Like I promised you guys, MCLA will be celebrating our young talents this week. These are those who have carved a niche for themselves with their art and are excelling at it greatly.
Today, it is all about Mohammed Abbagana known to most people as MJA, The Black Rembrandt. This young man has blown many away with his drawings. They are absolutely breathtaking. MCLA had the opportunity to grab him for a chat and this is what he had to say. Enjoy!
Hi Mohammed, tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Mohammed Abbagana, a 25 years old Nigerian. I am a Sagittarius. I am Muslim and I have been living in England for 14 years. I attended different schools in different parts of England. I have a degree in Visual Communication from the American Intercontinental University, London. I like music especially hip hop and R ‘n’ B.
I like UFC and absolutely love watching movies. I like to laugh, hang with friends though I do not have much time on my hands these days because of my art. I’m particular about detail. The only art I am into is Realism. I want to do what I think people would like to look at but also what I love. My favourite artist is Rembrandt.
When did you realise you had this talent and how did you hone it?
I started drawing at the age of 7 because of a manga called Dragon Ball z, lol. I have been drawing ever since. However, I started taking my art seriously just last year. I am not as good as I would like to be. To hone my skills, I just keep drawing and naturally, I improve with practice.
I want to reach a level of understanding that you get with every piece you do, so you draw a certain way, to the image you see, because you understand it more, like a language. I have realised that the more you try to understand your work, the more you see life differently and from a different angles too.
What/where did you study and did your parents fear for you when you decided that you wanted to do your own thing?
I went to Central Saint Martins and I did not like it so I went to the London College of Communication for my foundation. My dad did not feel it was a career to pursue but my mum supported me. I was initially going to study Architecture but because I hate Math, I didn’t.
When/how did you decide that you were going into it seriously?
Last year. I want to see how far I could take it. It can be so difficult to discover what you want to do in life and that thing being something that you actually like and enjoy doing. I consider myself very blessed to have found my passion and calling.
How did you handle the discouragements?
I didn’t have to. I had my mother’s full support as well as those of my brother and 2 sisters. I kept seeking for improvement in my work and that kept me going.
How challenging has it been compared to the idea of being employed by a top company in Nigeria/UK which you could easily get?
Well, I am not a 9 to 5 kind of person and I don’t have to pay tax when I sell my art so it sounded good. The thought that I didn’t have to give my ideas or put all my effort into someone else’s income was also very appealing. The only thing I was worried about was if people back home (Nigeria) would accept my style but we will see how that goes.
Of all your projects, which have you absolutely loved the most and why?
It is the one I am doing for my exhibition in London called Claustaphobia because it’s fun, I like the idea behind it and it brings out strong images which a lot of people can relate to.
What are your present projects?
Claustaphobia and one I am working on for Nigeria. It does not have a name yet but it is 10 pieces on canvas.
Well, I’m not happy that I did not enter into competitions earlier and that I’m only just taking my art seriously. But it is never too late to start so that thought encourages me.
Any advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Follow your dreams no matter how difficult it maybe and no matter the obstacles you may encounter in life. You have to work 4 times as hard because you’re mostly on your own. Prove people wrong. In this world, there too many copy cats. We live in a huge world so stand out, be remembered through time after your time has ended.
Here are some of his drawings…
For more of his amazing work and details on how to own one of his pieces,contact him through:
Twitter: Follow him on @/mo_j_a
That’s all folks (for now)