Paul Sika like Nana Kofi Acquah was one of the other more traditional artists at Maker Faire Africa in that he is also a photographer, although from Côte d’Ivoire. Of course, as is often the case things didn’t start out this way. He was studying software engineering in England when he found that he had a much stronger love of cinema after seeing a trailer for The Matrix on Tottenham Court Road in London. Realizing that finishing his degree was his best move, he started photography as a side hobby and so began his path towards “one frame” movie making.
In 2007, he moved back to Côte d’Ivoire and initially worked as a graphic designer for a company. He left to go work more in photography and advertising which then eventually led to his large exhibit in Abidjan last November which he showed a portion of at Maker Faire Africa.Charbon Fire series by Paul Sika
When asked what his influence was, he said that in the beginning, he didn’t have one. He took shots of most everything and had no real focus in doing so. Then he started letting his environment be more of a factor in his photos. For instance, his “Charbon Fire” photo series (one of which is pictured right) was inspired by a bag of coal he saw in the street. The “At The Heart of Me” photo series was inspired by a calendar. He says that due to not having a formal art education he escaped a good deal of the formatting that would have taken place if that had been the case. It’s interesting in talking to Paul as you get the feeling that his scientific background plays a huge part in how he approaches his art.
Paul has been featured on KanYe West’s website, Arise Magazine, the BBC, and has upcoming features in the next issues of Canoe Magazine and B.Spirit. For the future, he is looking to do licensing of his designs and form a fashion line. He also has a book of his photos coming out this year. But, I was curious as to his thoughts on how 21st century licensing is changing a great many things. With digital, anything we create is endlessly able to be reproduced. How can you make money in an environment like that? Paul brought up the fact that if you were painting cathedrals in the 16th century as an artist, then at some point your work went out of style and you had to change. In other words, it’s up to the artist to add some form of value or uniqueness to what they create in order to make a living through it.
You can view more about Paul and his work which has the tagline, “this is a valuable art piece” here.
Makers: Paul Sika