Sor Sen is a visual artist who pours a tremendous amount of skill and precision into his beautiful artwork. In speaking with him, I was able to gain valuable insight into his overall artistic process. Hardwood & Hollywood was lucky enough to spend some time talking with Sor Sen in our Q&A below. After completing this interview, check out his visual artist page on Instagram.
H&H: To begin our interview, where are you from and based at the moment?
Sor: Well, I am from Nigeria, currently practicing art in the capital city called Abuja.
H&H: When did art first become a passion of yours?
Sor: l have always loved playing with crayons, pencil colours, other mark making objects and I used to doodle on any surface I came across with. You know that restless spirit in children, I had it too. Somehow, my passion was propelled by seeing my dad make pictures casually with his camera. At the same time taking the images to the photo lab afterwards, frame these images in a tasteful manner which I found quite intriguing. He was quite ‘arty’ with the things he came in touch with. Same thing applied to my mum, when I used to watch her closely as she made clothes for herself. But the passion got a bit serious when I enrolled in for my formal education, which led me into new experiences in the world of art. I must say, it was exciting.
H&H: You consider yourself a “visual artist.” What exactly does this term mean to you and why was this the artistic direction that you chose to take?
Sor: Yeah, I pretty much tell stories and I do this with imageries on a surface that requires the viewer’s thought and sight faculties to decipher. Again, I felt I had a voice that was strong enough to incite consciousness. Being a visual artist has been the most viable way for me to lend my voice.
H&H: Being an artist obviously encompasses a range of skills. What specific skills do you feel are most important in this profession?
Sor: For a professional, I would say one needs to have deep understanding of his/her materials and techniques. You would need to have good draughtmanship, attention to details as it concerns your career. You would also need to be adaptable to trends. And of course, acquiring some business skills would help you strike a balance between passion and professionalism.
H&H: Where do you receive your inspiration from when working on a piece?
Sor: My sources of inspiration are quite fluid in nature, never static. When I started out in my career my forms where quite simple, easy to identify. This I did because of the kind of issues I had wanted to tackle but as I progressed my works became a bit more like a puzzle which is inspired by the complexity of living in our contemporary times.
H&H: Are there any other artists out there who you deeply respect and enjoy following?
Sor: I have deep respect for all of my teachers. Nevertheless, there are other artists who are practising and have practised that I am almost at the verge of idolizing their practice and energy they put into their work. Artists like, Andrew Salgado, Jenny Saville, Dhlimi Munza, Gani Odutokun, Ryan Hewett, Kai -Samuels, Ron Hicks, Tyrone Geter, Kefas Danjuma and a host of many others.
H&H: Do you feel that being a quality artist is a god given gift or is it a practice that develops over time? Perhaps it’s even both…
Sor: I think it’s a mixture of both. Like they say, talent is never enough.
H&H: Take us into the art-making process. What are all of the details and aspects that go into creating something beautiful?
Sor: You know beauty is one phenomena that is quite complex most especially in an artistic discourse. But I can tell you that for me to create something quite meaningful and compelling I do a lot of research on my subjects, and just anything I want to paint..This is sounding a bit scientific, but no! We artists search too. Sometimes the most captivating of our creations occur through ‘accidental discharges’. There’s no one way to it. I make sketches either from life or reference materials then I later transfer them to my surface. Some times I just show up on my easel and just play with what ever surface that’s staring at me.
H&H: Have you always had support from family and friends to support your artistic dreams?
Sor: Absolutely, yes! In fact when my family noticed that I had the talent they insisted I pursue it. Which I did and all along they’ve stood by me. This path is not easy without moral, mental and economic support most especially from family and friends. So, my story is the opposite of what most people would say.
H&H: Are you currently working on any projects that you would like readers to know about? Anything exciting on the horizon?
Sor: Yes, I have a solo exhibition of my recent works coming up later in the year, specifically after summer and I am extremely excited about it.
H&H: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. In closing, where can you and your artwork be found/contacted on social media?
Sor: You can find my works on my Instagram page @sorsenfineart