By Mercy Hill
Joshua Egesi is a Creative Consultant and an Art Director skilled in different art practices and passionate about the design of things.
He is popularly known as the recycle artist who made the biggest bottle cap art in Africa. Since then, he has worked on even bigger sizes than that and other interesting projects. He studied Art in Auchi Polytechnic and University of Benin, respectively.
He believes we all exist for different reasons and he particularly exists to move this world forward through his Creativity. It is nice to have you here, we have read your biography, please tell us why you chose the Arts as your medium of expression.
Why did you choose Art as your medium of expression?
So, I am a very expressive person. I’m curious minded and I tend to question a lot of things and art is the best possible platform to help me express how I feel about things.
Interesting, tell us when you discovered your love for the Art? How long have you been into the Arts?
I grew up loving a lot of things. Art and Tech most especially. I picked up on art early enough watching my elder sister draw. She was so good at it and I wanted to be that good too, so I started practicing how to draw stick figures and copying some other illustrations from story books. Thanks to my parents for encouraging me. I would say I have been into art since I was a child.
Can you tell us what inspired the recycle art that has been making waves?
So first up, that was my final year project 4 years ago. I am still shocked that it is making waves 4 years later.
I have always loved to upcycle things. I hardly threw away things. They just have a way of taking new forms and shapes in my head. This project was a product of my internship days with Ifesinachi Comedy Nwanyanwu.
He is a recycle artist and I just loved what he did with waste and found objects. One day he said I should do something with the bottle caps that he had collected from waste sites. I basically just played around the idea of stringing them up with rope and hung them downwards.
I loved the way they looked side by side and I thought to make more. That night while I was working on my laptop, editing an image on Photoshop, I discovered that every time I zoomed into a picture, it pixelates.
Pixels are tiny boxes that make up a whole image if looked at from afar. That was where I got the idea that I can represent these pixels with different colors of bottle caps and of course, if it is looked at from afar, people can see the whole image. Laughs… so, Yes, that was a euphoric moment and I decided it was going to be my final year art project.
How long did it take you to create this work and what were some of the challenges you faced?
it took me several months to create this one and that was because I was doing it for the first time but these days I do it in weeks. 2 weeks maximum. But that is dependent on the size. One of my major challenges was with the size. I had initially planned for a smaller size but because I was doing it for the first time, my calculations were inaccurate, so I had to extend the size. Another challenges I had was collecting the caps enmasse. As much as I tried picking some on the streets and from restaurants, they just weren’t enough, so I had to get from Abuja, Delta state and Lagos.
You said it has been 4 years since you created that work. How do you feel anytime this work becomes the point of attraction again?
Hmmm. I honestly just look back to the past me and thank him for putting in the work.
Please what is your advice for up-and-coming younger artists, who want to try their hands on this kind of creative recycle arts?
The world needs more people like us to creatively make good use of waste so we can all live better lives. The good thing about upcycle art is that your resources are readily available so instead of spending time thinking about what materials to use, you spend more time thinking about execution and how to tell an exciting story with your art.
A lot of people have ideas but most times they lack motivation to execute. What drives you and keeps you going?
The need to get things done is enough motivation for me. If I do not do it, who will? And if someone is going to do it, when would that be? So, if you have an idea to do something, do it now because delaying it might affect a whole lot.
Apart from the fact that these arts are aesthetically pleasing, how else can these recycle arts bring relief to the world today especially during and after the pandemic?
Recycling in general does better to the earth and no harm. Recycle art on the other hand saves the environment and stimulates the mind positively.
Recycling, if done right can heal the world post pandemic and I can say it is already, because people tend to recycle more these days.
Interesting. I believe this is in line with the SDGs, but a lot of people are not well enlightened on the power of recycle art. Are there plans to increase sensitization?
I do what I can and hope other people out there like me keep doing what they can. Hopefully someday, we would all be sensitized.
Do you have any words for people who are creative and exceptionally talented, but shy to show what they have done?
Creativity comes with a level of confidence. Creators are the ones that forge this world. Come out of your shell and help advance this world with your creativity, however small or irrelevant you think it is.The Mustard Seed is so small but……
Come out of your shell because you are depriving people of that joy, peace and safety they are supposed to feel from interacting with your work.
Thank you so much, Joshua, for a value-packed session.
Source: this interview was conducted by ‘Creatives in Africa‘.