Inspired by African deities, folklores and myths, Nerome Borke, also known as Mr Chauw, is a visual artist with an affinity for black and gold, which is prominent in all his works as they symbolise the royalty of the dark, African skin. With an Economics degree from the University of Benin, Nerome’s dive into the art world in 2012 was a means of freedom from the depression and anxiety he experienced as a youth trying to find his place in society.
When it comes to his creative process, he details that once inspired and can picture an image in his head; he spends days on end reshaping the vision and thinking of how it would look on canvas to calm the chaos in his head before he begins painting.
He then drenches his canvas in black paint, which signifies his African heritage, and then uses chalk or pencil to sketch his ideas before pulling out his acrylics to illustrate his concepts. His creative technique involves pouring the acrylic paint directly on the canvas to give a texture feel rather than the smoothness a paintbrush gives. All his artworks are adorned with shapes painted gold, green, red and blue (sometimes white)
When done painting, he then leaves his finished work under the sun for three to four hours for a reason best explained in his own words: “I believe in the energy of the sun. I want when people look at my artwork to feel that energy.”
When it comes to creating and selling his work, like any Nigerian creative living in this climate, he is plagued by the cost of creation. Mainly using imported materials makes a dent in one's pocket, and with prices constantly increasing, it's hard for buyers to understand that raw materials cost a fortune. Aside from the constant incline of costs, Nigeria isn’t the most motivational place to reside, which causes him often to go days, weeks, or months without painting.
“Most people often see artworks as something to decorate your house and not as the expression of artists soul; an asset which you can resell later” The cumulation of energy, cost of materials and the pure expression of an artist makes up the cost of goods are then seen as unjustified because the Nigerian Art market is not as developed which tempts artists to undervalue their creations and sell them for lower prices.