In the short time since launching in November, this blog has featured dozens of visual artists paving their own unique lanes. Despite continual coverage, new artists still manage to pop up and grab my attention. I found out about 16-year-old artist Zelch, for example, merely through a Twitter repost. Residing in Lagos, Nigeria, the teenage student spends his days meshed between exam preparations and insightful design. His work is full of poetry and expressionism; equal parts chaos and minimalism. The pieces are individual to his own pen. Although his Instagram is inactive and he doesn't have a website, I was still able to go back and forth with Zelch via Twitter DM for our newest feature story. Enjoy the Q+A below and keep an eye on his Twitter page for more emotional art.
How would you describe 2017 so far?
You know when you asleep on the plane and you miss the refreshment cart and then you wake up during turbulence? Yeah, that's where I'm at. I'm 16, isn't life mean to be easy? [laughs] Everything I liked got taken away from me and I was left grasping at threads. I'm still alive anyway.
How would you describe the insides of your journals?
Messssssssssssssy af. [I've] shared a few journal entries. At first maybe it's like a few quotes or essays. Stuff in French sometimes. Then I draw on them and heap more stuff on them until anyone that looks at it thinks, "this is nucking futs!" Or beautiful nonsense.
What's a typical day for you?
Right now a typical day for me this year is me waking up to my mom shouting. Going to school and I guess managing the people who are nothing like me. My school is okay and surprisingly despite my awful behaviour, I have friends! Well a few. Very little. I like it that way. After school I do home tutoring because of exams, then I study for exams, then my mom shouts at me for exams, then I draw a bit, until I start to think of exams.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
I hate this year. The rest of the year is gonna be tight though. Gonna work with my brothers Slawn, Onyedi, and Leo taking over London hopefully. And visiting this skateshop called WAFFLESNCREAM. It's so awesome. [I'm] tired of these "internet points". I need coins, I need real life moves. Trying to get a film done during the summer. Currently I have trousers in production, a little collection may come through. A zine I'm doing. And of course, more art! My art is gonna be featured in this art show celebrating my home state Lagos. Gonna be really big.
Do you currently live in Nigeria?
Yup, I live in Lagos, Nigeria. hopefully gonna live there when I'm older too. Lagos is, in short, confusing. Like that kind of cousin that has like 20 sides. You be in I don't know, like Alexander Road, driving down there and you'd just feel like you're in some sort of haven if you got your windows down. but then you can't do that shit for like Mushin, Lagos. Someone might nick your sneakers. Too many underdeveloped areas with developed ones. Don't get me wrong, Lagos is beautiful, most parts of the lagoon are damn amazing, but the government is too silly by trying to make a metropolitan city while they destroy and ignore the shitty parts.
What music have you been enjoying?
I been listening to King Krule, Wizkid, ATCQ, MF Doom, Mac Demarco, Fela Kuti, Burna Boy, Outkast, The Beatles, and Public Enemy. King Krule's voice is the most beautiful thing this world can offer. After Action Bronson's eyes. You can't listen to Wizkid and be unhappy. Doom, ATCQ, Outkast, Public Enemy [is me] trying to reconnect to old hip hop. I love it so far. Mac Demarco is my boyfriend. Fela Kuti is my father.
Do you have any advice for artists?
Everyone says this but stay true to yourself. Learn from the victories and problems of your predecessors, but don't aspire to live their lifestyle. You gotta be you and I tell people this a lot. In life you're gonna struggle and you're going to sacrifice. You can't expect to get anywhere without one of the two or both. There is no competition so help your other creative friends out. Stop staring at numbers on social media. It's hard especially when you're relatively lower than your contemporaries but don't let it get to you. If you keep working hard and being yourself, you'll surpass your expectations
Any final words of wisdom / closing thoughts?
Final words? "Last words are for fools who haven't said enough." - Karl Marx