Born and raised amidst the dynamic streets of Tema, Derick discovered his extraordinary talent by transforming mundane materials like empty boxes and tins into intricate masterpieces. Derick possesses a unique ability to transcribe the essence and ambiance of any space onto canvases that range from traditional walls to unconventional surfaces like ceilings and floors.
What sets Derick apart is not just his artistic prowess but the organic evolution of his expertise. For a self-taught artist, his dedication and passion have been the driving forces shaping his distinctive artistic pieces.
For Derick Nana Mbrah, every stroke on a blank canvas is an infusion of beauty and life's meaning, thereby immortalizing a piece of himself in his creations.
In the heart of the bustling Greenwich Meridian, nestled within the vibrant harbor and industrious city of Ghana, a momentous event unfolded on Wednesday, 30th September 1981—the birth of a child, a son bestowed upon the world. My name is Derick Nana Mbrah, a self-taught artist, a product of the dynamic center of the world, Tema, situated in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.
Growing up amidst the hustle and bustle of the industrial city of Ghana, where the very air resonates with ceaseless activity, I discovered and cultivated my inherent artistic gift. From an early age, I recognized my creative prowess, learning from the skilled individuals who surrounded me. My journey began with a hands-on approach, immersing myself in diverse crafts—from basket weaving and carpentry to masonry and painting.
Solitude was my sanctuary, and in those quiet moments, I thrived, transforming empty boxes and tin cans into intricate houses, cars, and cooking utensils. Even indoors, my energy found its outlet in drawing, prompting me to embark on a personal quest to master the art of visual expression.
My affinity for colors and paint exploded into a passion, bringing me immense joy and a constant impetus to create. The very aroma of paint became a source of inspiration, compelling me to engage in artistic pursuits ceaselessly.
Drawing inspiration from newspapers, Bible storybooks, and school textbooks, I challenged myself to refine my skills whenever the opportunity presented itself. In the academic realm, I was entrusted with the task of translating textbook images onto cardboard, serving as educational aids for not only my class but also others—a responsibility that profoundly influenced my artistic journey.
Determination has been my compass, guiding me through focused meditation and unwavering commitment. As each day unfolds, I express gratitude for life, offering prayers for love, mercy, wisdom, and understanding.
The marvel of life excites me each morning—the chirping of birds, the crowing of roosters, the hum of activity as people commence their day, the symphony of conversations, the rhythmic sounds of vehicles and planes, and the radiant sun filtering through my window. These elements converge to form a rich tapestry of inspiration, fueling my aspirations and fostering creativity.
Having traversed the realms of observation, experience, and conquest, my mission materialized—to inspire, elevate, motivate, and impart understanding to people across the globe through my artworks. In this endeavor, my art not only beautifies homes and surroundings but also contributes to the healing process.
My artistic collecton encompasses a diverse array—murals, hand-painted clothing, canvas works with both acrylics and oil paints, ceiling art, contemporary art, body painting, portraits, and abstract creations. I am a vessel of evolution, manifesting and materializing my imagination into reality. Art, in its myriad forms, has been my compass, helping me define my identity, understand my intrinsic value, and discern my role on this terrestrial stage.
Engaging in artistic expression has become more than a mere pastime; it is a profound therapy, a language through which I articulate my emotions, and a medium through which I connect with the world. Thus, I stand as a testament to the transformative power of art, ready to share its healing embrace with the global community.
Interview segment with Derick
Q1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist?
My name is Derick Nana Mbrah, I was born and bred in the center of the world, Tema to be precise, in the greater Accra region of Ghana. Growing up in the industrial city of Ghana where everything is environmentally busy, I found and nurtured my God-given gift of art.
At a very tender age, I discovered my ability to creatively learn from skilled people. I found myself practically doing every handy work, so with time I took it upon myself to master the skill of art.
I have a passion for paint and colors. It makes me happy and pushes me to do something.
As a youth I found myself drawing from newspapers, bible storybooks, and school textbooks. While in school, teachers usually made me draw items from textbooks onto cardboard that they used to teach in the classrooms. I created houses, cars, and other items out of empty boxes and tins but besides all this, I spent the most time being by myself alone in the room drawing and coloring. I sometimes go to the cinema center to draw from the movie posters.
I challenged myself to be good at what I can do. Any moment I get the chance, I pour out my best, and that has created a big influence in my life.
Q2. Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get into the creative mindset?
I am determined in what I do so I stay focused and meditate as I rise, and I give thanks for life, pray for love and mercy, and ask for wisdom and understanding.
I admire life so I get excited when I wake up and hear the birds chipping and the cocks’ crow. I also hear nature and people moving. These sounds bring the sun shining through my windows and all these contribute to my inspiration, fulfill my aspirations, and bring out the creativity in me.
Q3. What does your art entail and how would you describe its style?
