Delve into the wonderful work of Linda Nwachukwu inspired by her body, her experiences and her fantasies

The London-based illustrator talks us through her highly distinctive visual style and the ideas they express. From her relationship with sex to “a selfish desire” to be loved in the same way as flowers.

Date
18 February 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

When we first came across Linda Nwachukwu’s mesmerising illustrations, it’s safe to say that we were, in one word, gobsmacked. Her glistening works are highly stylised yet wholly recognisable with their powerful line work. Her depiction of black female bodies is empowering and imaginative and all-in-all, her work is just fantastic. Born and raised in Barcelona, Linda is currently based in north London where she is developing her distinctive creative practice.

She tells It’s Nice That of her work, which has recently been featured on an Everpress tee: “I don’t remember a time where drawing wasn’t a part of my routine.” Self-described as a “very calm” child, back in the Catalan capital, Linda’s childhood revived around going to school, getting home where she was able to sketch, and watching TV. The influence of cartoons is apparent in the boldness of her characters and well-defined skin tones. Large glassy eyes and pouty lips are a signature feature in her striking illustrations, and whether she chooses to paint by hand or digitally, contrast is always a key feature.

“I tend to exaggerate reality,” says Linda of her style, “using bright colours, thick lines and round shapes in all my pieces.” Her use of bright neon colours gives the illustrative forms a contemporary lift. And while some of Linda’s depictions are observation-based, others are surreal. All of them, however, are coated in glamour as reflective glimmers bounce off the silky smooth skin.

Above

Linda Nwachukwu

When it comes to her influences, anime and telenovelas have served a “huge impact” on Linda’s portfolio of work. “But at the moment,” she continues, “what inspires my work the most, is me. My body, experiences, fantasies and fears are the main topics of all my recent projects.” In EH!, Linda exhibited a series of illustrations for the Alternative Graduation Show last year (the alternative graduation show is pretty much what is says on the tin). The artwork resembles two versions of herself playing the children’s game Hide and Seek. Linda further explains on the composition: “One of them is confident and in a rush to this other version of me, who is damaged and repressed.”

In another illustration, Una Moto, the artist, who is of Congolese and Nigerian descent, delves into her relations with sex, “particularly with cis straight men,” adds Linda. “I chose to depict myself as a bike because they’re cool and they accurately represent how I felt during most of my sexual encounters since I was a teen.” Alternatively, in Una Flor, made for her latest T-shirt collaboration with Everpress, Linda likens herself to a flower. “This piece is a representation of the selfish desire to be loved in the same way that flowers are,” explains the illustrator. “There’s no reciprocity, we love flowers but they don’t love us back, they just look pretty. I always try to speak for me, but I think we all wanna be loved like that sometimes.”

Markedly self-reflective, Linda’s works are artistic expressions from deep within. Continuing to develop her work both conceptually and stylistically, looking to the future, Linda has bright hopes. “I want to look back and know that I made an impact similar to Walt Disney’s, but on black people. That would be fulfilling and cute.” Existing at the intersection of fun and important conversations, Linda’s works fills a powerful space. And one that is certainly very enjoyable for all its viewers.

GalleryLinda Nwachukwu

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.

jo@itsnicethat.com

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