Artist of the week: Meet Eli Waduba whose pencil portrait of Kevin Hart is getting all the buzz

Not every artist is able to attract the attention of their celebrity muse.

Eli Waduba with his drawing of Kevin Hart [Instagram/eliss_artss]

While it might seem like a breeze to post talented work on the Internet and go viral, not many are lucky enough.

Eli Waduba Yusuf, a graduate of Cooperative Economics from Kaduna State Polytechnic, went out on a limb by posting a drawing he did of Kevin Hart on the Internet, hoping the award-winning comedian would respond.

After many reposts, shares and retweets, Hart not only responded, he commissioned the artist to draw three more portraits.

"I see it and I want to purchase it...I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work," Hart responded on Twitter.

Eli, who has been drawing since the age of 9, still can't believe the news. "I have been saying they should wake me up," Eli told Pulse. "God turned my story in minutes of seeing a single work, I just made a gift for Kevin Hart out of my love for his comedy, and here I am having a world recognition."

Though contact has been made between the comedian and Eli, the artist is still waiting to discover who the other celebrities he'll be drawing are. However, when we asked who he'd like to draw, he says, Dwayne Johnson, aka "The Rock".

Hyper Realism gained mainstream attention in Nigeria in 2016 when photos of oil paintings by artist Olumide Oresegun flooded the Internet.

Different artists follow different themes and colours, but the end result will have you marvelling. Following the popularity of the art style, many young Nigerian artists have followed in the footsteps of hyper realist stars to create versions of their own. Eli is one of such artists.

"I've not always been a hyper realism artist," Eli says. "But [seeing] people's work like Stanley Arinze, I knew there was more and promised myself to always be better than my previous work."

Not a lot of people are impressed by Hyper realism though. But for Eli, he has made the decision to make his art compete with the camera. "Hyper realism gives me so much joy, the reality it creates gives me fulfillment," he says.

When asked what other art expressions he'd like to try out, Eli responds, "I would love to try out Pencil colors, pastel drawings, and probably discover a new kind of art."

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