“I make art about the things I love to make me happy.“
There are certain artists whose work brings a smile to your face immediately, and the one and only @solaolulode is one of the best! I’ve admired Sola’s work for a long time, and was delighted to speak to her about her practice.
The figures in her work intertwine, inseparable. They are uninhibited, in unique and tender moments. Uplifting, striking, powerful and intimate, I love her work.
Talking about the iconic blues and yellows in her work, Sola said: “For me colour is the best way to translate emotion in art. For me yellow became very symbolic of the joy and intensity of the feelings of falling in love. The blue actually started off as just an aesthetic choice, I just really like the way dark blue and rich blue grounds complemented the black and brown skin tones of the figures in my works.”
How would you describe what you do in a few words?
I make art about the things I love to make me happy.
That's the most beautiful answer I might have recieved!
A fun one, If you could have a meal with any artist from any time:
a) what would the meal be and
b) who would it be with
I think it would have to be Chris Ofili. Just because I'm a massive fan of his work and would love to sit down with him and quiz him about all of this painting processes. I wouldn’t even care what we ate!
So, Sola, Tell me about your earliest memory surrounding art Sola, and when did you decide to pursue a career in art?
My earliest memories of making art are in nursery school doing all sorts of painting and drawing at home too. My mum still has some drawings I made in the nursery framed in our hallway. I don’t think there was ever a conscious decision. I just always loved making art from a young age and was good at it, so it was just natural for me to gravitate towards it for my studies and then go on to pursue a career in it.
Your works are often filled with tender and intimate moments. Who are the figures in your work?
They’re based on the amazing black people I come across in my life. A mixture of figments of my imagination, strangers on instagram, characters in films and tv shows, stock images, figures from my favourite artworks!
Why are these intimate, connecting activities important for you to depict?
I think I just create images of things I love to see in life and that is mainly scenes of intimacy and declarations of all kinds of love.
What do you hope your work is saying to the viewer?
This is what happiness looks like.
I hope the emotions of the figures are connecting with the viewer. Your colour palette includes, what I would almost call your trademark colours, of these rich cobalt blues and striking yellows. Tell me about the colours you use and your palette?
For me colour is the best way to translate emotion in art. For me yellow became very symbolic of the joy and intensity of the feelings of falling in love. The blue actually started off as just an aesthetic choice, I just really like the way dark blue and rich blue grounds complemented the black and brown skin tones of the figures in my works.
What is your artistic process, from thought to finished artwork?
I usually come across an image, fall in love with something about it the way the figures interact with each other, maybe the look on the person's face… and then I set out how to recreate it. I decide what style I'm going to go for because I have a few different painting techniques that I flick through. When I’m actually making the work it's usually quite intuitive. I don't plan much ahead, instead I work out how i'm going to do it as I go along. Trying to balance line, space and colour until I feel it is successfully telling the story or mood of the image I wanted to create.
Sola, what is your studio like? And what are your ideal conditions to work in? Do you listen to anything while you work?
My studio is, like a lot of artist’s, usually a mess. Drawings and prints all over the floor, multiple paintings nailed to walls that I'm working on or propped up against and surface, a big stack of finished paintings stacked against one wall. I have a little fold out futon sofa thing that I sometimes take naps on. I always have a speaker in there too so I can play music out loud while i'm working. I like to have snacks. Turning on the heater, putting on a playlist or album and eating my lunch are the first steps for me settling into the studio to work.
What do you believe is integral to the role of an artist?
To make art! I don’t really think there's any more depth to it than that. If you create anything at all that makes you an artist.
and What do you believe needs to change in the art world?
Sooo much starting from the top. It drastically needs to change the type of work it values over others and continually be asking who are we leaving out of the conversation and how are we going to change this?
What would be your dream project or commission Sola?
I would love to create a public piece of art. Nothing complex, just give me a giant wall outside on the street and a bunch of paints to create something that would uplift the local community.
Who is your favourite historical female artist?
and finally, Who are your favourite practicing artists and their Instagram handles?
These are my favourite non-binary and women artists: