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09 Oct 2019

Interview: In Conversation with Temi Coker

Featured artwork by Temi Coker

We chatted with Dallas-based photographer and graphic designer Temi Coker about the advantages of being a multidisciplinary artist, the top tools to work with and how he gives his work a creative edge:

Tell us a bit about your work and what you do:

I am a photographer & graphic designer based in Dallas, Texas. I run COKER STUDIO with my wife, Afritina Coker. Coker Studio is a multidisciplinary creative house specializing in photography, design and art direction. I’m a teacher at heart and love showing the creative community how I work and how they can find their voice through the work they do. I also run a shop filled with posters I make for my “A POSTER A DAY” series. 

From starting out as a photographer, to eventually working with graphic design as well, can you tell us a bit about what prompted you to explore this other creative field? 

I’m very observant and back in college I’d see Ads and was always curious how they were made. I remember seeing an Ad where the text was behind the subject and I was so intrigued by that as well as their play with colors and placement. I felt if I had graphic design in my arsenal it’d help me have a better chance of getting work or negotiating salary when talking with companies. I wanted to be the person that’d tell the employer “I can do photography and design. I’m a multidisciplinary creative. You should hire me.” 

Contrast seems to be a recurring theme in your work: from black and white tones paired with bright colors, to photographed portraits surrounded by surreal illustrations. Is there a reason you’re drawn to these juxtapositions?

I come from a very cultural background. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. My dad is Yoruba and my mom is Igara. Both cultures have vibrant colors, patterns and different styles. I love these things about my culture and I wanted to bring into the work I do. I also love using black and white Images to help make the colors stand out. I want to use color to bring focus to the subjects.

As a digital artist, is there a software or tool that you always rely on, or one that you’re eager to try out?

I’m a big fan of Photoshop and Illustrator. I don’t go a day without opening or using either software. Adobe products have played a huge part in my growth as a creative. They give us the tools and it’s up to us to learn how to use it in conventional and unconventional ways to creative unique work.

Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

I’m inspired by Magdiel Lopez, Joshua Kissi, Ray Neutron, Slimsunday, PosterLad, Rob Bailey, Pavlov visuals, and many others.