3 of Ghana’s sons: Pushing the Culture Through Art, Style, and Creativity

Citizins

 Kojo Owusu is a graphic/visual artist, mixed media, and graphic designer

“I’m Ghanaian and I’m black. I’m from everywhere.”

What is your inspiration for creating?

Women, music, bills.

When did you realize this is what you were going to do for a living/for your life?

I’ve had that three times in my life but the very first time was when I was a kid. My uncle bought me an art set at age 10 and I fell in love with it. I always loved art and I just wanted to be an artist, but having Ghanaian parents, they always want you to be something else. For that reason I decided I was going to be a computer engineer, I still don’t know what a computer engineer does.

How did your parents take to you wanting to be an artist?

They tried to keep me on the college route so I went to college. I dropped out, went back and dropped out again. The thing is though, when I was in middle school, I started working for myself. I started making t-shirts at school and my parents started seeing money to where I started paying bills. When Ghanaian parents start seeing money and seeing that you can take care of yourself they start to respect and take you serious. In spite of that, they still want you to be something else because they are not 100% sure of the unconventional route. They haven’t seen it work so its hard for them to accept.

Is it important to keep your culture in your art? Do you make it a requirement to include it in your art?

 Not necessarily because I don’t really think about it. It comes naturally because it’s me, it’s my story. My history is diverse, I was born in Ghana and I grew up in London and the U.S., so I have very vast cultural experiences. I grew up with a lot of different people: European, Caribbean and other Africans. Everything is mixed. For example, I love Seinfeld. I can do an art piece with a Seinfeld theme and put a kente cloth on it. I especially love Costanza.

Are there any artists that inspire you or you draw inspiration from?

Yes, there’s a lot. I mostly draw inspirations from their lives, and from their work. Sometimes you see another artist work and you think, “man, I wish I did that” or you just admire their unique technique. I don’t have a style. I create based on my mood and often I see the image and I know what I want it to look like. If it doesn’t come out the way the I want it, I’ll do it over. It’s all practice.

If I was to mention the name Citizins in a conversation, what do you want to come to peoples mind? What do you want people to appreciate you for.

I just want people to live their truth. Be yourself. Know yourself, master yourself, understand yourself, allow yourself to be vulnerable, especially for men. Be able to say I fucked up, I lost, like things aren’t right, admit wrongs. Just be you. That’s as much as you can be.

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Interviews were conducted by Adam Smarte for OneTribeMag

Written by:

Head of Content. Somewhere between Wizkid & Young Thug.

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