CE Artist Spotlight: Joseph Omolayole
RECOMMENDED AGE LEVEL
Recommended for ages 6 and up with adult supervision.
Creativity Explored (CE) Substitute Teaching Artist Victor Molina produced Mode Brut’s CE Studio line – navigating the challenges of virtual collaboration and assembling garments using the unique fabric pieces sent to him by CE artists. Of their work, Molina says “even if it looks like there’s not, there’s always a ton of effort in our artists’ work. Nothing the artists do is careless.”
This intentionality is evident in the detailed and versatile work of Joseph Omolayole, a CE artist who joined the studio in 2016. This MCD@Home artist spotlight features examples of Joseph’s expertise in clothing design, his incredibly realistic paintings and drawings, and his approach to creativity and collaboration. Get to know the artist by exploring his portfolio, creative practice, and interviews.
“Art and fashion are my passion.”
It’s easy to see the result of this passion while exploring Joseph’s practice in fashion design, painting, and drawing and getting to know the artist through interviews with CE and MCD. Joseph, who holds a Fashion Merchandising degree from Skyline College, has applied his creative expertise in his work as a Visual Designer at Ann Taylor and Old Navy and continues to do so through his practice at CE.
Since joining the studio in 2016, Joseph’s work has been featured in Fabulate! (2018), The Good American (2020), and Blackiful (2021). Blackiful, initiated in the summer of 2020 by CE artists Joseph “JD” Green, Joseph Omolayole, Alissa Bledsoe, Gerald Wiggins, Charles Stanberry, Vincent Jackson and visual artist/former CE teaching artist Danielle Wright, is an “ongoing project that considers how individual and collective self-determination [for us] are inextricably linked, whether the space and time we share is physical or virtual.” The CE group invites all CE artists self-identifying as Black to co-create Black aesthetic space. In such, the group explores questions related to their Black identity and experience through creative expression and conversation. Blackiful, the exhibition, featured self-selected work of 23 participating artists and was curated by the six founding CE artists and Danielle Wright.
As part of Mode Brut, Joseph worked both with CE’s Victor Molina and community art collective Bonanza, collaboratively creating clothes reflective, in part, of the pandemic experience, our human need to remain close while apart, and the fashion choices made as much of our interaction went virtual. In an interview with Creativity Explored, Joseph shared his strategies for continuing to find inspiration and create throughout SIP – emphasizing the importance of turning home into a creative space and spending time outside.
When asked how we can use creativity for good, Joseph said: “Soak in art from every culture in the world—that’s how we learn from each other. Through art you can see our differences and how similar we are. Art can be a way we can be connected through our differences. It’s a domino effect. Nobody is alone and art is influenced by other art. It’s like a rainbow.” Joseph’s practice goes beyond exemplifying his technical expertise. His role in Blackiful and Mode Brut as well as his approach to creating during SIP teaches us how to take care and learn from each other, the natural world, and ourselves.
- Further explore by visiting Joseph’s portfolio at AbilityPath and CE.
- Watch CE’s A Blackiful Conversation to learn more about Blackiful, the six Black CE artists that founded it, and the exhibition.
- Observe Joseph’s precise and diligent approach with CE’s video Meet artist Joseph Omolayole | Creativity Explored x Sakura
- Watch and listen as Joseph narrates animated fashion illustrations he created.
- Read MCD’s interview with Joseph:
- Where do you find inspiration?
- I find inspiration in nature. I go mountain biking and hiking and I see tropical and beautiful things that I can customize and make my own. I like connecting nature and art. With painting and textile design and fashion design, I like that, too.
- What is your favorite material to work with? Why?
- I think I like silk because I like the feeling of it and it is very shiny. It is very flowy, too. I like cotton, too – the touch of it and the fiber, as well. But, silk is my favorite.
- How do you make art and come up with your ideas?
- I just think about — I just draw and I’m good at shapes and I use the shape skills I have and use that to develop the pattern and the design off the top of my head.
- What part of making art for Mode Brut have you liked the most?
- Just being part of the whole event. I learned a lot, it was a great experience. I really like what everyone is doing because I used to work at San Francisco Fashion Week about 5 to 6 years ago, but I like this one better because there is more interaction between the people, and my designs are in it too at the same time.
- What has been the hardest part about making art for Mode Brut?
- Nothing really. As long as I can do the assignment and make my best impression for it.
- Where do you find inspiration?