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David Osagie: The Illusionist

David Osagie is one of Nigeria’s brightest freelance Digital Artist and Creative Designers. A graduate of Botany from the prestigious Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Delta State, Nigeria, he recently took the industry by surprise when he came up with this unique style of Digital Painting that gave birth to some amazing pieces of art. He recently took the creative team of olabodeskills through how he started, the challenges and the way forward for the industry.


Q: It’s a pleasure having you on Who is David Osagie.


Thank you Olabodeskills .. I am David Osagie, a simple young man, I love art and totally appreciate its unique forms of expression, diversity was what moved me to fall in love with art in the first place. I was born in Kaduna, later moved to Lagos where I stayed a while and then finally settled in Abuja. My growing up days were filled with chunks of fear, shyness, lots of God, pieces of paper and of course, love that I shared with my 3 siblings and parents who loved me earnestly. I bagged a few awards while in Secondary School as a traditional artist before I proceeded to AAU, Ekpoma to study Botany. All that while, I practised art as a hobby.

I formally began graphic design as a career in 2008, first, it was designing magazines and then album covers to corporate branding … today, I share my time as a digital artist and loving husband to the world’s best woman alive – Cera.


Q: What has been your experience so far?

Well, I am writing a book called ‘The Millionaire Graphic Designer’. It’s a tale of my experiences as a Graphic Designer in Nigeria. I am a true Nigerian professional, partly because, I tell people that I have seen it all … The clients, the people, the rejection, the praises, the insults, the frustrations, the creditors; all the evens and odds of the graphic design business. Graphic Designers should be the world’s wealthiest by all standards because it’s one of the few practices where even the 1-year old baby pays you, for at least, souvenirs for her birthday, many careers don’t offer such opportunities. I love art, but seems when pleasing people come into the picture, it usually doesn’t sound all that pleasant, art doesn’t now become ‘you’, it becomes someone else. Business is all about pleasing people and doing what makes them happy, but art doesn’t work like that, an artist’s work is unique to him. I hope to spend a large chunk of my life speaking on my experiences as this interview space will hardly give me sufficient time to leverage it all.


Q: Recently you took the industry by surprise by coming with this unique style of Digital Painting, can you shed more light on this style of artistic expression?

I said earlier that one of the few reasons I cherish art is cause of its diversity, whatever way you express it, somehow gets accepted. I took some time practising more unique approaches sometime in January 2012, during the Nigerian Fuel Subsidy protest. I remember Jide Odukoya sending me some photos and that was how it began, stroke by stroke, I realized a unique digital art style was born, I themed it ‘African Grunge’ (I later felt this name was boring though). But it was beautiful and hard to replicate at least, reason why I stuck to it. You see, you no longer own a style when everyone knows the secret recipe. Imagine if Coke could be prepared as a drink in your kitchen, would you be willing to still buy Coke in the market or respect the product anymore? This answers a few who have asked me to teach them my paint style … (I’m so sorry) wished it were different.
My style of painting seeks to express depth of the tale being told. it is an expression of traditional brush strokes in digital form, sometimes happy, other times melancholic … my aim is always to inspire a message for the onlookers.


Q: What other projects have you undertaken apart from these amazing pieces of art?

Mmm … I have been involved in a couple of very interesting work, but like I always say – work that pay the bills, are usually not the most memorable. I still look forward to a financially rewarding project that affords me all the ‘freehand’ I need to express myself. I am totally hoping this year would birth the dawn of a new beginning for digital artists in Nigeria. I am glad to be part of this revolutionary process!


Q: What has been your favourite project till date and what are the lessons you learnt from the experience.

I think the magazines I designed at – The Entrepreneur – was simply phenomenal for me. I thought the covers were totally me, as the publisher I worked with, was a keen art lover who celebrated my artworks on her cover pages,  she was my number one fan and I use this opportunity to appreciate her very much!

My Lessons- I learnt timing, publishing houses are very time conscious – you can’t be late at all – This was a challenge for me at the beginning, as I was the art director, and had to conveniently piece all articles, and bleed pdf files for press, so you can guess the pressure that I wasn’t used to – But the tonnes of encouragement I got from my publisher who was always patient with me, was encouraging, this helped me become better through time.


Q: What type of medium do you prefer the most?

