OffTheRails spoke with rising Manchester based artist Boogie Moli, who has taken a unique path to success. From a background in football to becoming a sought-after artist, his journey is a testament to the power of following one's passion. We sat down with Boogie to delve into his beginnings, artistic development, and aspirations for the future.
Let's start at the beginning. How did it all start for you?
Oh, how I started, well, it was pretty much by default. I always knew how to draw since I was a kid, but football was always my main focus, my main priority. In high school, I continued playing, but injuries began to pile up. I realised that I couldn't play football forever, and there would come a time when I had to stop. That realisation led me to explore art during a period of injury and recovery. Gradually, it started building, and I discovered that art could be something I could pursue outside of football.
Can you tell us more about how you transitioned from football to art?
Sure, it was a gradual process. While recovering from a bad injury at the age of 25, I had some off-time, and that's when I started exploring art more seriously. I began by designing trainers and sending them to friends. Then, I did my first commissioned painting for a friend I used to play with back in 2017. Selling that painting for £300 made me realise the potential of my art. I started focusing more on canvas paintings, as they were more profitable and took less time. It began with small commissions, and over time, the demand and prices grew. Eventually, I moved to Manchester, where my journey as an artist truly took off.
That's quite a journey. How would you describe your early style compared to what it is now?
Oh, absolutely, there's a massive difference. My early style is unrecognizable compared to what it is now. It took me a considerable amount of time to develop my current style. The first painting I ever did, which was of 2Pac, took me two and a half weeks to complete just his face. It was a slow process, but I knew I had to find a quicker method. It took me about two and a half years to experiment with different media, formats, and techniques before finding my signature style.
Can you explain your artistic process to us?
When I have an image in mind, I redraw it on my iPad, then print it out on large-scale paper. To transfer it onto the canvas, I use a method called wheatpasting, which involves creating a glue-like mixture using flour, sugar, and hot water. It acts as an adhesive, similar to what you see with street posters.
Do you have a particular piece that you're most proud of?
Yes, my latest piece is the one I'm most proud of. It's a work that I'm not in a hurry to sell.
Your background in football and your connections must have both helped and presented challenges. Can you elaborate on that?
My background and contacts have been helpful in terms of gaining access to certain individuals. However, I didn't want to be confined to just one category. I wanted to expand globally and appeal to a broader audience. That's why I created new pieces that cater to fine art collectors. It's important to me that my art reaches beyond a specific niche.
What advice would you give to creatives who come from non-traditional backgrounds? Did you study art at all?What advice would you give to creatives who come from non-traditional art backgrounds? Did you study art at all?
Not at all. I barely scraped by with a C in art during my school days. My advice would be to find your style and navigate your way through the industry. It took me a couple of years to truly develop my signature style. Keep an open mind, constantly seek inspiration from other artists, and be a student of the game.
Do you have any personal benchmarks or aspirations you're working toward?
Like any artist, I would love to see my work featured in auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's. However, my main goal is continuous growth. As long as I'm better than I was yesterday, I know I'm moving in the right direction.
How do you feel about the rise of AI in the art world?
To be honest, I feel quite detached from that world. I'm more focused on my own journey as an artist and the personal growth that comes with it.
That's completely understandable. Lastly, is there a particular goal you're working towards this year?
This year, my main aim is to engage in more international projects and collaborations with people from different industries. I want to expand my reach and explore new opportunities.
That's fantastic to hear. We wish you all the best in your artistic endeavors, Boogie. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us today.
Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.