Updated: Mar 21, 2022
Ghanaian visual artists have mastered the art of taking incredible photos with their mobile phones, specifically IPhones, proving that you don't need the most sophisticated gadgets to create a masterpiece.
On this week‘s Spotlight, we speak to a young Ghanaian Visual Artist, Reginald Boateng as we try to understand the connection between colors, mobile photography and story telling.
Read on to learn more about Reginald and visual artistry in Ghana.
My name is Reginald Boateng, a young visual artist who lives and work in Accra-Ghana. I am 22-years-old.
My love for photography developed at a tender age. I was always intrigued by how images were shot and edited as a final work but since I was in school I could not afford to buy a camera to start photography.
After high school I was gifted an Iphone which I used in taking random pictures and editing random images I saw online, this grew from just a hobby to become a passion, so I started creating concepts to shoot with friends and also freelancing to tell beautiful stories around me.
Ghanaian artists are known for embracing color in their work of art, what significance does color have in the Ghanaian art and culture?
Yes, I must say color is very significant in our art and culture space because colors symbolises us as Ghanaians in terms of traditional clothing and textile making I.e “Kente” (A brightly coloured textile made of handwoven cloth, strips of silk and cotton made in Ghana). Color also represents a variety of emotions, traditions and victories in the wake of struggles of Ghanaians.
What was your first contact with color that made you stick to its effect in your piece of art?
My first contact with color was me witnessing the weaving of “Kente” fabric. The weavers combine colorful threads to create a beautiful and colorful pattern,this inspired the creativity behind editing of my works into a colorful piece of art.
You seem to seek inspiration from Princegyasi and Derrick Boateng, as most of your works have color semblance with theirs. Have they inspired you in any way?
Yes, they have really inspired me to do more, their works speaks volume and drives purpose. Derrick and Prince have used photography as a platform to help change their society in their own small way and also help promote the Ghanaian creativity art into the diaspora.
I also want to contribute to this great Ghanaian storytelling and also affect my society through great visuals.
You say that all your shots are taken and edited with your phone, how do you create stunning pictures without the use of a professional camera?
Most people that follow my work wonder, how do I shoot and edit on an iPhone, it all starts with good composition and arrangements of shots using the phone lens and finally touched with the power of color grading using “Lightroom Mobile” to make these colouful images come to live.
You mostly use children to depict your message, do you think they have a special effect on your piece of art?
It is very interesting depicting children in my storytelling. Children in my piece of work symbolises Liberation, Vibrance and Purity. It also represents memories of childhood where we were young, wild and free to conquer the fears of the world.
Do you at any point think of transitioning into the use of a professional camera or would you rather stick to your phone?
I might use a professional camera in the near future for my works since the creative art industry is getting competitive and more demanding for higher quality standards but for now I think, me using a smartphone to create these artworks is helping to create an identity for myself as a young and upcoming creative in Ghana.
How can you say your culture has illuminated your work?
My culture has postively affected my work.
It has made me portray stories of people and places around me and also creates a window for the outside world to view a into the diversity of Ghana and Africa as a whole.
In this field of art you have threaded in, what are your long term plans?
My long term goal is to have my first solo show and exhibit my works in reputable galleries around the world. I want to gain the press coverage for my works to be known in the diaspora. I also want to venture into the art business full time and lastly I want to start an initiative to promote young and upcoming creatives in the field of arts.
How do you think young upcoming creatives like you can be encouraged to find their feet in the industry?
Young creatives should be given the platform to exhibit their talents and should be encouraged to utilise their little resources to achieve greater goals and aspirations. Symposiums, fairs and exhibitions should be organised to push the works of young creatives.
Young creatives should not only be mere creatives but also learn the business side of the art world.