NIGERIAN artist Titus Agbara is through to the semi-final of Sky Artsí Landscape Artist Of The Year competition after impressing judges with his technique of painting oils with a palette knife.
Born in Lagos, Titus discovered his artistic talent as a child and studied fine art in Nigeria before moving to Edmonton in 2007 and settling down with wife Oluwa and their 22-month-old daughter Olivia.
For the next stage of the competition, he plans to incorporate the current refugee crisis in his painting and reveals how his art often draws elements from both his life in the UK and NigeriaÖ
How does it feel to be through to the semi-final of Sky Artsí Landscape Artist of the Year competition?
Itís a thing of joy to my soul. This is my third attempt. Iíve participated in the heats for Portrait Artist Of The Year 2014, Landscape Artist Of The Year 2015 and 2016.
I feel happy to be selected three times as the process is gradually getting me to the top.
Can you tell me about your technique?
I just let it flow. My art goes through stages from my emotion, meditation, concept, composition to process of execution, as my technique has been defined with the use of a palette knife. I hardly do sketches on paper as I work directly on the surface mostly with oils or paint. The application of paint is done with the palette knife and how detailed the piece is depends on the level of paint applied, as the knife gives a texture to the painting that perhaps is difficult to achieve with a brush.
How did you develop this skill?
I had the flair for anything arty when I was a child. Whenever I come across someone drawing or painting, every other thing become secondary to me as I am lost in trying to watch and observe how itís been done. This attitude has been in me since I was a child.
What landscape will you be painting in the semi-final?
The location for the semi-final has been made known to us however, the main focal point will be disclosed to us on our arrival. As the location entails a wide expanse of sea, land and atmosphere, with this impression my mind, my thoughts and emotions go to those that have lost their lives in trying to seek for a better life migrating through the sea, so Iíll try to see how I could infuse and relay all these factors into my painting.
Have you entered any other painting competitions in England or Nigeria in the past?
Iíve been successful to be shortlisted as finalist in the under 35 category for Winsor & Newton at the Mall Gallery, London. I was also a shortlisted finalist in the Artists & Illustrators Magazine artist of the year category.
Do you incorporate themes from Africa in your work?
Yes, as I lived there for so long and developed my craft there, so my painting is still emotionally attached to that place. This can be seen from the painting I submitted for this yearís Sky Arts competition, as I try to bring together my day-to-day life in the United Kingdom and relate it to my way of life back home.