Squid Alley with Emmanuel Dankyi – I’m Looking to Find the Devil

November 9, 20185 min read

I first came across Emmanuel Dankyi’s (ed. for short) work during the promotion of the first Artmosphere Design Experience (dEX for short) event sometime in March of 2018. His fun, out-the-box ideas, colour choices, geometric patterns, refreshing animations, expressive photos and subject matter got me hooked. 

Several months after encountering his work, ed. has become one of my favourite visual artists. He is a master of many trades who dabbles in motion graphics, graphic design, 2D animation, photography and illustration.

In typical Squid Alley fashion, I had to know a few basics about him. What follows is my Squid Alley chat with Emmanuel  Dankyi.

1. What are your go-to tools?

My brain, sketch pad and black pens, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects.

2. What inspires you?

My inspiration comes mostly from my experiences, the people around me and my environment. I see patterns everywhere, stories in everything and lessons in great work from other artists. I like to deconstruct and reconstruct and I pay keen attention to details. Because I’m looking to find the devil, God also plays a very big role here.

3. What major challenges do you face?

The standards I set for myself sometimes can become very challenging in the sense that I become very frustrated when I’m unable to hit it. Another challenge I face on a daily basis is ‘team’ – sometimes I wish there were 5 versions of me working together making a lot of magic.

Time is one of my biggest challenges because there are a lot of things to be done, but such little time. We’re taking things one at a time though. Annoying clients also have to make this list just because…

4. What is your favourite (and most fun) piece of work?

Dear Black Man animated by ed, spoken word by Dede

I haven’t really thought of this before. Lol but if I had to choose,  My mothers’ day piece, the Untitled piece and my Dear Black Man piece. Those are my top three.

I had most fun on them because they were very experimental pieces and I did things I hadn’t done before on those works. The people I collaborated with were also awesome and the whole process came together beautifully. I just love the experiences that came with making those pieces.

5. Who do you absolutely listen to when you work?

Depends on the mood and what I’m doing that moment. I have a wide library with genres ranging from Classical, Jazz, Rap, Blues and RnB albums with a few Ghanaian productions. Sometimes too, I just let the Internet choose the playlist for me. I find new discoveries interesting.

6. What do you do for fun?

I like to travel, spend time out with the gang, sketching, watching movies, and playing games (not much these days though) but I find traveling most fulfilling.

7. You have 24hrs in the Squid Time Tunnel to change something about your past. What would it be and why?

Absolutely nothing. I hate a lot of things in my past but I believe I wouldn’t be the person I’m becoming without those experiences. And I like the person I’m becoming.

8. What’s your hope for African comics, games and animation in the next 3 years?

I hope for more collaborations and original stories, more females in the industry, for our people to understand and embrace it a bit more, because they’re who we create for and a lot more international recognition.

9. The Triomphant Bonus: Who are your top 3 African creatives across comics, games, animation, music, technology etc?

  • Colorful illustration of a girl jumping rope while wearing a dashiki
  • Natasha Nayo illustration self-portrait

Very Difficult question. Lol. I’ll mention 3 out of the lot. In no particular order, Ganyobi Odartey, Natasha Nayo, David Nicol-Sey and I’ll break the rule and add one more, Henry Akrong.

See more of ed.’s work on Behance and Instagram

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