Onyinye Ubah

It began one day, quite unplanned. Thoughts began to spin in my head and then I tried to put those thoughts into action. There are things no one teaches you. They come natural. All of a sudden, you see an idea knitting in your head. You begin to put one and two together, and then boom! There you are watching an idea take shape. Thread painting is a style I developed myself. I found myself doing it and learning on the job. Simply put, thread collage is the arranging of thread in an orderly manner. Anytime I paint with a thread, what I try to do is a hyper realism work. Though at the moment, I am yet to fully achieve that, but I know someday, I will.

I come from a family of artists. I am surrounded by many artists who gave a footing in the world of arts. My sister and her husband are artists and my younger brother is also an artist. So, there was never a time I felt any form of discouragement around me since I was already following their footsteps. On this journey, I started off with a Diploma in Fine Arts in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Later, I proceeded to Adeyemi College of Education to study Fine Arts Education.

At the age of 21, that was when I decided to focus fully into arts. Before then, I was painting in my secondary days as a hobby and didn’t give it a full attention. But then, on the day I laid my hands on giraffe thread (yarn) just like the ones used in knitting, there was no going back. I simply use adhesives on thread in making my artworks. The thread is basically the artwork. I actually work with Corel draw bitmap. My first step is to take a picture of the reference I am going to work with. Then, I go forward and bitmap it on a computer. I edit the picture I am going to use on the computer before sketching it out.

To others, thread painting looks like a heavy workload. In truth, it is. It involves at least 16 hours of my day and most of the time, I work overnight. But the beautiful thing is that I love what I do and therefore consider it more of fun and not work in the real sense of it. The first time I decided to give thread painting a shot was when I did my diploma project. After my diploma project, I continued trying it out. I noticed whenever I was on it; I could literally find myself having fun instead of stress involved in working.

When it was time to break into art market, it was not easy. But in this journey, I have learnt that the more you keep practising and putting in your best, it will get to a stage that your work will speak for you. I have an exhibition and participated in some auctions and exhibitions. There are other few artists doing this thread painting but what I think distinguish me from most of them is the colour separation and arrangement. In years to come, I see myself making more changes in art an advanced and contemporary painter.

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