Q1: Tell us a little about yourself, what are you up to at the moment?
I am Eric Takukam. Digital artist based in Cameroon. I would begin by expressing my gratitude to the CIEDA team who gave me this great opportunity to show my artwork and win this competition.
Q2: Does the place you live or are from inspire you in your work or life and if so how?
Yes indeed. My work is to bring my village's culture and values to the town. Born in the rural area and educated in the city, i call myself “THE VILLADIN” (That's a word i create in French language to describe a villager like me living in the civilized world). My village as others, in the Grassfields in Cameroon, has a very powerful and incredible culture, spirituality and lifestyle. The Bamileke's elephant mask which is one of our cultural symbol, is what i use to create my characters with. My backgrounds are often surrounded with my rural elements.
Q3: What was your earliest ambition?
Eric: I have always wanted to be an artist!
Q4: Have you fulfilled it?
Eric: Since 2020 i'am just doing that.
Q5: Ambition, Luck or Talent? What matters most in the creative world?
Eric: I think every one of them has an important place, but I would say that a clear ambition added to talent attract luck when the opposite is very rare.
Q6: What would you like to achieve that you haven’t been able to yet?
Eric: Launch my NFTs collections, have exhibitions of international class, create a school of digital art in my country to train young people.
Q7: Who is your creative inspiration or mentor?
Eric: Keith Haring
and the South African Esther Mahlangu
really inspired me. As a self-made artist, I don't yet have a chance to have a mentor.
Q8: Do you have a favourite design or artistic movement? Why?
Eric: I have interest in Contemporary art in general. Here the freedom to express oneself is limitless.
Q9: What style or technique in art and design makes you feel the happiest/or feel good?
Eric: I like using lines in my works. I have great times when putting strokes on paper or my graphic tablet. Sometimes, my works would be just in black and white with only lines. Hand drawing and digital art is definitely my best way to go. With digital works, i have fun, i can add, remove, and change elements and colors, modify sizes at my will without wasting any material.
Q10: How did you hear about the Huluku Competition?
Eric: I was on Zealous to participate to another contest when I see the Huluku competition.
Q11: How did you get inspired to create your artwork for the competition?
Eric: At the time i discovered the competition, I was creating a series of artworks for my next exhibition and many of them were just what the contest was looking for. “Autour du feu”, the piece send is inspired by the sharing spirit from my village. When we were kids, all women cooking in the village would share their food with every person around. Even when the food was still on the fire, they would beg the stranger to wait and eat before moving. Usually the fire would be crowded by people of all ages waiting to the food, when listing to the news from the national radio or a story of the WWII by an elder man.
Q12: Were the themes of inclusion, diversity and authentic representation something you were familiar working with prior to the competition?
Eric: Yes. As I say above, since I decided to be a full-time artist, my goal is to show the world the authenticity of Bamileke's culture with its values (the spirit of helping others, sharing, living together, caring about the environment...). With the final goal to maintain the grassfield's cultural heritage alive and contributing to bring change for a better world.
Q13: Are you planning on building the concepts you incorporated into your entry into more of your work? If so, how?
Eric: Yeah, this is just a continuation. Globalisation and modernism have good and bad sides. To be in balance, every person of any color, beliefs, education, etc. has to keep some level of authenticity.
I often quote “ We can open up to others, fully experience modernity and enjoy progress of our time without forgetting our authentic roots “ This is what is seen in my works. A mix of authentic African culture and modern lifestyle. My 2023 exhibitions, with Augmented Reality, will focus on African heritage in a modern world.