While most youngsters in his hometown spent their Saturdays playing outside or watching television, Uchenna Okere would busy himself with art classes at various universities. It came as no surprise when one of his paintings was accepted and displayed at a permanent art collection in Jersey City, N.J.
The multitalented junior architecture major said he continues thinking about art as a progression. Instead of using a pencil to draw a picture, Okere said he’d use watercolors.
“No matter how vague an idea someone gives me about anything, I automatically come up with something much more creative,” Okere said. “Everything I create is a reflection of my thoughts.”
What’s keeping Okere busy these days is the Green Hotel project, in which he and other Tyler students are involved in building a lifesize structure of a 900-foot environmentally friendly hotel. The studio-wide project is carried out by second-year architecture major students at Fairmount Park.
Okere said he’s designing a system that will harness all natural resources of the site and recycle rain water to be reused for gray water within the hotel, restoring the natural look of the site that was lost with the addition of expressways and overpasses.
“This hotel is meant to reshape our vision of sustainability, and true green design that fully engages the user from the underground entrance to the above ground occupancy, containing trees, vegetation, natural light, outdoor trail paths, a pool pavilion and an overall great educational experience.”
Even though he’s prolific in many areas of art like painting, sculpting, pottery, graphic design and model making, architecture is what he prefers most. He said he finds it to be the most difficult activity of everything he has learned so far.
“It’s really just a thought process that’s difficult,” Okere said. “Every decision and everything you do has to be thought out and well-explained.”
Being able to master many things at once may not be as important to some as it is to Okere. He stressed that it is essential for an artist to be multitalented.
“I think when you finally sit down and say, ‘OK, I’m going to master something,’” he added, “all those other things that you know as background will ultimately start to reflect itself.”
Sergei Blair can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.