Thursday, 14 April 2016


Fashion illustration as an art is yet to gain a wind ground in Africa. The delicacy of fashion interpretation is just as the affair between the pen of a poet and his heart. Fashion interpreters like Megan Hess, Hayden Williams (my all time favorite), Paul Keng among other brilliant illustrations have flooded the international fashion industry with breath taking fashion illustrations, stories and visions.
Africa is still a young bride in the international fashion industry and her initiation is moving at very impressive paces as  designer create pieces that speak more about the inner spirit of the continent, expressing also the depth of her riches than a mere imitation of that which we see beyond our shore. Christie Brown, Deola Sagoe, Weiz Drum Fraklin, Orange Culture, Wanna Sambo, Twenty six, Sisiano Paolo are designer fast drilling into the fashion industry. Fashion illustrators from  Africa are too becoming known and carving a niche for themselves. Papa Oppong is one of those who have made international name for himself in the Fashion world.

It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic, by fashion.-Yves Saint Laurent

“Inking is meditation in liquid form...” 

Papa Oppong (Born Papa Oppong Bediako) is a 22 year old fashion studentborn and raised in Ghana – West Africa. He is mostly known for his amazing fashion sketches and decided to take his love for fashion and art and turn it into a career. In an interview with Omoge Mura, Oppong affirmed, “I never really considered myself an artist to be honest. I knew I loved fashion and the runway and how graceful a woman looked on the catwalk and I loved interpreting that on my paper. Basically I have always loved the idea of creating my own “ideal woman” and then dressing up this “ideal woman” my own way. I watched a lot of runway shows and followed many designers’ stories as time went by and this helped me with my own creations.

About his illustration, he states that Papa Oppong is all about the fusion of art and fashion. I’m a very simple person on the outside but the real madness happens inside my head. I like to think of myself as a poet and a storyteller. In my mind there are so many stories waiting to be told and the only way I know how is through the collections I create. “Art-chic” –my ideal muse; the modern woman who is fearless and willing to take bold fashion risks- like an art piece that seeks to provoke. For an artist to remain relevant, he must be questioned constantly.

“There is no line between fine art and illustration; there is no high or low art; there is only art, and it comes in many forms.” 
― James GurneyImaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” 
― Aristotle

“Art is the reflection of pure emotion and mind, the nature of sensation. An artist illustrates that.” 
― Unarine Ramaru

“Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.” 
― Oscar Wilde
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” 
― Pablo Picasso

“An illustration that does not complement a story, in the end, will become but a false idol. Since we cannot possibly believe in an absent story, we will naturally begin believing in the picture itself.” 
― Orhan PamukMy Name is Red

It's just as nuanced. Everything that goes into it is a call you make: every color, every line weight, every angle. Charles M. Blow