My artwork embodies the essence of contemporary art, skillfully interwoven with a touch of abstraction. The deliberate fusion of these two styles not only defines the uniqueness and authenticity of my work but also elevates it to an outstanding level. This harmonious blend serves as a distinctive trademark for my artistic expression, establishing a recognizable and individualized identity within the realm of contemporary and abstract art.
Title: What Has Been Hidden
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Q4. How do you approach the concept of imagination/abstraction in your artwork?
I continually undergo personal growth, engage in meditative practices, manifest my thoughts, and skillfully transform my imaginative concepts into tangible forms, whether it be through the medium of canvas or by adorning walls with my creative expressions.
Q5. Do you have a favorite piece or project that you've worked on?
My Favorite piece of artwork is titled What Has Been Hidden.
It has been said that what has been hidden from the wise and prudent is revealed unto the infants and sucklings. This profound statement prompts contemplation on revelations occurring in the minds of infants, who are mere babies. In essence, it suggests that the acquisition of knowledge is not explicitly taught but somehow learned.
Reflecting on my personal experiences, I find resonance with this concept, as numerous instances in my life seem to align with this notion. Particularly during my adolescence, around the age of 14, I encountered situations where insights and occurrences were unveiled to me.
Recollections of these events include moments when I felt a surge of energy within me, accompanied by vivid visions, signs, and a deep understanding of past, present, and future matters. Driven by this profound experience, I took an unconventional turn in my routine. One morning, compelled by an inner compulsion, I began sketching a piece that was previously absent from my regular activities.
Intriguingly, the artwork evolved organically, revealing symbols such as "Gye Nyame," meaning "accept God" in the Akan language, alongside other Adinkra symbols. Each symbol emanated a unique vibe and energy, creating a compelling and intense atmosphere around the artwork. The strength of this inspiration was so palpable that I had to interrupt my thought process, taking a step back to relax and recalibrate through a cool shower.
Despite returning to my daily routine, the magnetic pull of this artistic endeavor persisted. Over two months, I dedicated time to refining and enhancing the piece, continuously adjusting and contemplating how to align it with the frequency it needed to attain.
Coincidentally, the creative energy resurfaced on one of my regular days, diverting my attention from other tasks. Without premeditation, I found myself in front of the artwork, channeling the energy into the art with an unprecedented focus and intensity.
Q6. How did you stay motivated and passionate about your art?
All my life I have been doing art for loved ones, friends, and families, and for fun or cash. Because of my creative ability, I channeled my energy into art, seeing myself as a work of art, I found beauty in everyday life.
I obligated myself to bring peace, joy, togetherness, harmony, tranquillity, and healing wherever I go in the four corners of the world.
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Q7. Have you ever experienced a major artistic breakthrough or turning point?
Yes, every day seems to be a breakthrough mostly when something is accomplished, but in all, as the days are not equal, sometimes things don’t go as planned, so I just relax and say to myself "It is not over until it is over". So with persistence, I keep trying until I prevail, and I laugh the last laugh when I get a good deal.
Q8. What role do you think art plays in society?
Art is one of the most significant forms of education and preservation of history and culture in our societies.
In its role as an educational instrument, art possesses a unique ability to engage, inspire, and challenge individuals to explore diverse perspectives and ideas. It catalyzes critical thinking, encouraging the development of analytical skills and the cultivation of a nuanced worldview. Artistic expressions, whether visual, auditory, or performative, become compelling narratives that transcend the constraints of traditional education, offering profound lessons about the evolution of societies, the triumphs and tribulations of humanity, and the enduring threads that connect us across time and space.
Q9. How do you feel when someone connects with your artwork on a personal level?
Establishing a telepathic connection through my artistic expressions constitutes a profoundly impactful and meaningful manifestation, embodying the very essence of accomplishment in my creative journey. This unique form of connection, transcending conventional communication, is a testament to the profound resonance and depth inherent in my artistry. It signifies a profound achievement, as the intricate threads of thought and emotion seamlessly interweave with the strokes of my creativity, forging a bond that transcends the boundaries of traditional expression. This telepathic link underscores the transformative power of art, elevating its significance to a realm where connection becomes a profound and visceral experience, enriching both the creator and the audience alike.
Title: Unseen Eyes
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Derick’s work is characterized by its energy and exuberance. He is not afraid to experiment with different techniques and materials, and his paintings are full of life and movement. His portraits are particularly striking, capturing the unique personalities of his subjects with insight and empathy.
In addition to his portraiture, Derick is also a gifted abstract artist. His abstract paintings are full of vibrant colors and shapes, and they often evoke a sense of mystery and wonder. He believes that art should be able to transport the viewer to another world, and his abstract paintings do just that.
Derick is a true original, a force of nature in the art world and his work continues to challenge and inspire artists and collectors today.
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