Mirabelle Morah

The Hurly Burly Life of the Creative Lagosian Designer

Here Comes the Artsy Evolution of Odion Tobi and His Designs

  • Title: Here Comes the Artsy Evolution of Odion Tobi and His Designs
  • Interviewed by: Mirabelle Morah
  • Originally published on BlankPaperz

I’m Odion Tobi a designer and art director from Edo State. Arts for me has been my goal since day one. I felt like I used to draw in my mother’s belly, long story short.

THIS IS MY STORY

I grew up in the city of Lagos, the hurly burly lifestyle can be really annoying but it inspires me each day. Growing up wasn’t easy because I was raised by a single parent, my mother. She is one of my biggest motivations for choosing design and arts as a career path. I never saw myself becoming a visual designer or art director at first, I wanted to be a professional traditional artist, but I got lazy and there were little funds to go to the University to study arts. But when there’s God, there’s always a way.

“Yes, indeed! It was quite difficult, but I didn’t let the hindrance of not going to the University stop my hunger for success. I had to look for other means to ignite my creative self and glory me! There came the internet. I got my first laptop courtesy of my long gone dad who came back at that time and went back again (Life is funny). Opening the laptop for the first time was exciting and when I got past the laptop boot stage into the main screen, I was confused, come on! What do you expect from somebody that wasn’t taught the theoretical part of a computer in secondary school? I really didn’t know what to do with a computer, all I knew was it has exciting games in it. I began to source for games on the internet when I got to the cyber cafe, and boy o boy! I Played day and night, but there was something exciting about these games. I felt like I belonged there, not in the game, but in the arts of the game.

“I just wanted to do it, understand the art side. And there came my friend who’s now dead, we had a little misunderstanding and he was like, “I don’t know how to use a computer and all I do is play games, have I heard of Photoshop or DESIGN Software, bla, bla, bla.” I wasn’t upset by all he said instead I paid attention to him throw tantrums. I didn’t waste time; there I was in the market searching for the software he mentioned for designing. I got Photoshop and CorelDraw at that time. Installed it, opened it and it all looked like a strange thing to me, my mind was running marathons. But I felt like ‘this is what you always wanted to do figure it out.’

“Then I started searching on google, keywords like ‘how to use Photoshop,’ there weren’t much tuts back then but I got some and took numerous courses online, ranging from advertising, copywriting, psychology and design, and that was how I started. I began posting my boring works back then and I opened a group on Facebook called Photoshop gurus which currently has 18k members. I got my first job at xtreme cr8tivity thanks to the internet. I worked on their briefs for clients such as Sterling Bank, First Bank, Union Bank, Adron Homes e.t.c.”

DON’T YOU THINK I HAD IT GOING SMOOTHLY WITHOUT ANY CHALLENGES? MAYBE NOT.

“It was challenging working there because I had to prototype our design concepts, that meant I had to make our imagination come to life. I had to evolve from 2D and manipulations into 3D, due to the aforementioned reason. I did evolve, I learnt some 3D software such as 3dsmax, before settling with cinema 4D. I started prototyping products there. When I was 20, I won the logo design contest for African Voices and it was a positive vibe for me because I was like, damn! I must learn more. I started learning and now at 23, which I’ll be 24 by November 14. I am building a community called the IDEATORS to help creatives like myself grow more.

“My passion for arts hasn’t dried up as I want to major in the advertising and motion part of arts or art direction. I recently quit my job at Imaginarium NG to pursue my dreams as a community manager and founder of the IDEATORS, which is growing fast amongst creatives in Nigeria and also my small startup agency (can’t disclose name yet) which is into branding and advertising using the new media. The style of work we will want to implement in the agency is inspired by international studios like Plenty.tv, Serial Cut, Future Deluxe, Lippincott, Illusion CGI and six n five.”

ME AND MY AWARDS, YOU AND MY ADVISE.

“I hope to bring home the Cannes Lions Award, amongst many other achievements in Jesus’ name. You can learn anything and be anything with God, hard work, devout studies, and mad faith. I hate when people say ‘this is too hard to learn.’ Just believe, keep going, I’m on the process. So be on the process too. It will happen big!”

Here are links to my social media:
Instagram
Ello
Behance
Facebook

Rexposters didn’t have a laptop too before designing some of Nollywood’s best poster designsThey thought Blessing Sam wasn’t capable enough to host her own TV show, and here are 19 golden lessons from being a 19 year oldDo you also know how to say NO without feeling guilty? You can read these and more.

Similar works

Russian research fellow Pavel Koshkin shares his perspective on US-Russia relations and how to curb fake news

The Need for Critical Thinking and Co-operation

Russian research fellow Pavel Koshkin shares his perspective on US-Russia relations and how to curb fake news
Documentary Filmmaker Azza Cohen speaking at Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA)

Using Film and Photos to Understand Complex Issues

My interview with American Documentary filmmaker Azza Cohen as she discusses the power of visual storytelling
Jing Xu of Peking University at Salzburg Global Seminar

The Art of Dialogue and International Exchange

My interview with the vice director of the Communication and Culture Research Center at Peking University China, Jing Xu