Medium I prefer most? Digital or Traditional?
I think both have their advantages … I would anytime, anyday, choose traditional over digital though … I love what I can feel, the paint strokes on canvas or lead dust on paper, it moves me, but when you speak of reward, digital medium would always give you more accuracy, speed and control. There are details you may not need to bother about while working digitally, its freedom all the way! and oops, did I make mention the ‘undo’ button – which means you can make all the mistakes and still arrive at perfection!


Q: What is your favourite software and how long have you been using it?

Adobe Photoshop. Been using for over 8 years. Since version 5


Q: Has Digital Painting brought down the value of the traditional painting?


Haba! No oh …
The digital and traditional world are still bits apart. Digital medium and traditional, have expressed themselves in varied ways, and of course there is still a fine line between the two … Digital art began only a few years ago … But traditional mediums date back to millions of years … so you see, catching up might take a while.


Q: These days we’ve seen different versions of Digital Paintings flood the internet, mostly from newbies who believe that is the way to go. What is your advice for them considering the fact that what they churn out are mostly below expectation


Yeah … Nigerians are doing great. I just hope they don’t think digital art would make them billionaires in a day, sha? They should embrace process and go along with passion. Young Nigerians prefer shortcuts, how they can make money off some fine idea, but who grows like that? Persistence, Hardwork, Attitude and Talent, are the rules of the new digital painting business … Follow them and you will prosper!


Q: Do you consider Digital Technology a plus or minus?

When Nigerians go back to the days of Nitel and dialing tones or climbing donkeys as a mean of transportation, maybe then, we would reassure ourselves on whether Digital Technology is a plus or minus. (laughter)


Q: How do you stay inspired?

Reading literature, Worshiping God, sharing ideas and inspiring people.


Q: What influence has social media had on your job?

I owe Mr Mark Zuckerberg a couple of Nairas. I just spoke with some folks and said, when others rise to their purpose in life, they open doors for others to succeed. It just goes to say that If you do not begin to utilize your gifts, you also would hold down people’s progress too. Facebook has tremendously impacted my work and the works of many artists out there. It’s good to share your world at the comfort of your office desk. I’ve also benefitted favourably from sites as Behance, Pinterest, Flickr, Twitter and the likes,


Q: What’s the one gadget you can’t leave home without

My Phone. Who leaves his phone at home?
Unserious business people! (lol) I remember a few people call me that at one time.


Q: What can you consider as the most memorable moments in your career so far?

Reading through my success stories … probably facebook comments, or an email that appreciates me, and of course, when I land a good paying project (laughter, who doesn’t find good money as memorable?)


Q: Who would you say have influenced you both locally and internationally?

Locally – Ibe Ananaba, Niyi Okeowo, Ola Olowu

Internationally – Russ Mills, Peter Jawarowski and entire Arsthanea team.


Q: How do you relax considering the nature of your job?

I speak to people, sometimes ask questions or watch/ listen to an inspirational message I’ve anticipated for some time. I also go ‘quiet time’ with myself every now and then … meditating in the Spirit.


If there was one piece of advice you would tell yourself in the beginning of your career, what would it be?

Keep Relationships – I didn’t quite value this when I started off. Today I have learnt that this is the key ingredient for a successful career and life!


Q: What words of advice would you like to pass to upcoming artists and the fans of

Love yourself and people, your work and your God.


Never give up, persist in what you love and never deliver mediocre work to your clients. I repeat, never deliver mediocre work to your clients, either give your best or turn down that project, give your best to all you do, as much as it depends on you.



David Osagie’s work can be seen on:



About Olabodeskills

Olabodeskills is a creative portal that teaches, shares, showcases and features brilliant ideas, concepts and  skills in the arts – from graphic/design, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, visual media, decorative arts, architecture, performing arts and interactive media. It is for everyone in the design world – graphic/web designers, web developers, programmers, illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, writers, architects, package designers, animation/multimedia pros, video editors, make-up artists and the design wannabes.


About Olabode Skill

Olabodeskills is a creative portal that teaches, shares, showcases and features brilliant ideas, concepts and skills in the arts – from graphic/design, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, visual media, decorative arts, architecture, performing arts and interactive media. It is for everyone in the design world – graphic/web designers, web developers, programmers, illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, writers, architects, package designers, animation/multimedia pros, video editors, make-up artists and the design wannabes. We are devoted and dedicated to developing solid ties to our design community, advancing the eminence of design, and building an encouraging uniformity in our different world.

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