WHO IS SAMUEL ETOH?
Samuel Etoh is not just a talented, Lagos-based, self-taught Pen and Ink Artist, he is also a Floral, and Peg Artist whose interest in the growth of flowers and their aesthetic influences a lot of his artworks.
Although nowadays, he is known for his distinctive Mandela designs with the well-known spiritual ‘Circle’ symbol representing never-ending life, creating a vibrant new and versatile range of products and hand-painted merchandise to acclaimed Art; but how did it all start for Samuel Etoh?
Etoh’s journey as an Artist started in 2011 when he decided to drop out of school for his passion. He was studying Computer Engineering at the time but needed time to focus on his Art so he took the bold steps to drop out move forward, and not look back.
As one would expect, dropping out of school just to pursue a career in art and as a florist did not sit well with his dad. Although artistically he was outstanding, financially he was very down. And after his basic training as a florist, he landed a full-time florist job in 2013 just to support his art financially but it became increasingly difficult to make out time to draw working as a florist.
One faithful day while delivering fresh flowers to Ms. Donna Claire Aldrige (M/D Vapour logistic NG/UK) at the hotel room where she was lodging, he had the opportunity to present his portfolio and some of his artworks to her. This was the ‘lucky’ case of when hard work and preparation meet opportunity because it so happened that Ms. Donna was the first person to buy his Artwork titled ‘Don’t Give Up’ and eventually, she became his manager and sponsor. And up till this day, Etoh is eternally grateful to God for blessing him with Ms. Donna as a manager.
Starting up, he recalls that fashion illustration was one of his main focuses at the time but due to his love for flowers, he decided to focus his mind more on creating floral patterns, motif, and floral ornament through Mandela designs Technique. Even with his unique style and Artwork, it has been quite a challenging journey so far. He faces challenges such as having to import all the Acrylic pens he uses for drawings at an expensive rate. He also finds it difficult to sell his works in a country where lovers of good artworks who can afford to buy are almost non-existent. It is also challenging for him to get his kind of Art into galleries in Nigeria because most of the galleries in Nigeria focus on exhibiting well-known artists.
Despite all these challenges, through the influence, promotion, and support of his manager/sponsor Ms. Donna, one of his drawings has been transferred into the fabric. This was the first test he did in the U.K
INSPIRATION BEHIND BEING A PEG ARTIST
Apart from being an Ink Artist, Etoh is also a Peg Artist. For those who do not know who a Peg Artist is, he is a person that creates fantabulous Artworks using pegs. Yes, you read it right, he literally creates things out of pegs.
When asked how he ventured into being a Peg Artist, he simply recounts him being contacted around July 2019 via Instagram for an exhibition titled ‘from waste to luxury’ which involves using recycling objects to create Art. Having never done something like this before, it was a bit challenging but the inspiration came while at the market he came across people selling old pegs. The pegs caught his attention that he started arranging them on the floor and he noticed he could get the floral patterns from them. With a little research on the type of glue to use and some creativity, he came up with a ‘covid-19 like symbol’ he titled ‘helping hands.’ And by September 2019, this piece was the center of Attraction at the exhibition. When Covid-19 eventually came into Nigeria several months later, references were made to his Artwork as being a vision by his close associates.
SO WHY HELPING HANDS?
To Samuel Etoh, since pegs are used to support clothes from the wind, therefore the artwork relates to the support you would give a person in time of need. One wonders how he comes up with these concepts but you have to admit, he is quite impressive.
To him, the favorite part of him being an artist is that he is a self-taught artist so he can create things without rules and principles restricting his thought process. Meaning his Artworks are his true reflection.
When asked what to expect from him in the nearest future, he let us in on his latest challenging Artwork termed ‘Patterns by Samuel Etoh’. He attempting an amazing feat of creating 1000 unique floral patterns without repeating any design. And this will be transferred into fabric prints on bed sheets, T-shirts, curtains, and general textile apparel.
Etoh is forever grateful to God for the direction, inspiration, and guidance and to his manager for letting him see himself and his Artworks in a totally different and positive light. The top is just his starting point.
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