“...Since I was also born and raised in a third world country (Guinea, Conakry), where making a career in art is pretty much like suicide, I decided that I would take on the challenge.”
Brooklyn doesn't just breed musical geniuses and create trends they are also the new hub of creative adventure. Among these eccentric individuals located in New York's coolest borough is artist Ibrahim Wann. As a youngin' his friends were struggling to draw stick figures, and he was creating small comic books and drawing cars. His first introduction to art came from his father. He too was an artist and Ibrahim grew up surrounded by his fathers works. Safe to say he was destined for a life behind a canvas and a mess of paint at his side.
His favorite part of being an artist is the fact that he gets to be himself 24/7. “I don't have to cut or comb my hair, I don't have to wear cool clothes and ride fancy cars to impress anybody...oh and of course girls love artists so that's always a plus.”He fell in love with Impressionism and the idea of being able to capture time on a canvas. It wasn't until he got to college did he decide that he would be a freelance artist. “It was Bob Marley's music and its Rastafari message that made me not want to work for the man. I could not sing or play the guitar like he did but I knew how to draw so I decided that I would get better at it and make a living from it. Bob Marley was also the first artist from a third world country to gain international success. Since I was also born and raised in a third world country (Guinea, Conakry); where making a career in art is pretty much like suicide, I decided that I would take on the challenge.”
Cliché as it may sound he is inspired by life but who isn't quite frankly?!
"I might go to a restaurant and end up creating a piece about the meal that I had or I might meet a beautiful lady on the train and paint about her...Anything can inspire me. I found myself staring at a hole in my pants the other day and for some reason the hole had the outline of someone's face, it wasn't a familiar face so i decided to paint it and see what might come out of it. It was an alien looking guy!”
If he wasn't into art what would he be doing? Playing the guitar. Why? "Because girls love a man with a guitar" as he puts it. Either way, he would be in the art field in some form. Truly he can't ever see himself doing anything that doesn't deal with self expression.
The ability to have freedom of expression and do something he loves everyday is very important to him. He does not have to be confined to a strict schedule. He enjoys working on commissions and especially doing exhibitions. “People take some time out of their busy lives to come see something that you created.”
Exhibitions and commissions are not the only things he does.....
What major projects have you worked on and why did you take them on?
"I have been working on a 1000 pages long comic book for the past 5 years and still have a long way to go. I also built a robot out of old electronics; I had no idea that I could do that until I tried. I gave it away to a children's shelter. Having set the goal of building the robot and actually accomplishing it was good enough for me."
Is there a specific project that you would like to work on?
"I would love to do something for the white house, maybe a family portrait of the Obamas."
Have you ever considered getting your work published?
"I would love to get my comic published when it is done. Marvel Would be a great platform for me. But honestly I am doing it for the challenge rather than making some money from it"
Why are you still into art?
"I can't explain it. I just know that I don't want to do anything else. I don't see myself waking up early, to put on a suit, work a 9 to 5 and call people sir or ma'am all day! As an artist, i can wake up at 3pm, smoke some pot and listen to some awesome music and paint! don't get me wrong though i still like to have a productive day. I still have to work on commissions to make sure that my rent is paid."
Mr Wann is definitely and artist to look out for. Brooklyn is no easy borough to impress and Ibrahim has managed to woo the borough as well as the rest of New York. The team of ADDMAG has fallen head over heels with his work and can't wait to see his next project. Make sure to check out his blog Wannart for updates on where he will be showing next!
PS: we so call dibs on a copy of the comic book!