Artist Spotlight: Buchi Okeke – The Therapeutic Minimalist

Artist Spotlight: Buchi Okeke – The Therapeutic Minimalist

In the bustling heart of Lagos, Nigeria, resides a profound artist whose work transcends the mere visual to touch the very essence of human experience. Buchi Okeke, a dedicated minimalist, employs his unique style to create art that is not just seen but felt deeply, making a significant impact on the mental health discourse. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Maduabuchi to discuss his artistic journey, the inspirations behind his unique technique, and his valuable advice for fellow artists.


Misfit by Buchi Okeke, 2024


artdey: Your art features a unique minimalist approach with figurative forms and contour lines. How do you believe this visual simplicity contributes to the therapeutic experience for your audience?

Buchi Okeke: Simplicity, in general, is easy for everyone to enjoy on its own. I have always been the kind of person who believes strongly in love. If love could touch every heart, life would be easy and simple.I create contour lines in my figures to show mood and emotion. With their big, open eyes, these figures pierce into the soul, compelling my audience to look deeper, to observe with an open mind, and to understand what the lines represent. For some, they evoke good memories; for others, bad memories; and for many, a glimpse into the future. They can recall childhood moments and memories of the past, prompting the mind to reflect, heal, mend, or adjust. Whether young or old, the simple line can resonate with everyone.


artdeyWhat inspired your unique technique of using minimalistic figurative forms and contour lines, and can you break down how you develop these elements in your artwork?

Buchi Okeke: My life as a person has been an inspiration. The experiences I have had and the people and artists whose works I have seen have all influenced me. I have always loved to draw. As a lover of painting and a graduate of art, I always wanted to challenge the belief that "you need many colors to convey a message." Almost all the artists I hear of utilize a plethora of colors, maybe different materials, but you can always see the multiple colors. Yes, all artists have different ways of expressing themselves, but I chose to make mine simple. I wouldn't say I found the style; I would say it found me. In my sobriety and during a depressive state, the only thing that brought me joy was drawing simple lines. It took me a whole year to understand and connect with these lines, and the more I drew, the better I became and the further I advanced.The white background signifies the purity of the mind, the big eye serves as a window to the soul, the body contour lines show gestures and emotion in motion, and a little touch of color adds mood and serves as clothing. These elements are how I pass my message. I'm still not there yet, because every day I find more reasons to perfect it. All I have ever wanted is to show the world and pass my message, because every artist is a messenger of their time.


Kindred 2 by Buchi Okeke, 2024


artdeyMental health is a recurring theme in your work. Can you share how your personal journey has influenced your art and the messages you aim to convey through your pieces?

 Buchi Okeke: No man or woman can be happy if the thoughts they hoard are sad or bad. We all have bad and sad moments; sometimes they reoccur over and over in family, work, home, school, and society. In Nigeria today, many people are sad due to economic hardship, unemployment, and more, leading to issues like theft, fraud, prostitution, and other problems. Many have fallen into depression, loneliness, and even suicide. I was once so depressed that I thought the world was against me. Too many sad thoughts weighed me down, and I became a total sadist. My mom, being the beautiful person she is, always tried to make me happy and told me everything would be fine. Her small acts of love were all I needed to break free, and that was how the lines came in. I want everyone to look at my work and see a reflection of hope, peace, togetherness, family, friendship, bonding, wholeness, joy, happiness, and above all, love. It's healing.


artdey: What advice do you have for young artists who are looking to achieve success in the art industry?

Buchi Okeke: Love your craft before the money. Be original, be bold, be consistent, practice, and find your niche. Understand your muse and use it well. Learn and add to yourself. Don't let words pull you down; many will criticize, but just be you. In the universe, nothing is new—it's just not seen. So, you are free to pick a style from another and decipher a new style from it. That is your originality. That is art. Be expressive. Be you.


Shared Emotion 2 by Buchi Okeke, 2024


Okeke's minimalist art offers a profound therapeutic experience, blending visual simplicity with deep emotional resonance. His dedication to mental health advocacy through art bridges generational gaps and fosters meaningful conversations. Living and creating in Lagos, Buchi draws inspiration from his environment, crafting pieces that speak to universal human experiences and personal introspection. As he continues his artistic journey, his work stands as a testament to the power of minimalism in art. His pieces not only please the eye but also heal the mind and soul, making him a pivotal figure in the contemporary art scene.Shop his pieces now on artdey + free international delivery.

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