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2022 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize / ART / INTERVIEWS / PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION

An Inferno Starts With a Single Flame: Pyrography by Alex Peter Idoko

Exclusive interview with Alex Peter Idoko, ArtStation People’s Choice Award, 2022 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize

Art is something anyone can appreciate, and everyone can create for themselves. Whether it is a paintbrush, a chisel, or a pencil there are a variety of tools to use. Alex Peter Idoko chooses some of the more dangerous tools of the trade. For the Nigerian artist, its razor blades and fire. To be clear, Alex does not use a hot tool to burn and score the wood, instead relying primarily on a blowtorch to scorch the wood.

The Lagos based artist takes takes a slab of wood and both burns and cuts into the sylvan surface with such a refined method as to produce the hyper-realistic images featured here. Sandpaper and charcoal help him along the way, but his tools remain very basic. He strives to capture ideas that make his audience think more than “what a lovely piece”. Alex’s art is powerful and there is clearly a message about black lives and living in Africa. His process is extensive, which seems apparent from the first image below depicting Alex at the bottom right using a razorblade on a piece that is rather large.

My [greatest] source of inspiration has been God, but also my environment and the things happening around me.

Please tell me more about how you began creating your art.

It was baby steps that grew to become giant strides. I harness my God given talent through the corridors of passion and personal development. I was drawing cartoons and my family members and it got better by the day – and we are here. I am still getting better. 

Are you using models for your images or are you creating your figures from your imagination

Well, both. I use models and re-create what I want to see.

What encouraged or inspired you to pursue visual arts, especially in the form that you do?

My own passion and the happenings around my society; these occurrences present topics for a visual form and allow me to pass the message on to others. 

Tell me about your artistic process. What sort of headspace do you find is the most inspiring for you?

My artistic process comes in stages. First, I get an inspiration then get a model that will best present the idea. Next, I prepare my tools and carve my wood. After all is set, I start using fire and a razorblade to start drawing my pieces into reality.

My themes are based on African realities, the freedom, advocacy for change, and solutions to challenges. Art is a language that people can read. As long as you connect and interpret your heart, people will always understand that language.

Do you have any superstitions regarding new pieces?

I’m usually on the calm side so I just ensure my environment is quiet and I’m good. I don’t have any superstitions, I just pray and listen to inspirational music.

How long does an image usually take you to complete? How many steps are involved?

Depends on the piece I’m drawing. It takes a month, sometimes two. They are couple of steps in putting my pieces together, a lot of [individual] processes. I sincerely haven’t calculated the number of steps, but there are surely more than 10 steps.

alex-peter-deep-call-the-deep

Can you tell me more about how you use light values to make glossy effects of droplets and the whites of your figures’ eyes?

Hmm, how can I explain this? It depends on the piece I am trying to create. If it’s a piece with droplets, I go slowly by following all the patterns and highlights of the droplets to bring it to reality. I scrape the eyes very well with a razorblade after burning it with fire to make the eyes white – and sometimes add a little touch of white charcoal.

Tell me about the themes you have chosen to depict. How does your artwork represent you and your values?

My themes are based on African realities, the freedom, advocacy for change, and solutions to challenges. Art is a language that people can read. As long as you connect and interpret your heart, people will always understand that language.

alex-peter-emergence

Aside from wood, have you worked on other mediums to burn?

No, haven’t worked on any other medium to burn yet, but let’s see how the journey goes.

Who or what has been the single most important influence for your work today? Who are some of the other artists that have influenced you?

My [greatest] source of inspiration has been God, but also my environment and the things happening around me. I’ve been influenced by artists like Arinze, Salvador Dali, and Asiko

alex-peter-Princess-of-Toro

How do you see your work influencing the art scene on a global scale?

There is so much about my art that I’m still unveiling. I trust that the language will be more global than it is right now. 

Tell me about the piece you submitted entitled Freedom’s Rhythm. What is the message behind this beautiful piece? How long did it take you to complete?

Freedom’s Rhythm captures not only the idea of one finally breaking free, [but it also] captures one’s total surrender to authority that would in return command the freedom desired. It also shows [both] the flow and impact power has from its source to its destination when decrees are made. The portrait showcases a bound woman who has finally decided to rely on a stronger external force; the crown signifies royalty and authority to help her out of her predicament. The bruises on her shoulder and feet show a previous struggle to break free on her own accord. While the crown is above her head like a covering, it is gradually flowing over her body like a volcano and setting her free. This flow represents a sent word or decree that has the power to break chains.

Alex-Peter-Idoko-freedom
“Freedom’s Rhythm”
Medium & Dimensions:
Fire, razorblade, sandpaper, charcoal, wood, 47″ x 36″

Why did you enter the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize?

One of my art collectors shared the link with me and said he believed that I’d do well. 

What do you feel you have gained from this experience?

A lot. It made me appreciate my own art [along with] other genres of art.

Would you recommend it and encourage others to enter? If so, why?

Yes, I would. The process will build your confidence and boost your art process.

Alex Peter Idoko Social Media Accounts

Website | Facebook | Instagram

About Author

Warrior, witch, wandering wordsmith. Watchful woman of the wild. Artist, storyteller, all around hobbyist.

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