Art Interviews

Lazer eyes, The Legend Series and Charcoal with visual artist and illustrator Frank Otuya

Expressional Realism.

Frank Otuya is a visual artist and illustrator. His work focuses on the realistic representation of emotional expressions, body language and characters, in a style he defines as “Expressional Realism“.

Who is Frank Otuya, Please introduce yourself

I am a visual artist and illustrator. I make realism drawings and paintings in a style of art I like to define as Expressional Realism, I’m also a design engineer by day.

Leo Messi (2014); oil on canvas.

Did you always want to become an illustrator/painter.  Tell us what you wanted to be as a kid, and your journey till date.

As a kid I actually wanted to be a rapper but that clearly didn’t work out. However, I always had a passion for design, it was my way of expressing ideas. Because of this passion I was able to teach myself how to draw and paint. Right now, visual art is my way of telling a story.

Silent Pains
Silent Pains

What is your strongest memory of your childhood?

USA ’94 World Cup and everyone around me yelling “inside the net!”. Rashidi Yekini had just scored Nigeria’s first ever World Cup goal. Great moment.


What is “Expressional Realism” and why this particular style?

Expressional Realism is my representation of emotional expressions, body language and character forms. These expressions communicate an intricate detail of the state of mind of a being, and the consciousness surrounding one’s essential nature.

The Legend Series
The Legend Series

How do you work?

Late nights, that’s when the magic happens. I like to keep a clean workspace because I work a lot with charcoal, it can get really messy if not handled properly and thats not good for whatever I’m working on so I tend to have an orderly approach to working.

Reflections (2016)
Reflections (2016)

Your typical work flow.

I keep ideas of what I want to do in my head probably for days or weeks and I get into my studio and draw out sketches. I always have some music or a podcast playing in the background, that sets me in the mood and I begin to make my full renditions.

Powerful Elegance (2016)
Powerful Elegance (2016)

What themes do you pursue?

Purpose, meaning and beauty are extremely important to me.

Sad Angel (2016)
Sad Angel (2016)

Dream project?

Don’t really have a dream project per say but I’m working on a new project right now. Last year I made The Legend Series. It was a commemorative art project that was extremely important to me. It marked the 20th anniversary of the Olympic gold winning Dream Team at the Atlanta ’96 games. I have a couple more projects I’m looking to get done this year.

What other mediums have you explored in the past?

I have worked with a lot of mediums in the past from acrylic paints to Q-tips, but one thing I tend to be obsessed about is paper. Yes paper. We tend to take paper for granted but you’d be amazed by how many types of paper there are, and the different properties it has and the effect it has on a rendition from; grammage, texture, hot press to cold press, toothing, fabric, acidity, they are all very important elements I consider thoroughly.

What is your favourite colour? please tell us in detail if possible

Red, I play for the Gunners #WengerOut.

What superpower would you have and why? –

Lazer eyes. So I can obliterate my enemies with dashing glares. No more unwanted eye contact without a price.

Any advice for Newbie creatives out there?

Believe in your wave. Stay true to yourself. And don’t forget what DJ Khaled said.


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