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Art, Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Dawn Okoro

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Dawn Okoro’s unique techniques and innovative creativity makes her artwork eye-catching, fresh, and popular amongst an assortment of crowds. Her work is inspired by composition techniques similar to the ones used in fashion photography. Using oil and acrylic paints, photography, and collage techniques, she incorporates pop culture into concepts for her paintings, which give her pieces a lively and modern touch. With sassy silhouettes, Dawn’s work promotes pride in feminism and sensuality.

Dawn holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a Juris Doctor from Texas Southern University. Her work has been exhibited at RFA Gallery in Harlem, Texas Southern University Museum, Rice University and at international exhibits.

We had the privilege to learn more about Dawn and her work:

Rise Africa: Your work is quite extraordinary and unique. How did you develop the techniques that you use to create your pieces?

Dawn Okoro: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I taught myself to paint when I was in high school. I think a lot of my skill for transferring details onto a canvas or paper comes naturally.

RA: What aspects of you daily life contribute most to your work?

Dawn: I have always been influenced by popular culture; my life experiences and my feelings have contributed to my work as well.

RA: What sparked your interest in art and when did you first start developing your talents?

Dawn: As a child, I realized that I had a natural drawing skill. I was comfortable with it so I wanted to keep doing it.

RA: Who are your biggest influences in the art world?

Dawn: One of my biggest influences is Andy Warhol. I am drawn to his seemingly carefree style of living and creating. I also admire the business skill that he had.

RA: What is your method? Do you have specific rituals you go through before you work?

Dawn: I don’t have any rituals that I go through before working. I use photographs as reference so I shoot photos of a model or find an existing photo. I look at a photo in order to keep the human proportions more realistic.

RA: Which of your pieces is your personal favorite?

Dawn: One of my favorites is a painting called “Action Heroine.” I like the colors and the fact that it represents strength.

RA: How would you describe your style?

Dawn: I usually paint women using bright saturated colors. The figures are somewhat realistic but not photorealistic.

RA: What do you find most enriching about being an artist?

Dawn: I like having a visual way to express myself. I also like knowing that others may be able to relate and see even more in the work.

RA: How do you want your work to be interpreted?

Dawn: I leave it open to the viewer’s interpretation.

RA: What is one of the most significant moments you have had in your career as an artist?

Dawn: One of the most significant moments in my career is my first solo art show.

RA: How does your heritage contribute to your work?

Dawn: My heritage contributes to my work in that it shapes who I am and helps form my point of view.

RA: Many artists have emotional ties to their pieces, would you consider yourself such as
an artist?

Dawn: No not really. I just hope that my work can be respected.

RA: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Dawn: My advice would be to follow your heart — but be smart about it.

RA: What are some hurdles you had to overcome as an artist?

Dawn: The biggest hurdle I have had to overcome is balancing a day job and an being an artist. It is hard to force myself to paint after working long hours.

RA: What is your ultimate goal for you as an artist?

Dawn: My goal is to have a large body of work that is collected and enjoyed by many people all over the world.

For More information:

-Joy Otibu


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