Meet Martins Lawrence Akande, Nigeria’s talented hyper realistic pencil artist

By Kemi Mobuse - Wednesday, August 03, 2016

This is Africa recently featured the artwork of one of Nigeria’s most talented hyper realistic artists, Martins Lawrence Akande. Akande’s remarkable realistic pencil drawings continue to draw immense praise. In an exclusive interview with TiA, we find out more about the artist, and trace the journey he has traversed in his career.

Martins Lawrence Akande (teenezmartinez) is a passionate and refined artist with a natural talent in portraiture who doubles up as an accountant. Born in northern Nigeria, in Maiduguri, Akande has developed into one of the finest hyper realistic artists in Nigeria.
Currently based in Abuja, Akande’s artwork has been described as amazing, breath-taking, and beautiful, amongst other positive reviews.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Akande to find about his background and artwork.

Who are you, Martins, tell us about your history ?
– Response; Martins Lawrence Akande ( teenezmartinez ) is a passionate and a refined Artist with a natural talent in Portraiture. A Nigerian with great Passion for the Arts despite his background in Accounting.
What is the path that led you to the illustration?
– Response; « Laughs » The fear of a 9-5 has led me to choose this beautiful path.
Martins-Laurent Akande portrait
TiA: How and when did you get into art, how did it all start?
Martins Lawrence Akande (MLA): I got into Art as far back when I was little, about 7 years old at the time. I’ve always loved to sketch or make comic drawings. Now taking me back to memory lane. I remember I was sitting in the classroom in my junior year when a friend showed me a comic book, which he made. He drew all the characters, I liked it and I thought to myself I could do same, I got home picked up a Mickey Mouse magazine, which I had and started sketching the characters in there. It was my favourite at the time.
Were you always into art? How long have you been drawing?
MLA: I’ve always loved Art but took it more seriously after I graduated from the University. I have been drawing like forever and I have always been an Artist.
I found out that you are also an Accountant, where did you study?
MLA: Yes I am an Accountant, I studied Accounting in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna Nigeria.
Where has your work been featured?
MLA: I’ve had the opportunity to have my works featured in Oxford (2014 and 2015), Art In America (The world most comprehensive Art reference print publication in existence) 2015 Edition, Spectrum Miami during Art Basel 2015, Art Expo New York 2015, World Art Dubai 2015,  Architectural Digest Design Show 2015 New York, and Art UpClose.
How was that experience for you?
MLA: It’s an amazing experience and I’m honoured to have such features and level of exposure in the Art world.
All your work that we seen is black and white, why?
– Response; I’ve always had a great love for black and white photos or photography, this has contributed to the reason why most of why works usually appear in black and white. It gives it a good feel and still maintaining its beauty.
When you take an illustration, you begin with what (listening to music that you like, or smoke a good cigarette …) ?
– Response; Pretty interesting question, I wish I could smoke a good cigaret before starting every piece « laughs », I listen to Music, preferably soft rock and podcast sometimes when working. Also sometimes you just want to have that quiet moment while working on certain pieces.
Martins-Laurent Akande Portrait 4
How long does it normally take you to draw and finish working on a drawing?
MLA: Depending on the project I am working on, a portrait could take minimum of 100 hours or more. Some could go for weeks or even months before completion.
Where do get your inspiration and how do you decide on what to draw?
MLA: I find inspiration in anything beautiful and natural, it gets my imagination working. I decide on what to draw when I connect with a particular subject I.e. when not working on a commissioned project.
There is a lot more attention being paid to African and African inspired art across the globe. How has your work been received locally (in Nigeria) and across Africa?
MLA: That is absolutely correct, a lot more attention is being paid to African and African Inspired Art across the globe. As we know in Nigeria and across Africa we are still in the early stages and at the same time I must say it has been well received.

What are some of the challenges you have faced doing your work?
MLA: The most challenge will be irregular scheduling and secondly is building a reputation while keeping up with clients demands.
The projects you are currently working and future projects or exhibitions ?
– Response; Currently working on Private projects for certain brands and elite personalities which can’t be disclosed at this stage and for future Projects I won’t state so I don’t kill the thrill but lookout out as details will be up soon.
Your dream ?
– Response; Freedom which I have already!
For more update and recent pieces you can follow Akande on Instagram
You can also visit his blog
Culled: [ &]
More pictures below:

  • Share:

You Might Also Like