The eyes receive most of the information possessed by our senses and help stimulate our interest in something. InterviewStories met a Creative Designer and Digital Artist in the person of Akilo Joseph Abiodun a graduate of Building Construction Technology from the University of Lagos. His works on Deviantart.com were breathtaking and that of his Instagram: @Kilojo_Creative page made us get across to the talented artist. Joseph’s design/brand name is Kilojo which is gotten from A-kilojo-seph (coined from two of his names which are Akilo and Joseph) who is happy to tell his story to the world.
Can we meet the man behind all these great designs?
Yes you can. My name is Joseph Abiodun Akilo, from Ogun state born in Lagos State.
Briefly tell us about your educational background.
After my secondary education at Mount Zion Academy, Isolo, Lagos state. I intended to study Architecture at the University of Lagos but didn’t get the admission that year. The next year I chose Buildings Construction and I got in. My father was an engineer so I wanted something close to his field.
What were your motivation for going into designs and 3-D graphics?
All right, well – in one short answer I would say Video games. When I was younger we never had a game console. My brother and I. All our friends did but what we had was a computer. So we installed some games on the family computer, Duke Nukem 3D, Mortal Kombat 4, Unreal Tournament and some MUGEN based fighter games. After a while, I learnt how to edit the characters and make my stages. I found this very interesting mainly because art was always my thing and involved a lot of drawing and a little bit of coding.
Hmmm! That is interesting…Are you fully into graphics or you have other things that you do for a living?
Yes, I am fully into graphics
Hmmm…yours is an interesting story…
Thanks, it is.
Do you code?
Yes, but I dropped that to focus on my designs.
Are you self employed now, or a freelancer or do you work for a company as an employee?
I freelance currently.
Do you have both local and foreign clients or just local clients?
I have both. I joined a couple of freelance platforms where clients can find the freelancers they are looking for. I got most of my foreign clients from these channels, the others through my posts on social media.
So what has been your watchword ever since then?
My watchword is to draw inspiration from without and within. I’m not sure if I’ve told anyone but it’s something I tell myself. Life is about balance, we all need new experiences but a bit of meditation is just as important.
That is inspiring sir… I guess one needs to learn from you…
Joseph: (Laughs) I guess we all can learn from one another.
What advice would you like to give to budding “self-preneurs” and graphics artists like yourself?
To the self-preneurs, I would say keep improving and find better ways of doing things you are already doing. Get the word out there as much as you can. To my graphic artists, I know they already work so hard. Don’t try to do everything on your own. You can collaborate with other artists as well. Share your strengths and weaknesses with others.
That’s great advice for budding graphics-preneurs.I am sure that they will learn one or two things which they can imbibe.
I hope so.
As regards your industry, and as a veteran in it; what are the challenges associated with it?
The graphics industry is highly saturated with many people who don’t value their time. Perhaps it’s because we enjoy what we do. Nevertheless, health is important. I also see a lot of people who haven’t gotten the theory about art and design down. These things are very important.
Any other challenges?
Well there the challenge of some clients undervaluing your work. It’s a whole other discussion but I think it’s because of the number of people in the graphics field.
How do you personally circumvent around some of these challenges?
Setting your priorities straight is one way. When I first started, I hardly got any sleep. Four hours a day was a good day, this was because of projects with ridiculous deadlines. As a human, your priority should be your health because taking that away takes everything away. I’ve had to either turn down so many projects or refer them to another designer that should handle a particular part of the project… I mentioned collaboration before, that’s one way to handle things also.
So what are your prospects?
I’m working on a few personal projects of my own. One is illustrating a children’s Bible with all black characters. It’s something I’ve already begun. I’m also working on releasing my comic books and graphics-based novels.
I must say these prospects are mind-blowing and revolutionary. More grease to your elbow.
Well, thank you, Sir.
Where do you see yourself and your brand in coming years?
Kilojo becoming a company hiring fellow artists and designers full-time. I also intend to have something like a school to empower young ones and get them started in the graphics industry. We would also go into printing soon.
That’s a great vision…
Can you tell us your favourite quote?
Never really thought about it but if there is any I’ll say it is this:
I think, therefore I am!Dictum coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method (1637). René Descartes (1596–1650) was a French philosopher and mathematician
It is a strong quote. Could it mean that one has to believe in oneself to achieve anything?
This is from Descartes. He was a philosopher who questioned his existence. He concluded he existed because he could think. As an artist, I always advocate for some self-reflection now and then.
All right. I guess that’s a great way to live.
Yes it is
What motivates you?
I would say a quest for knowledge, I am quite the perfectionist. I love to understand how things work and hopefully create something better. That has always been my driving force.
Is that why you are always striving to push new boundaries?
Yes, I guess so.
Before we go, what are your areas of strength and how do you harness your weaknesses to work for you?
Well, I think I have too many ideas. That becomes a weakness when it comes to execution. I love minimalism – the omission of the unnecessary. So for some of my designs, during the early stages, I send sketches of the concepts to some close friends and fellow designers. Getting their feedback has always been helpful. Seeing things from another angle, I can decide what is essential and what isn’t in the design. This also translated into writing. I am currently learning how to write for novels and comics. I discovered some of the stories I have in my head have too much content that the value is lost. Delivering just what is necessary is very important.
I hope everyone would find a way to convert their weaknesses into strength…like you. It would make our world a better place……
Of course. Everyone should.
How can one contact you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. WhatsApp number is 07018880219. I have a blog coming up soon is kilojocreative.blogspot.com.
Thank you very much for your time.