Coming from someone who mastered the art of using her paintbrush to create artworks that evokes the quotidian spirit of realism, one would assume, without being told that 24-year-old Bisola Michal must have obtained her painting prowess from Oxford University Arts School. But the truth remains that she has been painting for years before going to Yabatech to obtain an OND in General Arts.
Hers is akin to the ancient story of poets like William Blake of the Romanticism period who wrote great poetry without being formally educated. The difference here is that Bisola later went to a higher institution but well after she had gone far in the application of her paintbrush. A polyglot and sweet rebel with the looks of a modern Rastafarian, Bisola lets us into her world and the personal things that go on there.
“I am Bisola Michal, a painter and a loctician. I am from Ekiti State; I obtained an OND in General Arts from Yabatech. It was actually curiosity that led me to Yabatech because I’ve been painting for years before I decided to see whether there was actually any difference between what I was doing and what they were teaching. I got there, I was bored by their excess theorizations and after my OND, I decided to stop and face my work squarely, although I learnt some things, especially in textiles. I also went to a French School to learn the language in order to widen my verbal communication reach.” She said.
When asked what she does besides painting, she notes “everything about me is painting, even though I’m a loctician with serious affinity to the caring and styling of dreadlocks, I do portrait paintings basically. Portrait painting allows me to express myself through the models I contract to sit through with me. I breathe life into them with my paintbrush thereby creating a realistic image that tells a particular story, depending on my mood or the direction of the story I’m telling. So, unlike other artists, I am not fascinated by canvases – the human body is my canvas.”
On how she manages to keep up with the competition in the art industry where so many creatives are struggling to be seen, Bisola Michal insists that she is not in a competition with anybody, noting that she paints what she likes, to express and satisfy herself and audiences with whom she shares like minds:
“I started painting when I was very little, this is just an extension of that childish desire to be a painter and I’m doing it, I didn’t have anyone in mind before coming here so I am not competing with anyone. In fact I do not know many artists and do not keep many of them. I only have Alexis, my idol who I always admired and who I run to for advice and coaching on some finishing that I may not have gotten correctly. If you look or follow me closely, you’d realize I do not paint all the time. I hear a lot of people telling me to go more commercial by making plenty of work and finding ways to display them for purchase but I tell them off because my art is not pedestrian.
I am not a roadside artist looking to feed myself with paintings of anyhow person that could be sold to passersby. I think before I paint, I choose my models whose bodies must inspire me to work and thankfully, our generation is blessed with internet and social media, so people can actually have a place to view my artworks and if the price is right, I might consider selling some. So, check me out @bisolamichal on Instagram and have a feel of what I do there. Currently I’m on the Heat Map Series and it has been one season of beautiful experience as I have had the pleasure of painting beautiful souls and telling beautiful stories that makes art fluid and aesthetically consumable.”
When asked if she is a feminist and as such approaches her paintings and stories with such delicacy in mind, she retorts that she dislikes tags and cannot be limited to one. She claims it is the right of anybody to do what they want but also maintains that others reserve the right to remain on their lane without necessarily being corralled into any movement, a line of thought she identifies with.
Bisola Michal aims to have an art gallery in the near future where people could come and feed their eyes and go. She is not interested in being involved with issues in art awards and prizes, debates about arts and such comradeships which she says “dulls creativity.” “I just want to paint what and when I like, do my loctician business, live a quiet and less dramatic life and join my maker whenever it is time. Things of the world don’t really bother me,” she noted in finality.