture work, my Installations, my print work, my self-designed outfits, my ever changing personas and all my other former and current projects and styles. I tend to use the term Visual Artist or sometimes Creator just because what I create does not stop with the visual.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR MOTTO: “CREATIVITY WITHOUT LIMITATIONS”
It came to me at a time when I was trying to articulate how I felt about my thinking and making of art since I was a child. I could see that I had followed a path that had continuously re-invented itself. In the beginning, I had no idea I could do other things apart from being able to draw, paint and make things well. Time has revealed to me a kind of general understanding of things, which has meant that I am constantly filled with a cue of ideas, concepts and artistic expressions which are neither limited or lacking in creativity.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR WORK PROCESS: HOW DO YOU GET STARTED ON A PIECE?
As far as I’m concerned, one has to open themselves up, or open the mind up, like a channel that is waiting for information to pass through. As I go about living life, I am often very strongly attracted to something I might hear, see or even over hear in my surroundings. I am quick to make notes and even record sounds if necessary. With that feeling comes generally (not always) the connection of these thoughts to the world we live in. With the idea or concept, comes the materials that I need to use to most express the thought, and this is usually followed by me frantically sketching down the idea, or sometimes getting my phone out and recording myself describing the idea. I do not at that point necessarily get concerned about the meaning of the idea. All I want at that point is to record it before I loose it. As I take the ”risk” of making this idea come to life, it’s usually at this point that meaning comes to me. This happens with my paintings, sound pieces, and even during the process of creating my outfits and more.
In the end, I feel like my ideas are all a reflection, or an extension of myself anyway.
GIVE US MORE CONTEXT ABOUT YOUR PAINTINGS “UNTITLED”, “UNTITLED 5” AND “UNTITLED 9”.
They all fall under my Brain Wave series. It’s an exploration and celebration of life, energy, movement, the concept of progress and a dip into the vast mental power that enables us to create spontaneously with a kind of mysterious energy that isn’t tapped into enough by artists because of fear. Of course this all starts in the mind, hence my current obsession with the symbolism and images of brain scans and their constant inclusion in my work as a sort of motif.
I am fully aware many of these works provoke a reaction or grab ones attention. I welcome all provoked thoughts and responses I am indifferent to all. Once I complete a creation, it must be set free to be what it is. I don’t get in the way of that.
YOU ARE FROM A GHANAIAN HERITAGE: HOW IS YOUR WORK AS AN ARTIST RECEIVED BY YOUR FAMILY? AND HOW DOES YOUR HERITAGE INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
My immediate and extended family are and have been very supportive, although I am very aware they do not and have not always understood my ideas or the intensions behind them, which is perfectly fine. They tell me all the time about how proud they are of my achievements and efforts. However, I did have a lot of pain from my dad in the beginning stages, as he never had a clue where it was all leading. These days however, he is supportive.
My work does not reference Ghana in an obvious way, perhaps apart from the Ghana flag that was once included as part of a display on top of Buckingham Palace with other flags. I have always been one to seek and find what I feel to be a far more interesting, fresh and imaginative way of including my heritage. My works, including some of my choices in outfits have all been inspired by memories of my childhood in Ghana. The images I saw on TV, and distinct characters that made us laugh and those who shocked us have all influenced one area or another of my overall output. So in that sense, the influence is very much there.