Hello Great Minds,
Today on Temmy Balogun’s platform, we are sharing the insightful interview we had with a Lagos based professional artist, who established and presently manages an art school, where children and adults are taught how to create different kinds of drawings and paintings.
Our encounter with Culture Art Academy students was a very exciting one, we met several talented young minds who were so passionate about what they do.
The academy’s vision is to discover and develop artistic talents.While there mission is to help the young and old to develop and value their God given artistic skills.
If as a parent you would love to nurture the artistry talent of your children for entrepreneurship or personal purposes, ‘Culture Art Academy’ is a great place for you!
To pick useful information and learn from our creative and talented guest, sit back, relax and read on.
Good to have you here sir, let’s start by knowing more about you, your family , ethnicity and education…
My names are Augustine Izuagbe Ehaiyeme,i hail from Edo state. I studied Painting in Lagos State Polytechnic . Am married to my beautiful and supportive wife, Mrs Oluwabukunmi Ekhaiyeme
So out of all the professions out there, why artistry?
Have always had passion for drawing and painting since my childhood. My father is an architect and my mother is a creative person as well. So i can say it runs in the family.
After secondary school, when i wanted to proceed in my education, i decided to join the military,that didnt pull through,then i tried International relations so i can become an ambassador but getting the admission delayed me. So i decided one day to settle for something in line with what i love doing for fun, and that’s how i found myself in Lagos State Polytechnic.
What led to the establishment of Culture Art Academy? When did it start running?
The name culture art was in existence before the school. The name was coined 15 years ago when me and a close friend Seye frequently play basketball, we always like going with customised wears so we can be different from others playing at the court. From our discussion one day we arrived at Culture Art which we see as our own way of being unique.
On what inspired the establishmentof the school, during my ND days, i enjoy drawing and painting at my leisure but each time i do that i get alot of request from people around me on their interest to learn. One of the request led to my first job which was in a primary school, though i was kind of scared at the beginning but after starting, i gained momentum to teach the students to my best ability.
My art students then went for a Lagos state art competition and they were awarded Third. I was happy that i impacted my knowledge well.
So after NYSC in 2007, i didnt get job for a while, then i leverage on my past experience and decided to start teaching children and adults art. Which led to the establishment of Culture Art Academy in 2007.
What are the artistry skills students who enroll into your school build?
Here we teach our students all forms of painting like acrylics,hyper realism, water painting,oil painting among others ,drawing/illustration,printing, art business and craft.
We organise exhibitions and take them on excursions to art galleries and also the meet with notable figures in Nigeria to motivate them.
What age range of students do you admit in Culture Art Academy?
We accept interested students from age ten (10) upward.
Since you started , how many students would you say you have taught?
From our records we have taught 55 students till present.
While going through your gallery i saw a picture you took with Adekunle Gold,i guess its one of those moment we see our favourite artistes and feel like taking pictures with them?
Laughs… have always known Adekunle from school he was an ND students then while i was in HND, we call him then with his surname Kosoko. He was a humble and respectful guy. We are happy seeing him up there, we pray he goes bigger.
So back to Culture Art Academy, how does your programme run?
Whenever any parent or person contacts us for their kids or theirselves for admission, we ask about previous knowledge and skills the prospective students have in art.For people who have be into art before we ask to see their previous works so we can know the best stage to start their teaching from but for those with no previous experience we start from the basis which is drawing.
Once we ascertain the stage they are starting from we give them our admission form. After proper documentation, then class starts.
We run our classes three days in a week which are Wednesday,Friday and Saturday. Students pick the days that best suits them for learning.
After completion of all courses and we certify them ok. Then we organise exhibitions for them to showcase their works to their parents and other art expertise. The graduates also go out with our tutors for works.
Are you the only one in charge of teaching all students?
No, i have two teachers supporting here but in addition we invite other professional artists to teach some of our courses as well.
Do you have any programme for parents interested in enrolling their children but resides far from where Culture Art Academy is located?
Our contract artists usually do home teachers for parents or individuals interested in learning but that comes with additional costs.
Days when you don’t open Culture Art Academy, what do you engage yourself in?
Have a number of schools where I teachers art as a subject, i also presently some group of female students fashion illustration .
What benefit do you think having lots of art expertises in Nigeria will have on our economy?
It will help create more jobs in Nigeria as more artists can establish their art studio and galleries where they employ more people to join their team. These people have automatically left unemployed Nigerians category.
Also when we more people do exhibition and foreign investors come into the country money will be generated and more opportunities can spring up also which leads to the development of our economy.
What do you enjoy about teaching art?
Out of my many reasons, the fact that i can impact in people both young and old and they become better is a great joy for me.
What two main challenges have you faced since you started Culture Art Academy?
The first is financial challenge, running an art academy is capital intensive because our tools are very expensive, so most times i become financially sapped while trying to equip the school with enough tools so the students can learn well.
Secondly, is the fact that many interested students dont get the support of their parents, most time when students come around to make enquiry,they find our affordable fees hard to pay, we then go further to subsidise it because of their interest. So we end up not covering our cost from the fees.
Do you think having investors on board will go along way in developing Culture Art Academy?
Yes! We need that, we will be very happy as we will now be able to equip the school with advanced modern art tools and also have a more conducive learning environment which will make learning more fun and adventurous for students.
Has any graduates from Culture Art Academy been employed or started entrepreneurial career in artistry?
Yes we have few of them working for schools as art teachers and also those who have their own studio. The ones i can remember vividly are Glady Ekhaiyeme (my sister),Itohan and Seyi.
But many of them are still in secondary school and tertiary institutions, though some still while in school. Some of them even contact us for clarification on areas they find a bit tough when working and we are always available to answer them.
There’s a popular saying behind every successful man there’s a woman, do you agree with it?
Yes i do 100%. My wife has been very supportive , she encourages me a lot and all her advices as kept me going.
Would you say Nigerian economy embraces art making more than before?
Recently, i observe that people are celebrating art works more now than say 5 years back. More individuals are interested in developing their skills also.
How would people interested in learning artistry in your school get started?
Once they contact us via phone numbers or email we will put them through.
Motivate aspiring artist in one sentence….
I will say the same thing i tell my students. With this passion of yours,you have gotten something priceless,so hold unto it, believe in yourself and follow your heart. Never allow challenges push you to giving up on your dreams.
What are the ethics that guides you in this profession?
Self discipline, hard work, i surround myself with the right people, i believe in myself and God.
Your words of advice to the youth..
Be focused on anything you have decided to do then you will achieve success.
You can reach Mr Augustine Izuagbe Ekhaiyeme Through:
Phone Number: 08026263656,08178149623,08028284388