How Laolu Sebanjo Abandoned Law To Become A World Famous Visual Artist

Posted on September 12 2017 , at 03:49 pm
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  • His Afromysterics line has worked with Beyonce and Nike.

‘Although I went on to study law at Nigeria’s University of Ilorin, my first love remained art. I’d stay up all night using charcoal to sketch intricate patterns and images. During my second year of law school I reached my tipping point and told my parents I was going to drop out of law school to pursue art full-time.’

Beyonce’s favourite artist Laolu Sebanjo shared his inspirational story with 99u.com, an online publication for artists and creative practitioners. As the son of a lawyer, it was expected from his family that he would study law and follow his father’s footsteps. But he knew that was what he wanted and almost dropped out of university in his second year.

‘During my second year of law school I reached my tipping point and told my parents I was going to drop out of law school to pursue art full-time,’ he said. My father completely flipped out, and his friends, my uncles, and my brother met with me to provide counsel. “What’s wrong with you? You have an opportunity to be a lawyer. Finish three more years, and you’ll be out before you know. You can always have art as backup. You’ll thank us,” they said. My brother added, “If you drop out, I won’t support you when we’re older.” My mother pleaded, “Please don’t destroy my family!” He eventually managed to finish school, work three years at National Human Rights Commission before following his passion.

On working with Beyonce:

‘I was surprised when Beyoncé’s team contacted me, but at the same time I wasn’t. What I do, very few people can. When they called, I was hired on the spot, and there was no recommendation, interview, trial run or anything. They found me through social media, and checked all my stuff on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to be sure I was actually the guy doing what I was doing.’

Read the full interview here.

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