5 Minutes with Tunji Onigbanjo
In a world where talent is a on a pandemic increase, setting oneself apart isn’t as easy anymore. Tunji also known as the ‘Lawyartist’ is an exceptional artist with a degree in law and an enviable love for fine art. In this interview, Tunji Onibganjo gives an insight to his life and how he combines both passions.
Hi Tunji, tell us about the Lawyartist?
Lawyartist, is as the name already implies, half lawyer and half artist. Lawyartist is Nigerian and trying to live his dream by being great at art and law. Currently this dream is going well, very gradual, but well.
In order of priority and preference, which comes first lawyer or artist?
This is the chicken or the egg right here. Well, I love both BUT I started drawing since I touched a crayon. Law makes me smarter and art makes me see things differently and express myself without arguing.
A career in law can be quite trying. And art is also very demanding. How do you successfully combine both?
I am still working on the formula. I just make sure I never forget to sketch once I am chanced. Practice makes perfect and art is very envious; once you abandon her, she will do same. Whenever I feel like I should rest instead of drawing I remember how hard I have worked to get here and pick up a pencil. Law is also very demanding and takes a lot of perseverance. So, instead of dwelling on the tasking nature of both, I just let one train my endurance for the other. For instance, sitting down to draw for 8 consecutive hours trains me for court days that last 6-10 hours. Also apt is Jedi Master Yoda’s quote “Do or do not, there is no try”.
You art seems to be reflective of a deep connection with your childhood. Tell us more about it.
I was such a Cartoon Network addict, it had a special place in my heart. My sister and I bonded over so many shows on there. So when I touch a pencil I almost always want to draw something from those 100% happy and bill-less days.
As an artist, what is the ultimate goal of your art?
Have a Lawyartist piece in households I know no one in. Own a gallery. Teach people to draw and appreciate art. Merchandising.
Some people go into the arts for money. Has making money influenced or changed the way you make art?
I can’t even front with some pretentious response for this because money does matter. Why? BECAUSE the materials aren’t free. If I draw what I want to all the time, when I want to, I don’t mind not getting money. In fact that’s how I’ve always drawn. However, when you want me to part with a drawing or have me draw something or the other one million and one applications of art, my brother you sef be fair.
What words do you live by?
I think we should all just stop praying for health and wealth and do our part. I know this has nothing to do with art but Nigerians are notorious for praying without doing anything more. God in all faiths is not a houseboy or your houseboy. Do your part, and then pray for your God’s blessings. If everyone only prays, who will God favour? Do your part. Put in that work.
Advice to younger art enthusiasts?
Just keep practicing. Your hands will become more obedient over time. You may not be the first to notice but this will happen regardless. Also don’t only make art for recognition sake alone, lest you get very frustrated if that doesn’t happen immediately. Love the art and you’ll last long. Follow your favourite artists closely, watch their YouTube videos and invest in materials. Above all, be consistent.