Obi Arisukwu: Artist, Illustrator, Entrepreneur
Obi Arisukwu is a Nigerian-American illustrator known for his viral artwork and comic strips. Inspired by his love for cartoons, Obi picked up a pencil at young age and never looked back. Now living in L.A., Obi continues to use his artistic talent to spread joy and cheer on other creatives in and outside the world of art.
Q: You created an amazing tribute art piece on Kobe Bryant. His skill on the court was phenomenal but he also showed skill in the writing and production of his short animation, Dear Basketball. As a sports fan and also a talented animator, what did the life and success of Kobe on and off the court mean to you?
Obi: Kobe Bryant’s loss hurt me to my core. This was a phenom who’s entire NBA career had been a part of my life growing up. Kobe’s success on and off the court showed me that the “Mamba Mentality” he was known for didn’t just apply to sports. Outside of the NBA, Kobe, accepting that Academy Award for Best Animated Short broke a mindset I had within myself on the notion that someone who looked like me wouldn’t be able to create a widely accepted animated masterpiece. Kobe Bryant has made me more ambitious and I thank him for it.
Q: Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have built their businesses by leveraging their passions. How do you balance business and passion in a way that does not take away the joy of doing what you love?
Obi: If I’m creating something purely for the money or that I’m not invested in, then it feels like work, and I lose my passion to continue pursuing it. I haven’t lost my passion for creating art because I see it as mastering my craft, which I absolutely enjoy. Therefore, I make it a rule to choose a subject or a project I believe in that’ll have me eager to get better with each stroke of my pencil.