Written by Ollie Macnaughton, CNN

These picture portraits would possibly seem like designs for the following Star Wars movie, however they’re really the imaginative and prescient of Ivorian artist and graphic designer Eric Adé Tanauh.

Going by the pseudonym Rickii Ly, Tanauh blends the options of human beings and aliens to create “Humaliens,” otherworldly characters which are outlined by their exaggerated lengthy necks and arms.

Tanauh, aged 28, takes his inspiration from the artwork motion often known as Afrofuturism, an aesthetic that mixes completely different African and diaspora cultures with parts of science fiction. Although the motion has been round for the reason that late twentieth century, it has lately skilled a revival, partly on account of the hit 2018 movie “Black Panther.”

With a level in graphic design, Tanauh has been working for 4 years because the artwork director at Blue Lions, an promoting company in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest metropolis. Outdoors work although, he explores his inventive ambitions. “That is what retains me artistic,” he mentioned.

Tanauh’s work is created by images of fashions that he manipulates and edits utilizing Photoshop. As he by no means studied images formally, most of his schooling concerning the self-discipline got here by easy YouTube tutorials.

"Djeneba - Portrait," by Eric Adé Tanauh.

“Djeneba – Portrait,” by Eric Adé Tanauh. Credit score: Eric Ade Tanauh

Of his pseudonym, Tanauh says Rickii comes from a nickname he had in class, while Ly is a Senegalese title that he likes. “I feel Rickii Ly is completely different from Eric. He’s my artistic alter ego. With this, I get into the pores and skin of this character, I’m rather more impressed.”

Tanauh says that when he began making artwork that was paying homage to Afrofuturist themes he did not know that the type had a reputation. It was solely after stumbling throughout different Afrofuturist artists on the web that he found the broader artwork motion.

“I noticed some artists who have been doing the identical type of factor on their Instagram, they usually had added the hashtag afrofuturism,” he defined. “I clicked and found a group of artists. I used to be amazed and received a lift of inspiration. I used to be now positive that it was what I needed to do.”

“A way more advanced extension of our species”

The time period Humaliens got here from an Instagram poet that Tanauh tremendously admires. Author Rune Lazuli coined the time period Humaliens (Half Human, Half Cosmos) to outline the bodily and religious duality of human beings. Tanauh has tailored Lazuli’s definition to suit his stylistic sensibilities; he describes his Humaliens as a extra advanced model of people, which reside in a close-by galaxy. “I’ve been documenting the each day lifetime of their time on Earth for a number of years by imagery,” he mentioned.

Tanauh has additionally taken inspiration from different artists, notably British photographer Juno Calypso and American filmmaker Wes Anderson, embracing the director’s signature use of symmetry in his work. “They every have their very own worlds, inventive path and individuality,” Tanauh mentioned of the 2. “I attempt to get as a lot inspiration as potential from what they do.”

His work predominantly options girls as fashions for his Humaliens. “The African lady is a logo of life, kindness, grace and sweetness,” he mentioned. “I feel girls are extra various than males.

“With girls we are able to discover many prospects with the garments, with the hair, with the make-up. It’s it is my principal inventive alternative.”

Women are usually the models for Tanauh's Humaliens.

Ladies are often the fashions for Tanauh’s Humaliens. Credit score: Eric Ade Tanauh

Tanauh hasn’t but had a solo exhibition, however is getting ready for his first in Abidjan in 2023. He was a part of an exhibition on the 2019 Yale Africa Movie Competition and his work was featured alongside different artists on the Naughton Gallery in Belfast, Northern Eire, in 2021. He additionally has ambitions of manufacturing an animated movie that includes the Humaliens.

Finally, Tanauh desires to pursue his artwork full time and hopes to share his imaginative and prescient with extra folks. “I nonetheless have a lot of tales to share. Artwork is clay, you form it in a method that corresponds along with your imaginative and prescient” he mentioned.

“I haven’t got a selected purpose; I simply wish to share my inventive imaginative and prescient with the world. I would like it to reside.”

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