Meet Morenike Ajayi, a Nigerian photographer and graphic artist, based in Toronto, Canada.
Nikky: Hey Morenike, welcome to creative corner. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself
Morenike: Hey Nikky. Umm I like dodo, I fry dodo at odd hours of the morning 3/4am hahaha. I also like long walks to the bank lol. I’m a very shy person too.
Oh I’m a photographer in a self discovery bubble.
Nikky: You started off with a hat line known as Out of Gidi, then you went into photography and finally graphic art. Can you talk a little bit about the journey so far?
Morenike: Photography has always been my first love. I just started figuring out what I was good at, I figured I could design merchandise so I worked with my friend Valentine on Out of Gidi. I learnt a lot from that in terms of who your market is, who is paying attention and, most importantly, who was buying at that point. It was a bang, people loved the hats.
My graphic art/design phase I’m still experiencing.
Nikky: So, at what point would you say you started seeing yourself as a creative?
Morenike: When I held the first Out of Gidi hat samples. It was seeing the designs and ideas being brought to life.
Nikky: I can only imagine how fulfilling that must have felt.
Nikky: Have you faced any challenges since going into graphic design?
Morenike: Yesssss, laptop issues! Hahaha my 13” MacBook Pro couldn’t handle the stress, it was always overheating. I could use it to fry eggs some days. I was frustrated to create which shouldn’t be the case, cause sometimes the laptop would go off on its own.
Nikky: Lool I know the struggle cause my laptop has a lot of issues. How did you handle this challenge?
Morenike: Hahaha I kept on denying the struggle to be honest, then one day I just backed up all my files on my hard drive and sold it, then I bought an iMac.
Nikky: Lol smart move!
Nikky: So, where do you get your inspiration from?
Morenike: That’s a great and tough question lol. A lot of things and people inspire me. From the stranger on the bus having a conversation like we’ve known each other from time, to my peers, to music, to the weirdos downtown.
Nikky: I definitely feel that, everything is art so it’s hard not to get inspired by even the most random thing.
Nikky: So, you had your first exhibition back in Abuja, Nigeria for the TedXMaitama convention. How was that experience for you?
Morenike: Oh, that was surreal. I was just doing my thing sharing my work and that happened. In my mind, I could only accept it was done after the show. It was like “okay, first attempt…I just did that!” Surreal.
Nikky: Moments like that make all the work worthwhile.
Nikky: You recently had your follow up exhibition alongside other artists! Congratulations on a successful event! What can you tell us about how that event came together?
Morenike: Thank youuu! Synth343 was teamwork and showcasing what it is we actually do. We had a theme “Synthesis” which connects the music, art & chemistry we have. Initially, we planned a 2-day event and then realized 2 days weren’t going to be enough, and then we made it 4 days.
Nikky: Everyday was amazing! Job well done!
Nikky: So, how did you know you were ready to showcase your graphic artwork?
Morenike: Funny story. I went back to Lagos for Christmas and I was showing Valentine some Out of Gidi merch designs and he stumbled across my edits folder, and he was upset I didn’t share anything, then I told myself I’ll take it seriously.
Some artworks were sitting on my hard drive for almost 2 years.
I don’t think anyone will know when they’re ready. You just have to try.
I also have friends that studied art & design, so I asked for advice as well.
Nikky: Yeah, trying, I think that’s the bottom line.
Nikky: What would you say is your biggest driving force in life?
Morenike: Ah another tough question o!
My parents are my biggest driving force and umm I’m just trynna get this moneyyy (lol jokes.) Being alive is also another important driving force.
Nikky: What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year in terms of your art?
Morenike: Taking a day at a time. Improving the art in every angle. I’m creating everyday, I don’t sleep. I don’t be on social media often. I’m learning, I’m improving & I’m discovering myself. Tomorrow same routine repeats.
Ask me this question next year, maybe I’ll have a more definitive answer.
Nikky: Haha or I could just watch out and see how your art grows. Actions speak louder than words.
Nikky: Do you have a quote you live by?
Morenike: “If everything I did failed, just the fact that I’m willing to fail is an inspiration, people are so scared to lose that they don’t even try.” – Kanye West
Nikky: What advice would you give to sixteen year old Morenike?
Morenike: Hahaha I’d tell my 16 year old self to believe more in yourself.
Nikky: Lastly, what advice would you give to fellow creatives out there?
Morenike: Share your work.
Nikky: Thank you so much for coming on Creative Corner!
Morenike: Thank you for having me, Nikky! God bless.
Be you. Do you. Stay true.