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A Day in the Life of an Artist

45-year-old, self-titled addictive sketcher, Adebanji Alade, gives his story of life at the perspective of a professional artist in a family of four.

I usually start off my day watching my children Kezia and Joshua paint together, they are really brilliant artist in the making. Watching them mix up paint and giggling every time they get some on themselves brings a warm feeling to my heart.  I also enjoy the gentle music of my wife, Ruth’s, piano playing, and the sound never fails to put me at peace, the perfect mindset to have before I begin my work day.

With my mind in a state of content I start by going to the studio through public transport, where I meet different faces that has me itching to sketch. This constant urge is why I like to call myself an addictive sketcher. Whenever I see a new and different face, I can see their story. People like to judge others badly, for a split second they make a rude assumption of a stranger. I on the other hand, I see the pain struck in their eyes or the non-stop smiling etched on their lips. I then sketch these emotions, the beauty, strokes and wavering. But at the time when there is no one to sketch, I start sketching myself, either from the reflection of a window or a mirror in the studio.

Life so far has been rewarding to me. I have a lovely family and a great paying job that I enjoy doing. I didn’t come here on my own though, I was cared for and assisted to be who I am now with what I have. I live in London now, I grew up here and I found my passion here, but it is my home country Nigeria that helped me nurture my talents. I moved to Nigeria at a young age and lived there for 19 years. My primary school had no art classes, so for a while I was self-taught. In my secondary school I met two teachers who helped me with my art and motivated me into considering this as my profession. I will never forget what my teacher told me, it is that if I continue sketching like this, I can succeed in life, and she was right.

All this started thanks to my cousin. He had introduced me to football. This sport led me to a comic titled, ‘Roy of the Rovers.’ The drawings were all done by hand, and the beauty of each face, even the drops of paint had inspired me to take up art. So I drew everything from the comic, step-by-step.

Because of my discovery of this passion, I want to achieve something big with my work. I want people to see the world through my eyes. It’s like when I am sketching homeless people, on some levels, I can say that I understand them, I myself have lost my home, when I lost my parents and elder brother. I like to listen to the homeless people’s tragic story whilst I sketch them and I try to capture every word of it in my work. I want people to see all the struggles and beauty that I see, from where I see it, and every day I get closer to this.

Little Albert

In 1913 an article that contributes greatly to psychology today was published, ‘Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it’ by John B. Watson. Watson is well known for his unethical experimentation of Classical Conditioning with a 9-month-old infant falsely named Little Albert B. He once famously said,

“Give me a dozen infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, ability, vocations and race of his ancestors.”

So a nurse at John Hopkins University gave up her baby for experimentation at the price of one dollar.

Classic Condition theory is learning a behavior via the process of association. To conduct this experiment Little Albert was introduced to a number of furry animals, including a dog, a rabbit and a white rat. Little Albert showed no fear to any animals, in fact he took a liking towards the rat. These animals were then associated with the sound of hammer against steel, the loud noise had stimulated a fear inside Albert. Eventually Little Albert would start to crawl away from the animals and his fear deepened to the point of being scared of any furry objects, including fur coats and Santa Claus’ beard. The experiment was a half success but before being able to recondition Little Albert, removing his fears by by associating the animals with sweets, Albert was removed from the hospital, leaving the experiment incomplete.