Today we’d like to introduce you to Lawrence Okonya.
Hi Lawrence, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Honestly, I believe this all started from my childhood. I seemed to have an intense spirit filled with curiosity and imagination but nowhere to place it. My fondest memories as a kid consisted of doing things that made me feel alive. Being born and partially raised in a small town called Oguta, Imo State, Nigeria, I remember this particular coconut tree in my backyard that taunted my existence every time I looked at it. My mom always used to (and continues to) say I was too stubborn. I wanted nothing more than to climb it and grab my own fruit. Funny enough I can’t confirm whether or not I achieved that feat but what I do know is that I had fun trying. In essence, I think this part of my childhood characterizes that of my development as an artist today. Although I can be stubborn, I have come to be open-minded and appreciate the perspective. This integration served me well in transitioning as a creative individual. I was first introduced to the industry as a model. And man was their reluctance in embracing it fully but that was because it was all unfamiliar territory and I hadn’t set my sights on anything that called me like that coconut tree. I gained confidence over some time and soon enough I became fond of it.
Looking back I’m grateful to those who urged me to give it a try. However, this phase proved short-lived after I was presented with a concept concerning the direction of a project and I was asked for my opinion. As the muse for this project I didn’t say too much, I gave my two cents but the ideas in my head didn’t seem to stop there. It was like a little fire began to burn and I couldn’t fully put it out, as if I wanted to. And just like that, I found it. I asked myself so many questions as to what narrative am I trying to write here, what will be the center to these ideas? Soon after this contemplative period I also realized I wanted to convey, translate and push forward the realm of story. Since then, I continued to develop my understanding of the story and the characters within it. I became wildly interested in giving these concepts the life I felt they deserved. Stepping behind the lens really did it for me. The possibilities were endless when it came down to producing and directing, whether I was working on personal projects or aiding in the development of someone else’s vision, I found fulfillment in the process. As for where I am today, I believe I am only at the beginning of what is, an intimate relationship with my art form.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The struggles along the way consisted of trial and error, as well as battling perfectionism. Being right and getting it right are two different processes that require two different approaches. I had to understand that there’s a balance behind taking the mistakes with the wins and continuing to push forward. It has been a semi-bumpy road in terms of problem-solving along the way but I am grateful for it. I realized everything I faced and have yet to encounter is necessary to shape and fine-tune the process, There’s only one real way to mastery and it is through. Not above, not below, not around, not in-between but through it. The realest struggles were all internal and they had more to do with parting from the ego than technical difficulties.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a visual storyteller primarily operating as a freelance creative producer and director. I work alongside various disciplines in order to create and provide services centered in and around the world of fashion, art, film, music, and overall brand development. I would say I’m known for translating ideas into the real world. What can be drawn on paper can also be felt, seen, heard and experienced. I am most proud of the work I’ve produced for Kwasi Paul (@Kwasipaul_official) and what that project represented. The project held a very intimate story behind the inception of the brand and its founder. I hardly accept “no” for an answer, if I don’t know the answer I’ll be quick to find one. I think it is necessary to consider all angles and judge accordingly when producing and or directing a project. I won’t settle when it comes to quality but I can and have definitely worked within limitations. The fact that you may have less to work with means you have to get more creative and this might be one of the most controversial topics in any director/producer role but it is worth the challenge. I never shy away from a challenge either, I feel this too is an opportunity to stretch the boundaries, literally and figuratively.
What matters most to you? Why?
I believe that we are all trying to make something of ourselves in this world and it’s important we create with people that see it, understand it, support it and honor it. Our ideas, visions, hearts intent, and work ethic quite literally shape the world we experience. We all have gifts to foster in this life, however small or large I know there is space for it. I recognize this space as the ideas hoarded within fiercely talented people that are just screaming to come out and blossom. I recognize this space as an invitation to connect with other people as well as ourselves. There’s something special about seeing your work actualized and having feet of its own to stand on. I want to bring that feeling to the people I create with and create for. What matters most is speaking our truth. It is taking responsibility for the extent of our imagination, and representing it accurately and with the care. What matters is creating beautiful expressions of the mind and heart. We need more of that.
- Instagram: cozylawrence / eyesofcozy
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/cozylawrence
Jake Kwame Blue Bizzie Ruth Ike Abakah