Arts·Q&A

Ekow Nimako made our September logo using 250 pieces of Lego — talk about brand building!

See the Lego artist's spin on the CBC Arts logo. Plus, preview his Nuit Blanche Toronto collaboration with Director X.

Plus, preview his Nuit Blanche Toronto collaboration with Director X

The CBC Arts lego. Er, logo. (Ekow Nimako)

Well, it's September — and here we are, already looking forward to the end of the month because Nuit Blanche Toronto returns September 29.

Ekow Nimako — the artist behind our latest profile pic — will reveal a new project as part of the fest's Scarborough lineup. And this time around, he's playing Legos with a buddy (metaphorically speaking, anyway). Nimako's teamed up with Director X for the event, and they'll bring a project called "Cavalier Noir" to Scarborough Civic Centre. The fact that this year's programming extends beyond Toronto's core has some extra special appeal for the artist. "I lived in Malvern for most of my life," he says. "So I'm forever a Scarbarian!" 

Here, he shares a few details about the project — plus a bit of about his LEGO logo for CBC Arts. To build one of your own, you'll need about 250 bricks — and sorry, not sorry, but ID'ing the best blocks for the job is entirely up to you. Still, Nimako was willing to offer a few tips to get you started. Just read on.

Name: Ekow Nimako

Age: 39

Homebase: Toronto

Let's talk about that design! What inspired your take on the CBC Arts logo? 

I've always felt my burgeoning career has been supported by CBC, particularly CBC Arts, so I was happy to contribute.

The three-dimensionality of my sculpture is hard to see in the photo, but when looked upon from an oblique angle the logo actually looks like a miniature futuristic temple with the text resembling some nearby buildings perhaps. Very architectural and very cyberpunk.

In 3D! (Ekow Nimako)

What's inspiring your art these days? 

Cartoons have always been my primary source of inspiration since childhood. Avatar: The Last Airbender has recently become my favourite. The storytelling and character growth are unlike any syndicated cartoon I've watched before. I'm also heavily influenced by music — from Sway Clarke to Little Dragon — and most importantly by the experiences and stories of the Black diaspora.

(Instagram/@ekownimako)

Who's the last artist you discovered online? 

Ajay Ink (@ajay_ink) is a dope illustrator from Miami I've been following lately. Too many amazing artists in my feed to mention, though! 

What's your favourite place to see art? 

I like the stark atmosphere of large semi-industrial galleries, but only when they have few people around. For public art spectacles, crowds make things fun and exciting, but to really digest art one needs the quiet and space to reflect.

What's the art project you're most proud of? 

I was commissioned to make some shoes for Adidas this summer that have been very well received, though the sculpture I'm currently working on for Nuit Blanche 2018 will be my seminal masterpiece.

((Photo: Janick Laurent) Instagram/@ekownimako)

We're excited to see your contribution to this year's Nuit Blanche! Tell us a little about your project, "Cavalier Noir."

"Cavalier Noir" is a monument to the underrepresented narrative of Black mythology. It will feature a young child warrior astride a gallant Black unicorn, and frankly it's the sort of monument this country needs, opposed to the usual equestrian "hero" sculpture we see with severely problematic colonial baggage. 

How are you collaborating with Director X?

X thinks big. Umbereen Inayet [artistic producer, Nuit Blance Toronto] put us together because we'd both separately been interested in changing the landscape of civic monuments. He helped me expand my ideas. I like his vision.

((Photo: Janick Laurent) Instagram/@ekownimako)

Any other new projects on the go that you'd like to mention? Where can we see more from you? 

I have some grand projects up my sleeve, but I have to keep them hushed for now.

Instagram gets all my newest project pics (@ekownimako) — and occasionally I post videos of me spinning a bo staff around, too.

Any tips for folks thinking of having a go at making their own Lego logo at home? 

The CBC logo is unique. The gem is symmetrical with several curves, so make sure you have the right parts to choose from. The last thing you want is for the finished sculpture to not look quite finished.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

((Photo: Janick Laurent) Instagram/@ekownimako)

Every month, we feature a new take on the CBC Arts logo created by a Canadian artist. Check out more Q&As with our past contributors.