Kip Omolade is a Brooklyn-based artist who creates hyper-realistic large-scale oil paintings of chrome masks. Born in Harlem, NY, Kip Omolade began his art career as a graffiti artist. Back then, he was also interning at Marvel Comics and The Center for African Art at the same time. Then he continued his studies at The Art Students League of New York and earned a BFA at the School of Visual Arts.
Moreover, his series of oil paintings Diovadiova Chrome are psychological studies. Through these works, he investigates not only immortality but also the universal masks that we all wear. Also, contemporary notions of beauty and luxury influence his work a lot. The Diovadiova Chrome portraits historically connect to ancient, realistic African sculptures such as Benin ivory masks and Ife bronze heads.
In fact, the term ‘Diovadiova’, that Kip Omolade uses to describe the series, is a combination of two words. First, the Italian word ‘Dio’ which means ‘god’, and then the historical meaning of the word ‘diva’ — goddess.
The labor-intensive process involves making a mold and cast of each model’s face. The artist further reworks the cast plaster sculpture and produces a version in resin. Then he adds a chrome layer with artificial eyelashes. That final sculpture serves as a model for the hyper-realistic oil painting. This technique maintains the likeness qualities of portraiture while re-presenting a mask that serves as a conduit between the spiritual and natural world.