a conversation with artist/muralist aniekan udofia: when two worlds collide

January 7, 2014

I was granted the opportunity to chat with artist Aniekan Udofia and converse about the current influence that social media has on art and artistry in general. As a muralist placing himself in the midst of the community and dedicating days to complete murals in Washington D.C., it is very understandable that Aniekan feels uneasy about the effects the Internet has on artistic expression today. Everything, and everyone has become much more accessible- for the better and for the worst.
I try not to get consumed by the cyber-world. When used in a positive way you can reach millions! But, what happens when creativity is exchanged for popularity and mediocrity is praised? The creative minds become starved and imagination is cheated by fads & facades, how long will this trend last? How in the world has Justin Bieber become a synonymous name for street art? No salt thrown.

By Tip Jordan, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Tip: What message is it that you try to convey in your artwork?

Aniekan Udofia: I work in series sometimes and with each “series” I guide viewers through my life’s journey, the message is very subtle and could easily be missed.  I learnt to not be literal in my “message” due to a solo show I did in 2009 titled:”the Sickness”. It was about TV culture, the exhibit wasn’t well received. So now I keep it subtle and let the viewer’s imagination take them where it may.

Tip: Isn’t that the beauty of art; being literal at times? Regardless of the other’s perception, it is your story. Did you feel like you had to change your style or contradict your art because “the Sickness” wasn’t well-received?

Aniekan Udofia: Art once upon a time was “the artist’s way of expressing ideas”. It was a beautiful concept, but now because of the “freedom” that social media has given the masses, art has become the viewer’s idea of expressing the artist.  So my message or ideas is bound to piss-off someone out there which then obstructs or stagnates my career. Art is powerful…but (insert social media of choice here) is invincible!

Tip: That’s interesting and holds so much truth. I think that social media has taken away from a lot of the substance of great artistry of all genres i.e. music, art, even books that now have gone digital. You ever thought of you and your masterpieces being a catalyst in blossoming honest self-expression back into the masses?

Aniekan Udofia: Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great tool if used the right way. For example, this interview will be read by a wide range of viewers who might have never heard of me otherwise, and that’s fantastic! However, there are other media outlets that just skip the “ask the artist” part and just post images of “art” for narcissistic reasons, and that’s where it starts to suck! I’m trying to bring back honest self-expression but… Justin Bieber is blocking my way! Haha. Apparently, he’s the “street art” newest sensation?!
Tip: What is a way Artists, be it singers, rappers, painters, photographers etc. can shift the internet’s cyber mind into a more conscious & authentic atmosphere?
Aniekan Udofia: Artists can stop it by telling the truth! And stop using dumb terms like “quick” or “doodle” or “bored” to describe their process, and stop jumbling up the genres e.g calling a mural “street-art” or confusing an “art show” with an official “exhibition”.
Tip: In what ways are you making a difference?
Aniekan Udofia: I make a difference by taking my time to perfect what I do, quality over quantity. Also, by not bragging about how quick or fast I can finish a piece or “doodle” and by making sure my social media is mainly about the work I’m doing and not about a pet peeve or my favorite cup cake.
Be sure to check out more of Aniekan Udofia’s artwork online at
* Tip Jordan’s blog: