Born and raised in Nigeria, Tomisin Oluwole relocated to California alone at 17 years old in order to pursue a degree in Fashion Merchandising from California State University, Long Beach.
Seven years later, published poet and abstract artist Oluwole is continuing her education at CSULB to obtain her master’s degree in Linguistics, eager to take the next steps in her life.
“Coming to Long Beach from a foreign country alone wasn’t always easy,” Oluwole said. “I faced cultural differences, language barriers, social differences, homesickness, but I’m proud of the person I’ve become as a result. I get to study what I love in a beautiful and welcoming community.”
Oluwole’s love for the arts first began when she was eight years old, in the form of abstract doodles and makeshift fashion shows featuring clothes taken from her family members’ closets.
Now, Oluwole expresses her creativity through abstract paintings, vivid poetry, and styling fashion.
“My eyes have always been drawn to bright colors, they communicate so much and they inspire me,” Oluwole said. “I wouldn’t be true to myself if I worked with dull colors. I like to create paintings that are captivating and warm, but my work also reflects the feelings of self.”
Her paintings depict delicate outlines of human faces and bodies with brightly colored backgrounds and unique contours of the subject. As an abstract artist, Oluwole hopes to evoke a feeling of familiarity in her audience.
“I always want my work to provoke some kind of thought, but everyone’s responses can be different,” she said. “I want people to feel something strong everytime they see my work, whether that be warmth or familiarity, I want it to evoke strong feelings within.”
Oluwole’s desire to inspire thoughts in others can also be recognized through her poetry. Her poetry book “Half Past in the A.M.: A Conversation Amongst Selves” was published in the summer of 2020, illustrating the many thoughts and voices Oluwole has.
The book consists of poetry about her experiences, scenarios created in her mind, and the thoughts and perspectives of others. Capturing human vulnerability and self discovery, “Half Past in the A.M.” was curated to inspire deep thoughts in readers.
One of her published poems reads:
“the brooding solitude of an artist’s mind
mystifies the reality that they are simply wallflowers
eavesdropping on the silent conversation
nature continues to present its pedestrians.”
Oluwole also hopes her poetry inspires others to see the arts in a new light.
“Language is art,” she said. “I notice how impactful language can be, and there is an art to it. Language is all we have as human beings, it’s an understated form of art. It’s so common and its beauty is so overlooked.”
To honor her love for language, Oluwole is currently working towards obtaining her master’s degree in Linguistics, and she is also working part-time on-campus teaching international students English as a Language Tutor. In her spare time, she continues to write poetry and create new abstract paintings.
As a multi-faceted artist, Oluwole encourages other creatives to take care of themselves and recognize the beauty of their own pieces.
“Never compare your work to someone else’s or doubt your own talent,” she said. “Art is anything if you really choose to see it. You don’t have to produce art for anyone other than yourself, you can create because it’s therapeutic. Create art just to create something beautiful.”