Erhabor-Emokpae… A Quintessential Artist

Filed in General by on October 19, 2013

191013F.ISAAC-ERHABOR-EMOKPIsaac erhabor emokpae is the face behind the youtopia state-of-the arts photographic studio. He lives, breaths and feels photography. This award winning artist took time off his busy schedule to reveal to azuka oguijuba his journey into the world of arts and photography
Why is your photography studio called Youtopia?
Youtopia is simply the perfect version of you or yourself.


Understanding that the appreciation of arts generally is not impressive enough back here, why did you choose a career in visual arts?

Art was already a strong influence in my life from birth, so I didn’t really choose art. Art chose me. 



You’re also toeing your father’s path, would you encourage your child to ply what is already seen as the family trade?


Within a heartbeat, my little assistant already loves spending time with me anytime I’m painting, so the streak is very clearly there.



Which of your works is your favourite and why?
I can’t say I have a favourite work yet, as I believe that if you are still alive then the best shouldn’t be behind you. However there is one piece that stands out for me. It’s an oil painting I did of my sister about 20 years ago; it was one of my first proper paintings and represents a personal triumph for me at the time.



How many exhibitions, solo/group have you featured in and how did some of them turn out?
I have been privileged to be part of quite a few exhibitions, most of them have been collaborations and the response was always encouraging. Art in Nigeria is not doing badly.



What drives your creativity where so much can easily distract and discourage you?
My faith in Christ, and a burning desire to always create new beauty.



Which of your works is the most expensive and what’s the interpretation?
From a personal standpoint, I must refer you to Question four and it’s answer. However a curator or art dealer should have a more accurate answer for you.



Would you say you have made your breakthrough in this business, if yes, how did it happen?
Hopefully I have, at first my breakthrough simply meant saying my name and being identified as Erhabor Emokpae’s son, who is also an artist. However I’m happy that I have more of a distinct identity. Isaac.


You are also a fashion photographer. Does it make you an addict follower of fashion?
Yes, fortunately.


What is your most memorable fashion moment?
I have quite a few, and I’ m so proud to say that all of them involved Nigerian talents. However, it must be seeing my sister’s collection debut at Music Meets Runway 2012.


Your father loved the arts world, he was flamboyant and very fashionable. Tell us about your dad and the memories you have of him?
My father is Erhabor Ogieva Emokpae (oon) 1934-1984. He was arguably one of the best and most prolific artists that Africa has ever produced. Within the span of 50 years on earth, he made history by simply believing in himself and following his dream. His most memorable commissions include, the FESTAC 77 logo design, visual decoration and adornment of all venues for FESTAC, the national icons project that has gone on to put a face to most of our earliest heroes – Queen Amina of Zaria, Mai Idris Alooma, Uthman Dan Fodio, Jaja of Opobo, (these works still adorn the national galleries in Lagos and Abuja) to top that, he was a founding partner in Lintas Advertising (what is now known Lowe/Lintas) and by proxy a progenitor of Nigeria’s thriving advertising sector.
To me though, he was the person who gave me my first drawing lessons, who understood the edge to create when others simply brushed it off as youthful exuberance, he was my first art teacher and my first true inspiration in creativity.


Which celebrity dead or alive would you like to photograph?
Michael Jackson or Yul Brynner.


Who in the world will you like to dine and wine with?
Bertil Vallien or David La Chapelle.


Which star in the world would you like to flip through her or his phone?
Rhianna.

Which celebrity in the world do you think has a near complete perfect life style?
Ben Affleck


Which world celebrity do you think has the sexiest body?
I have a few options though, my current top two would be Arlenis Sosa and Jamelia.


Which jewelry designer in the world do you think his or her designs can stand the test of all fashion time?
Van cleef and Arpels.



What outfit can you not be caught dead in?
Skinny jeans, high tops and a wife beater.


If a fashion police were to search your wardrobe, would you be arrested for any fashion blunders?
Perhaps, everyone is always guilty once. 


Who is Isaac Emokpae?
By God’s grace, an amazing creative person.


How old are you?
As young as I need to be.


Tell us about your background?
I grew up in an artistic family, a polygamous home and found out very early in life the importance of keeping your cards close to your chest. Christian, married, my art mentor and teacher is Prof. Abayomi Barber and the first person to help me with my photography was Don Barber (no relation of Abayomi).


If you are to go on an island for an exotic weekend, what are the five things you will take along?
My Ipad (seeing as it contains everything from my bibles to my Vanity Fair), deodorant, toothbrush, sketch book/Moleskin Vex and money.


What is the most memorable valentine gift you have ever received from a man?
A hug from my Dad.


How did you meet your wife, was it love at first sight?
In the church. Don’t think so, we were too young.


What does the word love mean to you?
Respect, attention and desire.


What is your most expensive fashion accessory?
My wedding band (from Deinte).


What is your fashion fetish, that is if you have any?
By proxy, high heels on a woman with smashing pins. It makes for such a lovely looking bum. Sublime!


What do you crave about all the time?
Coffee and sex. (In any order)


Which is the most favourite part of your body?
My hands.


What is your present blackberry ringtone?
Gongo Aso by 9ice.


Apart from your job, what else do you like to indulge in?
Listening to music, writing and ransacking libraries.


If you were Mr President, what will be the first law you will implement?
End NYSC. Youth service should be safe and practical, not compulsory and life threatening.


Which celebrity in the world would you describe as a sexy siren?
In her time, Sophia Loren.
Now: Kate Beckinsale, Monica Bellucci or Rhianna.

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