Art Interviews

Nnamdi Nwoha on his DTK series

As per the term 'Urban Surrealism', it's a term that best describes the type of art that I like to make; art that has its origins in contemporary urban and street culture but at the same time it's art in which something that doesn't quite belong has been added.

 Please introduce yourself.

I’m Nnamdi Nwoha. Drofu is my art moniker. I’m an artist and I work and reside in Lagos, Nigeria.

 What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?

Relatively relaxed.

What’s your art background, how did you get into Urban Surrealism art?

When it comes to art and all things art-related, I’m mostly self taught. Besides a degree in Urban and Regional planning from the University of Lagos, I really haven’t got any other formal training or background in art.

I learnt as much as I could by looking at things I liked, and teaching myself to understand and mimic them, technique-wise.


As per the term ‘Urban Surrealism’, it’s a term that best describes the type of art that I like to make; art that has its origins in contemporary urban and street culture but at the same time it’s art in which something that doesn’t quite belong has been added. This little extra element provides it with that sense of displacement, of surrealism.

What do you think makes a great drawing?

A lot of things go into making a great drawing. First off, I’d say a great drawing is one that requires the artist to have a fundamental understanding of the medium itself and second, a great drawing is one that also moves the viewer in some emotional way.

An image of yours went viral on social media last year (RIGA), I personally loved that piece; Body art, Katana wielding characters ‘Dressed to Kill” in Traditional Nigerian attire. Tell us about working on them.

 . Aha. The Dressed To Kill series is my current dark pleasure.

I actually happened on the series accidentally.

I’d been working on a number of various art ideas for a tee shirt line that I ran briefly from 2014 to 2015 and then I noticed that the art style and the ideas that I wanted to put on the t shirts were evolving.

 Even after I folded the t-shirt line (poor sales), the ideas kept evolving and I had to put them out. The primary intent behind the Dressed To Kill series was to offer a slightly different perspective on what it really and truly means to be Nigerian.

 After I did the first piece and it came out good, I just kept working on the pieces from then on.

 What challenges do you face in your style of art?

It takes a whole lot of time. Lots and lots of hours.

 I know this is can be a difficult question.. What’s your favourite artwork by you?

My favourite artwork at any point in time is either the last piece I just completed or the next piece I’m about to work on.

 Tell us something you’re still learning?

How to create for a Nigerian market/audience

 When you are not drawing what are you doing? Hobbies?

Drawing is still a side operation for me. I’ve got tons of other full time work going on that take up more of my time.

 Case in point, here’s an off the record tidbit that’s not yet popular knowledge; I’m also the creator, writer and primary animator on the AREA! animated comedy series. 😛

Bonus: If you could live anywhere in the world (minus Japan), where would you pick? 🙂

Maybe New Zealand? Who wouldn’t want to go to Middle Earth? But I still do really love Lagos though 😦


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