My name is Apooyin Mufutau, most of my friends and colleagues call me Mufu. I’m from Oyo state. I was born and raised in Lagos, I attended Yaba model primary school and Ransomekuti memorial grammar school. Before I proceeded to YabaCollege of technology where I had both OND in general art and HND in painting.
So what exactly do you do?
I’m a fulltime studio artist with a keen interest in painting water related themes like ripples,waves, reflection of objects in the water and on wet grounds,canoes and so on.
How long have you been an artist?
I’ve been practicing as a full-time studio artist since I graduated in 2002. This is my 14th year in the industry.
What kind of training did you have?
I had an informal training under Mr.Abiodun Olaku and some other masters at the Universal Studios of Art located within the premises of the National Art Theatre IganmuLagos in 1996 before I gained admission into YabaCollege of Technology in 1997.
In addition to that, I also did my 1year and 3months industrial trainings under the tutelage of Mr. Abiodun Olaku while I had my ND and HND trainings at Yaba college of technology.
Was there a moment when you suddenly said, “this is what I wish to do for the rest of my life”?
Hmm I think I decided I was going to be an artist since the time I found out that I could draw very well and that I performed better in art related activities than I did in other subjects. So, going by what I’ve just said it would mean I made the decision to become an artist when I was in primary sch. The decision wasn’t a sudden one at all it was an outcome of self-discovery and steady self-assessment.
What are the challenges you’ve encountered and how have you been able to overcome them?
I would say convincing my dad about my decision to become an artist was a major challenge I faced at the beginning. It wasn’t an easy one I must add. It took a while before he fully supported my choice.It was quite difficult but I was tenacious and coupled with my good performance in school he started having a change of heart.
Again,the current economic downturn is another major challenge currently facing the art industry but hopefully we will pull through it.
How do you feel when people underprice your work?
Going by my experience of late, I think a good number of Nigerians now admire art but are yet to appreciate its worth in terms of monetary value. A lot of Nigerians still price art very low.
Apart from getting paid, what else do you enjoy about your art?
I enjoy the fact that I’m doing what I love doing and it makes me my own boss. I can plan my activities the way it best suit me. I set target for myself and I can easily choose when to work and rest. Honestly, I enjoy the freedom.
Any regret so far?
What do you think about art in Nigeria?
I think when you compare the art industry in Nigeria to what is obtainable in other African countries, we are not doing badly, but it can still get better. The potential is immeasurable. For instance, we need to show more appreciation for art and use it as a vehicle for economic development and a means for job creation like what is obtainable in advance countries.
I have a number of role models both in Nigeria and abroad, but some of them really made great impact in my career. Mr.Abiodun Olaku is my number one role model and mentor, I trained under him during my formative years and I still look up to him. Others are:Salvador Cabalero, Royo and Margaret Kessler.
What are your long term goals?
I aspire to become a successful artist with global recognition.
What would you regard as the most important attribute for an aspiring artist?
I believe passion is key in becoming successful in anything one does. A passionate aspiring artist will not easily get discouraged when faced with challenges. Therefore, for this reason, I’ll pick passion as my number one attribute for any aspiring artist.
With Apooyin Mufutau at his studio
What are your thoughts on what we do here at Pave Africa?
You guys are promoting art and creative entrepreneurship generally which is very commendable I must add. With such a viable platform like Pave Africa, artists can connect with a wider audience, also, art lovers and the general public now have access to more information. No doubt, it’s a step in the right direction!