Part two of our interview with Kúnmi is all about the creative process - from different mediums to spaces for Black creatives in London.
What is the creative process for you?
Most of the time it’s just pen and paper. It’s not premeditated, it’s just go with the flow. [Sometimes] I’ll have another image in front of me for inspiration like someone else’s artwork or another shape. [Sometimes] it’s a flower or maybe it’s a plant. I’ll have that and start drawing/free flowing. It’s pen so I don’t erase stuff - I just go with what comes out at that particular time. In order to transfer it into a digital format, I use my iPad. I use some Adobe Software to just scan it and sometimes manipulate it: add color, change color, add contrast. That’s the stuff that is digitized.
The one I sent you, I hand drew that by myself with a pen over a few hours. It’s not very long but it can be time consuming. There was a point where I would sit down for 4 hours, 6 hours at a stretch and just do a full sheet of paper. So I scaled back from that!
I prefer hand drawing and framing [the artwork]. They’re just one off, they’re the original. At the same time, if I were to sell the ones that were hand drawn, I would not be able to use it
[the hand drawn artwork] again if I want to use it for any type of commercial purpose. That’s why I digitise it.
What other mediums do you use?
Previously I had thought about getting images because you can laser cut images into wood. You can create nice shapes, shadows and texture and it's possible to paint it as well. I thought about doing the same sort of thing with embroidery. For instance, it would be the image on the postcard but creating an embroidery of it that you can frame. I like the idea that you can have it in different formats.
I actually made some connections with people via Instagram to be able to do these things. I think that is something I would like to follow through with some of the designs I already have. And to just keep making stuff, keep doing stuff.
I also like ink. You know how you can buy a pot of ink and you can dip it like a fountain pen in that kind of ink? It's really runny, you can’t really paint with it. I like working with that because it creates a really cool effect. I have one color (I'm a little bit afraid of color) it's purple. I use that sometimes as a highlight. It’s a glittery purple so if you paint one brush stroke with the purple it’s not dramatic but it creates this really subtle touch in the light and you’ll see the shimmer.
I also do like to paint on canvas but that’s a little bit more tasking. Especially coning to paint because it doesn’t touch the paper. Your hand has to be quite dexterous. It's harder to maneuver and create the image that you want with the paint, compared to a pen.
Are there spaces for Black creatives in London?
I 100% think that Instagram has its place for creating a space. It’s probably where I found out about the actual physical spaces first. There’s one that’s just called Creative Debuts -that’s an art platform but they do events and stuff. So you can always go and meet the people behind it and network if you want. There’s another one, Black British Visual Artists, that’s also an online space but they do events and popups, exhibitions. I came across them online and I walked past them one day on South Bank - they were having an event! I went in and talked to people. There is also Urban Art Brixton - you get to see what different people are producing. It’s not specifically for Black artists but Black artists are there. Markets are also a really good place.
Also individual connections as well are useful. If you see someone online that is doing something similar to you, then follow them and appreciate their work. Equally they will follow back and maybe do the same. That’s the space you create in that moment, even if it’s not specifically for Black creatives in London.