Meet Martins Lawrence Akande, Nigeria’s talented hyper realistic pencil artist

Martins Lawrence Akande, (L) says the image of the little girl (R) is “my all time favourite”. Photo credit: Akande

This is Africa recently featured the artwork of one of Nigeria’s most talented hyper realistic artists, Martins Lawrence Akande. Akande’s remarkable realistic pencil drawings continue to draw immense praise. In an exclusive interview with TiA, we find out more about the artist, and trace the journey he has traversed in his career.

Martins Lawrence Akande (teenezmartinez) is a passionate and refined artist with a natural talent in portraiture who doubles up as an accountant. Born in northern Nigeria, in Maiduguri, Akande has developed into one of the finest hyper realistic artists in Nigeria.

Currently based in Abuja, Akande’s artwork has been described as amazing, breath-taking, and beautiful, amongst other positive reviews.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Akande to find about his background and artwork.

TiA: How and when did you get into art, how did it all start?

Martins Lawrence Akande (MLA): I got into Art as far back when I was little, about 7 years old at the time. I’ve always loved to sketch or make comic drawings. Now taking me back to memory lane. I remember I was sitting in the classroom in my junior year when a friend showed me a comic book, which he made. He drew all the characters, I liked it and I thought to myself I could do same, I got home picked up a Mickey Mouse magazine, which I had and started sketching the characters in there. It was my favourite at the time.

Were you always into art? How long have you been drawing?

MLA: I’ve always loved Art but took it more seriously after I graduated from the University. I have been drawing like forever and I have always been an Artist.

I found out that you are also an Accountant, where did you study?

MLA: Yes I am an Accountant, I studied Accounting in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna Nigeria.

Where has your work been featured?

MLA: I’ve had the opportunity to have my works featured in Oxford (2014 and 2015), Art In America (The world most comprehensive Art reference print publication in existence) 2015 Edition, Spectrum Miami during Art Basel 2015, Art Expo New York 2015, World Art Dubai 2015,  Architectural Digest Design Show 2015 New York, and Art UpClose.

How was that experience for you?

MLA: It’s an amazing experience and I’m honoured to have such features and level of exposure in the Art world.


How would you describe your style?

MLA: In a simple word, it’s a hyperrealistic Charcoal Portraits.

Why did you choose this particular form/style of art?

MLA: I have always loved charcoal as a medium because of its natural feel, this is the major reason why I chose this style or form of Art.

How long does it normally take you to draw and finish working on a drawing?

MLA: Depending on the project I am working on, a portrait could take minimum of 100 hours or more. Some could go for weeks or even months before completion.

Where do get your inspiration and how do you decide on what to draw?

MLA: I find inspiration in anything beautiful and natural, it gets my imagination working. I decide on what to draw when I connect with a particular subject I.e. when not working on a commissioned project.


There is a lot more attention being paid to African and African inspired art across the globe. How has your work been received locally (in Nigeria) and across Africa?

MLA: That is absolutely correct, a lot more attention is being paid to African and African Inspired Art across the globe. As we know in Nigeria and across Africa we are still in the early stages and at the same time I must say it has been well received.

What are some of the challenges you have faced doing your work?

MLA: The most challenge will be irregular scheduling and secondly is building a reputation while keeping up with clients demands.

What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the near future?

MLA: I am currently working on commissioned projects and a New Session for a One on One meeting with Artists who are still in their early stages in their journey to help solve areas of difficulties while pursuing the artistic dreams or careers. In the near future I will be holding series of Art events, Solo shows and more hopefully. One at a time.

For more update and recent pieces you can follow Akande on Instagram

You can also visit his blog

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