Christopher Okonkwo, better known in the art community as Jydekris, is a man with an incredible artistic talent and a distinct style. Although he works primarily in 2D, his computer graphic illustrations have more depth than most 3D images. I invite you to get to know "the artist behind the art."
Dee Marie: Your images show great attention to detail. With a B.A degree in Art, from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, do you attribute your artistic talent to your formal art training, or is your imaginative style more from hard work and/or natural aptitude?
Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo: I would say that my artistic talent is from my natural aptitude, because I have always enjoyed drawing and painting even before I started my primary education.
DM: Not only is your CGI work amazing, but so are your pencil drawings. Do you dabble in other traditional art mediums?
Jydekris: Sure, I do use other art mediums, like: ballpoint pen on paper (which was kinda like my fav back in high school), crayons, oil on canvas, watercolors, dirt, clay, and a lot more. But, what is more important to me, is understanding the artistic principles of color, light and shade, and then the choice of media comes afterwards.
Random Sketches ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: Understanding artistic principles is excellent advice, even for those artists exclusively working in the CG field. Often an artist's geographical background influences his artwork. Have you always lived in Nigeria?
Jydekris: I'm from Eastern Nigeria, but I actually grew up in Western Nigeria. I was born in Lagos, which is where I developed my artistic talent as a child. That is where I got my primary and high school education, before I went to the East for my University education, where I got my Bachelor's degree in Painting.
DM: Within the world of modern art, what has influenced your artistic style?
Jydekris: Well, I would say that my art is influenced by the general mass media. Especially the videogame industry and animated feature movies. I would always look out for videogame titles with high quality graphics and then say to myself, "I can achieve this quality of visuals with my pencil…even though the game visuals are computer generated." [laughter]
Hybrid Warriors ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: How about historical artistic movements?
Jydekris: I'm greatly inspired by realism as a historic artistic movement.
DM: Outside of the art world, what, or who, has been your artistic muse?
Jydekris: Outside of the art world, I'm inspired by nature. I love to watch cloud formations and water ripples, and maybe wildlife. In music, I would say that I love Seal's "Kiss From A Rose," Cold Play, and a couple of rap musicians.
DM: Of all the art-related jobs or specific projects that you have worked on, which was your favorite, or most memorable?
Jydekris: Well, I cannot really say, because I have worked on many projects. But, I enjoyed the ones that gave me more freedom of expression.
TGIF [preliminary drawing for commercial bank ad] ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: When did you first become interested in creating computer graphic artwork?
Jydekris: I became interested in computer graphic artworks when I got exposed to it as a teenager. My first attempt at it was with Corel PhotoPaint in 2000.
DM: I noticed that your current artwork is created with Adobe Photoshop. When did you switch from Corel PhotoPaint?
Jydekris: I started using Adobe Photoshop in 2006. I got the opportunity to use Adobe Photoshop CS5 in 2010, but I currently work with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and CS4.
Under Tree Lecture [left] ~ Class Room [right] ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: What other software programs do you use to create your computer imagery?
Jydekris: I work with a wide variety of software programs: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Flash (which I use in creating 2D animations and interactive apps), CorelDraw and Coral PhotoPaint, 3ds Max, and a couple more. But, I most often work with Adobe Photoshop.
DM: As you work primarily in a 2D format (using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos3 pen tablet), what is your drawing process?
Jydekris: I have a couple of contextual techniques. For instance, in the advertising industry, due to tight deadlines and client demands, I go for rather more efficient techniques. I use the Wacom Intuos to draw directly in Photoshop, rather than doing the traditional 'drawing and scanning' technique, which obviously takes a lot more time to do.
Jydekris Tutorial "Sample" ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: What about image references? Do you use a model, or just your imagination?
Jydekris: For image references, I'd rather use my imagination. Except for instances where I want detailed anatomical study of my character in order to achieve a more realistic style. For Street Cool Benny, in my Renderosity gallery, I used a photo of a nude model for reference.
DM: There's a lot of buzz about The Rise of the Compatriots. When finished, do you conceive The Rise of the Compatriots as a graphic novel or a comic book series?
Jydekris: The Rise of The compatriots is basically a comic series which I've been working on since last year. It's a fictional story about the political atmosphere in Nigeria. Once I'm done with the series, I'll publish in print and then online.
The Rise Of The Compatriots ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: And after that? [sly smile]
Jydekris: After that … I'll commence work on the animated series.
DM: Excluding CGI and computers, what are your main interests or hobbies?
Jydekris: I love music.
DM: Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.
Jydekris: I'm human! [laughter]
DM: Good to put that rumor to rest. After viewing your unique and incredible artwork, I was having doubts. Getting back to business…one last question…what words of wisdom can you give to up-and-coming artists who wish to make a living with their art?
Jydekris: What I say to every artist…when you take a good look at your art and you're 100% satisfied with it, that's when you should look again.
Lineguage Studios ~ founded by ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
DM: Outstanding advice! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule; it's been a pleasure to get to know you.
Jydekris: Thank you for this interview.
Tech Holographics Drawing Psychedelic Optimised ©Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo
Discover even more about Christopher (Jydekris) Okonkwo on the following sites:
All supporting images are copyrighted, and have been used with permission of the artist
April 18, 2011
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