Zoom on the creative process of Kouka Ntadi

Can you remind us who you are and your artistic practice?

My name is Kouka Ntadi, I am a visual artist. My medium of choice is painting, which I practice as much in the public space directly on the walls, as in the studio on various supports.

What is your background, how did you start creating?

My first artistic experience took place in 1994 when I discovered the Hip Hop culture. I started to practice rap and graffiti in an unconditional way because the values defended by this movement at the time corresponded completely to what I was looking for. That is to say a framework which allowed me to express my singularity in all freedom, within a group carried by common values of respect and transmission.

After training as an advertising decorator, I entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts. It is only in 2008, during a return to Sub-Saharan Africa that my passion for graffiti was confronted with the lack of material and financial means. I finally adapted my practice to this new context by making my own tools, by reducing my colors to the simple use of black and white and by working on recycled materials. Finally, this new context allowed me to orient my painting towards values that I have always defended: sobriety, respect for nature and the transmission of a more humanistic narrative.

In your daily work as an artist, what inspires you? What is the trigger for the creation of a work?

Even if current events are often the starting point for my work, I always try to create works that retain a timeless dimension and that can be read by everyone. I also draw a lot of inspiration from popular myths and all kinds of images that cross centuries and cultures.

Can you explain to us the way you build a work? What are the different stages of creation?

The first step in my work is to look for an image or a word that will resonate with the final context of the work. Then, I spend a lot of time preparing my support when it is a work in the studio or to locate the place of intervention when it is an outside wall. Finally, the realization phase must be executed in a lively and instantaneous way in an economy of gesture and material in order to preserve a maximum of spontaneity in the final result. The goal is to get away as much as possible from a clean and sanitized image in order to emphasize the gesture and the energy of the moment.

Follow Kouka on Instagram and find here the book “The Book of Bantu” available on Fluctuart’s online shop.