Yaw Safori Paints Jazz – Graphic Online
Safori in front of one of his jazz-themed paintings
Ghanaian artist, Yaw Ofosu Safori is one of those who always greet the month of April with a certain joy in their hearts as it is the month of jazz appreciation and global attention is focused on the role of music in uniting people around the world.
April 30 is also the day that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially designated as International Jazz Day to highlight the history and legacy of jazz music.
Yaw Safori is a jazz enthusiast and has created many paintings that depict his special attachment to this genre of music.
According to Safori, one of the reasons for representing so much jazz in his art was to add to what people needed to feel and know about jazz, to inspire them to patronize the music.
There is often a degree of concentration on the part of the artist as the outlines of pianos, guitars, saxophones, trumpets and microphones gradually turn into distinctive objects on his canvas.
waterfalls of sound
It starts to feel like timeless jazz classics such as “Take Five”, “Mister Magic”, “Take The Train”, “Milestones” or “Street Life” would come out of the different colored strands and carry the observer away. on waterfalls. sound.
“It’s my contribution to the jazz world and I try to see things from a broad perspective because jazz is for everyone,” says the man from Akropong in the Eastern Region who owns a large collection of jazz albums and magazines.
He discovered American jazz bands such as Crusaders, Randy Crawford, Joe Sample and Grover Washington during his school days at Okuapeman High School and Accra Academy.
By the time he left Ghana for the UK, en route to the US in 1989, he knew he was up to something exciting about the new horizons that were opening up in his life.
He began art in the United States where he lived for over two decades before returning home to settle. Coincidentally, the headquarters of the famous Jazz Times magazine was very close to where he lived in Silver Spring, Washington DC.
He became acquainted with some of the magazine’s writers and was thus repeatedly featured in the pages of the Jazz Times for his unique approach to painting jazz.
Through the Silver Spring Jazz Festival in Washington DC and the Capital Jazz Fest in Maryland where Safori took booths to showcase his work, he met several prominent jazz personalities and this further solidified his passion for this genre of music. music.
Jazz artists he encountered through his association with the two festivals included Marcus Johnson, David Dyson, Earl Klugh, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample and Spyrogira.
Art was initially just a hobby for Safori. A customer at a San Francisco store where he worked saw something he had produced and told the store manager about it. All the paintings sold out when he was cleared by his superior to show his artwork in the shop.
full time hobby
He quit his job in the shop and then devoted himself to art full time. He prides himself on developing invaluable relationships with customers who have purchased multiple pieces at once. Since then, he has been commissioned by dignitaries and major corporate institutions to produce some of his distinctive works for them.
“I listen to all kinds of music but jazz is my favourite. An artist’s output tends to reflect what they think most of the time. Music resonates in much of my work because it never leaves my mind,” explains the self-taught artist.
Thus his paintings are inhabited by solo instrumentalists and singers as well as duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets and big bands. Its musicians are both men and women of varying postures, all caught up in the ecstasy of making music.
The thrill of Safori’s life as an artist also stems a great deal from his inimitable way of presenting musicians and their instruments. Some of his saxophones sound like “mmenson” horns and there are bare-breasted, long-necked, red-lipped women playing happily.
“I strongly believe in individuality. What I bring to art is different from what people are used to. Maybe if I had formally studied in a college or under someone, I would have done things the way my teachers or instructors did theirs,” Safori says.
He continues to work in a variety of media, including acrylic, pastel, charcoal and watercolor, from his studio in Oyarifa in the municipal district of Ga East. He also works on several themes unrelated to jazz, but he knows that music will always have a great influence in the general direction of his art.
He has incorporated jazz concerts and wine tastings into some of his exhibits over the past few years and believes these elements also help to strengthen relationships with art lovers.