Crafting Masterpieces on Wood: Illuminating the Artistic Odyssey and Success Story of Chukwuemeka Michaels

Crafting Masterpieces on Wood: Illuminating the Artistic Odyssey and Success Story of Chukwuemeka Michaels

We're putting the spotlight on the formidable artist, Chukwuemeka Michaels, a gem in the creative world, whose works have been displayed at numerous exhibitions and auctions both at home and abroad. He was a scholar of Fine and Applied Arts at the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka (U.N.N), where he majored in painting and graduated in 2007. His primary focus is eloquent wood expressions of acrylic on wood panels. Through his own words, learn about his inspirations, road to success, challenges he has faced along the way, biggest achievements, and his advice to newcomers in the art world.


Chukwuemeka Michaels photographed


artdey: What inspired you to pursue an art career, and how did your artistic journey begin?

Chukwuemeka Michaels: My inspiration for pursuing art dates back to my childhood. From a young age, I had a strong inclination towards the creative world, consistently winning drawing competitions from primary school to secondary school. The desire to be immersed in this creative realm has always been a part of me. My first job in a manufacturing company was driven by my passion for creating. Even before primary school, everyone recognized my affinity for the arts. It was a unanimous belief that I would inevitably choose a path in the creative field. This passion has been ingrained in me since childhood, guiding me through various stages of artistic expression. Professionally, I find inspiration in the continuous progress of my art. The journey has always been marked by growth, transitioning from one level to another, and that evolution motivates me to keep pushing forward.


People by Chukwuemeka Michaels 


artdey: Were there any specific influences, events, or individuals who played a significant role in shaping your early artistic endeavors?

Chukwuemeka MichaelsThe foremost influence in my early artistic endeavors was my parents. They recognized and nurtured my creative instincts from a young age. They deliberately exposed me to cartoons, steering me away from action movies, and fostering a creative environment. As a child, I engaged in various artistic pursuits, even earning money through jobs at the age of 12 or 13. Throughout my primary and secondary school years, my teachers played a crucial role in shaping my artistic identity. Notable university lecturers, such as El AnatsuiChijioke Onuora, and Ekwu Emesi, served as inspirations. Professionally, figures like Uchey Joel Chima and, most significantly, Chidi Kwubiri, influenced me. Chidi not only mentored me in art but also imparted essential knowledge about the business side of being an artist.


artdey: Reflecting on your artistic journey, what do you consider to be the key factors that contributed to your success as an artist?

Chukwuemeka Michaels: The pivotal factor in my artistic success is continuity. Just like any other aspect of life, continuity is essential. The combination of inspiration and hard work thrives when one persists in their creative pursuits. I have experienced success in various fields, from working in a manufacturing company to managing a hotel, but none fulfilled me like the creative world. Despite challenges, I remained committed and dedicated to my craft. Whether sketching at night or working during the day, the consistency of commitment and continuity has been the driving force behind my progress.


Together As One by Chukwuemeka Michaels


artdey: What personal challenges have you faced as an artist?

Chukwuemeka Michaels: The challenges I encountered as an artist were akin to ordinary human struggles, but what stands out is my journey from transporting my artwork via bus to dealing with the complexities of switching career paths. Overcoming financial constraints, rejection from galleries, and the quest to find my unique artistic voice were significant hurdles. Yet, the most enduring challenge was the need for a dedicated space to create amidst neighbors' objections. Despite these obstacles, my commitment to the craft, coupled with a relentless pursuit of my artistic identity, has been the key to overcoming each challenge and thriving in my artistic journey.


artdey: What are some of your career achievements that you're most proud of?

Chukwuemeka Michaels: To be sincere, I'm proud of every achievement, every level. It's every level that holds significance for me. From standing at Muriukola Park as the first artist before others joined, to selling my artwork for varying amounts at different stages, each step contributed to my growth. Whether it was exhibiting with Alexis or progressing from gallery to gallery, every stage was a success. I take pride in the continuous evolution of my career, from selling works for modest amounts to reaching a point where I am represented in different galleries. Every stage, no matter how small, has been a source of pride and accomplishment for me.


Ability To Share by Chukwuemeka Michaels


artdey: For newer artists aspiring to make a mark in the art world, what advice would you offer them in terms of honing their craft and building a successful career?

Chukwuemeka Michaels: My advice for emerging artists is straightforward - focus on the fundamentals, especially the art of drawing. Just draw. They say if a child wants to walk, they must first crawl. Similarly, mastering the basics of drawing is the foundation for becoming a progressive artist. Drawing every day is the key; it's the initial step before advancing to more complex artistic endeavors. Reflect on my journey – my drawings have evolved from the realism of my school days to expressing what lies within. Drawing from the inside allows me to communicate my unique perspective and creativity. Before reaching this stage, where I confidently capture contours and convey full movements, consistent daily drawing was crucial. So, my advice to aspiring artists is simple: Draw every day, hone your skills, and let your inner creativity guide your artistic expression.


Nwokedike 1 by Chukwuemeka Michaels


Michaels' narrative serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity within the African art community. From the early sparks of inspiration in childhood to the complex challenges faced as an emerging artist, his journey mirrors the broader narrative of triumph over adversity. As we commemorate Black History Month, let us draw inspiration from Chukwuemeka's unwavering dedication, reminding us that every stroke of the brush, every commitment to artistic continuity, contributes to the vibrant mosaic of Black excellence. Through his words, we find a call to action – to honor the past, celebrate the present, and pave the way for a future where African artists continue to shape and redefine the artistic landscape.

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