I am a visionary and an activist, and I work within the creative industry as an art director. My parents are Nigerian, and a lot of my work is inspired by tribalism. I love ancient art because that is where everything began. I am inspired by tribes in general as they are the purest form human expression. They are the most beautiful and interesting. The most honest and raw.

I was born in Italy in a little town called Castel Goffredo which is part of Mantova, not far from Milan. My surroundings, being in Italy in a village in the 80s to the late 90s, were wealthy and very much white, so I have a lot of Italian behaviour and culture. My Italian background is in the softness in my work but also the kindness of my soul.

My mum and older sister are in Italy; my father is in Nigeria. My twin brother and sister live in London. My brother lives with me although he is in a serious relationship and will move soon.

I moved to London when I was 19 and I've always been quite a loner. Don't get me wrong, I'm a sociable person, but I am so used to my own company that being alone doesn't bother me. It may be part of being an artist too because I have a whole internal world to retreat into. I am a romantic and an idealist. The way I love is Italian with some African thrown in. Although I push the boundaries with my work, the execution comes from traditional backgrounds like what you may find in Italian art, architecture or fashion.

Barbara Ayozie portrait photo

The Show Must Go On

Barbara Ayozie graduated with a BA at in Creative Fashion Marketing from University of East London and is now an art designer and stylist who recently worked on the Christmas Amazon Advert 2020.

My inspiration comes from life and human behaviour. In the last six months a lot of significant events, like the death of George Floyd, Corona Virus and many injustices in the world, have moved and inspired me to push boundaries and work hard. I also find inspiration in music. The evolution of my style has come from the evolution of the music I listen to. I am really into the late 50s, 60s, 70s in terms of south east Asia and Africa. I am a member of the Royal Opera House and I love classical music and ballet.

There are a lot of references in my creative process and art. I grew up watching Japanese anime, One Piece remains my favourite. I went to the twenty-year anniversary in London. Pop-art needs to be mentioned too, I love the likes of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Lichtenstein. I studied graphic design and history of art at school and my work remains very graphic with colourful expressions inspired by anime and pop-art.  

Lockdown has been a challenge professionally because I am freelancer but I take care of my mental health and my body so I can overcome whatever is happening in the world. I am a spiritual person. I got myself moving, played tennis and practiced yoga. I spent a lot of time exercising and then sitting down and researching, writing, approaching agencies and keeping busy finding creative opportunities.
I am writing a script and working on a pitch for a short film and may be directing my first film - so that’s exciting and keeping me busy and focused.