An eco-conscious artist, Atlanta-based sculptor Jonathan Imafidor uses scrap or found metal objects to build his large or larger-than-life animal and human works.
Artist: Born in Nigeria, Imafidor grew up in a small rural community of Uneme Nekhua, exploring the wonders of his environment and creating art using natural materials.
Imafidor received a BA in Painting and a MPhil in African Art History from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he also later taught painting and drawing as a lecturer.
He came to the United States in 2014 to participate in a group exhibition at the Studio 18, City of Pembroke Pines, FL.
Subsequently, he was invited to exhibit his art and create a public mural in Lemmon, SD, by John Lopez (a renowned scrap metal artist).
Since then, Imafidor and his artist friend Dotun Popoola made annual visits (between 2015 and 2022) to South Dakota to paint murals, exhibit art works and hold workshops in small communities.
In 2017 and 2018, he was also pursuing an MFA in painting at SCAD in Atlanta.
Though Imafidor initially explored traditional painting he later shifted to sculpture, using found metal objects.
“It was during my encounter with John Lopez that I started picking up an interest in scrap metal art,” said Imafidor.
Studio: Mafix, Imafidor’s studio, is based in Atlanta, outside his home.
Art & materials: Large metal sculptures of animals, fish and recently, human figures, using discarded, scraps or unused materials, such as car and motorcycle exhaust parts, saw blades, used silverware and paint.
Materials are sourced from junkyard, dumpsters and mechanic shops or donated from friends and family.
Through his art, Imafidor said he hopes to raise awareness of waste, consumption and other environmental issues as well as their impact on the natural world.
What’s popular: Beta fish sculptures ($2,500 to $7000).
Other favorites: Larger heavily detailed sculptures ($7,000 to $65,000), For example, Horse Eye ($11,000) or Egbin, a deer, ($45,000)
Favorite tools: Welding machine, plasma cutter and oxy-acetylene flame touch.
- Childhood memories and nature.
- Mentors & sculptors: John Lopez (SD) and William Massey (Atlanta, GA).
Special or unusual commission: A 65-foot monument for a park in Ibadan Nigeria which he is currently working on. (See image right)
Other projects: Many, including:
- Selected to represent the United States in an international art workshop and exhibition in Turkey, where his 20-foot-tall gazelle head sculpture is now permanently displayed at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra Building in Ankara. (See image right).
- “Egbin II,” a high-relief sculpture on the wall of the art-filled 5Church, a restaurant in Atlanta. (See image below)
- “The Old Olive Tree,” in the Alta Toro restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. The colorful, 20-foot scrap metal tree with cnc-machined metal leaves. (See image below)
Recent awards/honors: Many solo and group art exhibitions and awards, including:
- Winner, People’s Choice 3D Award, ArtFields Art Competition/Exhibition in Lake City, SC. 2022.
The award was for a fish sculpture, “I Lay Out a Bait,” a recollection of Imafidor’s struggles from Nigeria to South Dakota, and now Georgia.
“All these places are landmarks in my many expeditions while fishing for success in my art career,” he has said.
The winning fish, now a property of Artfields, is exhibited at the Artfields Art Center in Lake City.
What’s next: Solo Exhibition at Mark Mason Fine Art, on Miami Circle in Atlanta. Spring 2024.
Where to buy or commission: [email protected]
- Instagram: @jonathanimafidor
- Facebook: Imafidor Ayodeji Jonathan