Semi Permanent and Highsnobiety are launching a two-day experiential hotel takeover bringing together global artists to present a vision for the future. Discover the exhibitions here.
Claudia Chinyere Akole is the type of person who art flows through boundlessly. “Pouring small parts of myself onto a page is basically an intrinsic part of living for me,” she tells us over email.
This is reflected in how many disciplines Akole works with — “too many creative jars,” she says — including comics, illustration, animation, and design. But with every piece she puts out, filled with charmingly wobbly lines and whimsically stark colors, a particular feeling of humanity comes through in spades. “‘Honest’ is the most neutral way I can describe the conceptual nature of my work, which is largely autobiographical or an exploration/processing of personal issues,” she explains.
Akole connects her versatile practice to her focus on getting consistent work and keeping food on the table: “I come from a fairly financially unstable upbringing, so working for survival’s sake has always been my priority,” she says. Having studied both in Design in Visual Communication and Illustration, Akole quickly realized she wasn’t interested in pursuing either. “So by the time I graduated, I’d decided I’d be content to work in any job while maintaining my own art practice.”
Perhaps the most emotionally resonant of the many creations in her portfolio are the comics, such as “Want Comic,” a harrowing 27-panel journey “pondering the inescapable trappings of desire.” Alongside her illustrations, these creations often serve as Akole’s outlet to truly express herself. “I appreciate both as an outlet to create personally fulfilling work,” she says. “They’re a solution to the problem of needing to create a tangible picture from intangible emotions.”
For our A Semi Permanent Hotel, presented by Highsnobiety, Akole will transform a traditional hotel room with her illustrations, drawing the visitor into her immersive world. Akole’s work continues to balance a cohesive vision with an unrestricted drive to create poignant social commentary and take on numerous challenges in form. Though her clients have included SBS Chinese, The New York Times, and now Highsnobiety, the Sydney-based creative still allows for her own spirit to shine through in each project she contributes to.
“The majority of my work is based on personal experiences, feelings, and emotions,” Akole says. “So processing these things via my creative practice is like breathing for me... it’s how I navigate the world and myself.”