DESIGN


 

lekan jeyifo | dreamscapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 30, 2016
 


words | interview by:  uma ramiah

 

Lekan Jeyifo’s work is the stuff of dreams - he pushes the viewer to rethink what’s ahead, his creations alternately hopeful and unsettling. With training in architecture and computer design, Jeyifo imagines and renders beautiful, unsettling worlds, swinging subtly between dystopia and utopia.

The Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist draws from original source material. “In the most literal sense, I have quite epic lucid dreams almost every night and the visuals are frequently stunning - but not always in triumphant, utopian ways. That is likely a reflection of my love of dystopian sci-fi imagery,” he says. “While I don't want to be hokey and disingenuously optimistic about my speculative narratives, I also don't want to revel in catastrophe or ‘ruin porn,’ especially as concerns using various cities throughout Africa as a muse/site. I find a balance by being cautionary in my political narratives, especially as concerns urban development.”

Thankfully, there was never a danger of these worlds not being rendered. “It was always in me. I read constantly, I drew constantly, and I daydreamed constantly. I still daydream about ridiculously childish scenarios, such as being a spy or a great swordsman, on an almost daily basis. Becoming an artist or writer was utterly inevitable.’

Jeyifo shared some of his work with us, along with some thoughtful background on each piece. Click through above for his context and thoughts on each piece, and read on for some thought provoking stuff. 

"This is a panoramic mural in muted colors depicting daily commuters. I created it for a Starbucks located in the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn." 

"This is a panoramic mural in muted colors depicting daily commuters. I created it for a Starbucks located in the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn." 

GT: You seem completely comfortable in this in-between space - not fully design, nor architecture, nor art - all of the three and more.  What kind of reaction do you get from traditional practitioners?

LJ: I am very comfortable in this space, thanks. I don't necessarily get push back because the spaces I occupy are becoming more and more interdisciplinary. The only place it has been an issue is with editorial illustration. Art/Creative directors prefer to see a very narrow and specific type of work, style, or medium if they are going to hire you.

GT: Are these images what your dreams look like?

LJ: Yes, in the most literal science I have quite epic lucid dreams almost every night and the visuals are frequently stunning but not always in triumphant, utopian ways. That is likely a reflection of my love of dystopian sci-fi imagery. While I don't want to be hokey and disingenuously optimistic about my speculative narratives, I also don't want to revel in catastrophe or "ruin porn", especially as concerns using various cities throughout Africa as a muse/site. I find a balance by being cautionary in my political narratives, especially as concerns urban development.

GT: Your training was in architecture and computer design. Did you find it at all limiting?

LJ: For myself and the type of education I received, there was simply too much of a divide between the conceptual nature of school and the practical application to the professional realm. I think this divide is far less apparent now especially with the prevalence of visual, construction and fabrication technologies but when I was studying the transition from doing cool and wildly speculative design to drafting bathroom fixtures 10 hours a day was a soul-crushing prospect, so I took a different path. As mentioned it is far less restrictive now and it will always be an incredible feeling to see a design manifest itself in a full-scale inhabitable space.

GT: Was this urge to design and create unseen worlds always in you? At what age did it manifest?

LJ:  It was always in me. I read constantly, I drew constantly, and I daydreamed constantly. I still daydream about ridiculously childish scenarios, such as being a spy or a great swordsman, on an almost daily basis. Becoming an artist or writer was utterly inevitable.


Click through for more of Lekan's work on Behance.