My name is Nando Nkrumah, an artist and designer from Cologne, Germany. I am currently working on designing jewellery that is manufactured with 3D printing technology. I also enjoy painting and photography as a regular source of inspiration.
What inspired you to become an artist?
In school I spent a lot of time filling my exercise books with drawings. My mother painted on sculptures and worked as a visual merchandiser, so working as an artist or designer became a possible future prospect. I felt that through art, I could discover more about myself and the world around me.
I see the creative process as a conversation, first it is about your own ideas, but then you see that many others share the same experiences and are walking on the same path.
As a creative of African descent, what do you feel your role in society is?
I follow my intuition when I start my work. Especially in the first years of my life as an artist I felt it very rewarding to research and reinterpret Ghanaian symbols, proverbs and patterns in an artistic way. The Akan culture is still one of the fundamental themes in my recent work.
Although I was born in Ghana, I am living and working in Europe, so I am surrounded by additional sources of inspiration. The media in Europe often excludes the continent “Africa” instead choosing to report about crime, war and deceases when it comes to positive depictions of the motherland.
It therefore feels very important to me to take African art and bring it into the future. This means my intention is directly connected with the Akan philosophy of “Sankofa”, what means to go back and take something from the past to create a better future.
The future is something I love to explore. Imagine African spaceships in the sky and a planet in world peace – everything is possible when we can imagine it! Even if these are just pictures, sculptures or films, it will still have a strong impact in the perceptions of the society.
Your work combines both traditional and modern themes, can you speak some more about why you chose this route?
I was born in Kumasi (Ghana) and although if I have lived most of my time in Germany I feel very connected with this place. I am very impressed by the level of craftsmanship and the wisdom of many people that I have met there.
In contrast, Germany has taught me many things about technology, industrial design and organisation. So for me it feels natural to bring both worlds together.
Inspiration: who/what are you listening to/reading/watching right now?
At the moment I am watching my children growing up and that teaches me a lot. The questions they have about the world which they are discovering are very simple but still profound, so to give them suitable answers does often mean to rethink many things.
I am also into Yoga which is also a good way to get a bit closer to the place where we can unfold our full potential.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an artist?
The biggest challenge is finding subject of substance that are paid well. I am not sure why, but in this world of today the positive things not things that make money. One of my visions is to create an Afro Futuristic science fiction film, and to find suitable funding for that is like the search of the Holy Grail!
Any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Follow your intuition and don’t listen to people who are telling you that something cannot work. Usually these people say that because they are too afraid of following their own heart, because that would lead them to an undiscovered route.
Be kind to other people and don’t try to do too much out of intention. Think positive and you will see that your environment will reflect your attitude and the right things happen at the right time.
What’s next for you?
At the moment I am working in the field of transportation design. Designing Akan spaceships will be a good subject for this year.
Besides that I am working on new jewellery designs and I plan an exhibition of my paintings that I have done last year.
You can see more of Nando’s paintings and jewellry on his website. You can also connect with him via Facebook and he also has some really great 3D Work too!