"Gbenga has a distinct style. He has clearly been influenced by the great Yusuf Grillo, who was heading Yaba Tech the same time that Gbenga was studying there; however he has worked out what I would refer to as an Offo system of painting. When I see his work - it's unique, it brings out the best of African Art that has influenced the whole world and its unmistakably a Gbenga." - Anshu Bahanda
Gbenga Offo Online Exhibition
9 – 26 July 2015
"I want to be free to play games with the geometry of the human form." - Gbenga Offo
We would like to introduce you to the work of Gbenga Offo, a master based in Nigeria, who trained at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria and was honoured as the Best Over All Art Student.
While studying art at university, Offo got fascinated by using geometry to depict figures and other things, and it was only later that he discovered Picasso and cubism; and the influence he had on art and artists globally. Every one of Offo’s work is a story. He continues to look for ways to extend the signature of the figurative-line-geometry he has defined for himself.
Gbenga about his ...
Which artists have influenced my style? The better question is, what influenced me? To that I would say several factors: the colours, shapes and the sound around me. However, also all forms of traditional art by whomever, especially African traditional art forms have influenced me. In the contemporary sense, I would say Picasso, Yussut Grillo, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Jackson Polock and Afewerk Tekle.
Many would categorize me as a cubist, but I consider myself as an artist first and foremost, as there are many things I am doing and still want to pursue, that are not in the cubist mold. Although, I have started out as an impressionist painter and I have presently delved into abstract and experimental art forms.
As a kid I would lay on my bed, looking up at the patterns that have been made on the ceiling by rainwater that had leaked through the zinc roof. I would in my mind create endless designs and pictures. This probably led to my love for splash art. Later in school, I explored the possibility of drawing, using geometrical shapes without realizing I was doing cubism. After this, I took more interest in African traditional art, its colours and patterns – to make my art more African. All this put together have led to the things I do presently. As a person and an artist, I always like to learn, explore, grow and ultimately evolve.
Usually, I start by drawing. Then, after transferring the sketch to the canvas, I start applying colors. Of course, there are times when the process is reversed and I start by applying colors on the canvas first. I splash colours on the canvas and then transfer my sketch. I later apply more colors either with a palette knife or paintbrush allowing the initial colours to show through the overlay. As I progress with my paintings, the paint or strokes I apply determine my next step – the painting takes on a life of its own and directs me.
I am inspired from the things around me – people, fabrics, pictures, patterns, stories, sounds, music and … life.