How to Commission Your Portrait by African Artist Gideon Fasola

Gideon Fasola's pencil portrait of young couple

Gideon Fasola’s pencil portrait of young couple

Select your reference photos or create a new selfie, then chat with artist Gideon Fasola to discuss your portrait art ideas ( email Telephone: +234 816 762 1698). Do you want a painting on canvas, a graphite and charcoal drawing, or ink drawing on paper? The artist will help you decide on the materials and size for the finished portrait during your consultation. Full terms and the artist’s portfolio here.

Innocent African Beauty by Gideon Fasola

Innocent African Beauty by Gideon Fasola

Once you’ve made your decision, you only need to send your reference photo or photos to the artist so he can get to work. As your portrait art progresses Gideon Fasola will send you a work-in-progress photo!

Payments are made to Portraits Africa–based in Amsterdam, Netherlands–(Contact via email: -or- by telephone: +31 20 672 78 06 ). Portraits Africa holds your international currency payment until the portrait is complete and delivered to you. Then the money is paid to artist.

Gideon Fasola portrait drawing

Gideon Fasola portrait drawing

Your pencil portrait drawing on paper may require a few weeks to complete, and a painting on canvas will take more time. If you have an anniversary, birthday, or other date you’d like to receive the completed work, just let the artist know.

My Princess, red, blue, black ballpoint pen drawing by Gideon Fasola

My Princess, red, blue, black ballpoint pen drawing by Gideon Fasola

Final photos of your finished portrait are sent to you for approval. The artist Gideon Fasola packages and ships your portrait art to you.

A moment with Gideon Fasola–


Happiness Costs No Money, painting by Gideon Fasola

Happiness Costs No Money, painting by Gideon Fasola


Nigerian Artist Gideon Fasola’s *Tiny Breaks* in the Duality of His Self-Portrait

Face of Me, Gideon Fasola

Face of Me, Gideon Fasola

Last night I chatted with artist Gideon Fasola of Nigeria, who is one of the African artists represented by Amsterdam-based Dr. Keith McFarlane’s international Portraits Africa project.

Portraits Africa is all about the African artists they represent and the portrait art their artists create. All of the portrait art in the Portraits Africa artist portfolios help to brand the project and service. But none more so than African artist Gideon Fasola’s iconic self-portrait Face of Me, of which the artist says–“It’s the artwork that represents everything about my art.”

Gideon was one of the earliest to be curated into the Portraits Africa aka African Portraiture Service. The artist says that he appreciates every effort the service makes to promote his work and obtain commissions for him from clients around the world–“African Portraiture Service is a loving platform for African Artists, to me it’s like making a dream that seems impossible come true so unexpectedly soon to the dreamer.”

His Face of Me self-portrait is also used to help brand the @PortraitsAfrica Twitter account here.

You’ll notice that in this self-portrait (image above) there is a rough division down the center of the face, with the left side painted in color and the right side rendered in graphite pencil. Both sides demonstrate Gideon Fasola’s skill and ability in rendering realism in any media. He says, “I like to be free with my color and rendering, I don’t like following a strict way of painting. The graphite side is simply showing my pencil realism in like manner to the painting.”

Such duality of imagery carries much metaphorical meaning as well, referencing dualities in the life of every artist, while providing a visual summary of the Portraits Africa service of turning flesh and blood faces into drawings and paintings.

Yet Gideon Fasola’s work is not limited to realistic renderings–“I love good music, inspiring poetry and drawings that speaks, so rhythm, words and message always influence my artworks,” he says. “That is why my works are not limited to realism and hyperrealism portraiture and drawings that is common among African artists of this generation.”

The abstract aspects of Gideon Fasola’s self-portrait is in the texture and patterning, which he refers to as Araism. “The background represents two things about my art, the tiny break texture is Araism–a painting movement invented by a Nigerian artist Mufu Onifade. I became a disciple of the movement in 2013 and I am the first artist in the group that is using pencil to render the movement. The second thing on the background is my background pattern that I have been using for the background of my works since when I was in school 2008 till now.”

Gideon speaks the three major languages of Nigeria–Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, and many dialects under them. He explains that, “Araism is derived from Yoruba (the language of the western Nigeria tribe).” From the word “Ara” which means “wonder.” As in, there is wonder and amazement in the viewer at the lines of “tiny breaks” that come together to create an art piece. Also, the word “Ara” means “thunder,” with the lines that strike across the surface of the artworks like lightning in a thunderstorm. “Ara” (in the Igbo language) can also mean a woman’s breast. Gideon explains that connotation as, “the way the artworks entice people and gives their delightful view and pleasurable experience is compared with womans breasts. So Araism is all African rooted, especially Yoruba.”

HOPE, Gideon Fasola

HOPE Gideon Fasola

His two imaginative works titled HOPE and Virtuous Woman very clearly articulate this “tiny break texture” of Araism–or as Gideon says– “Yes, this are some of my pure Araism works.”

Gideon Fasola

Virtuous Woman Gideon Fasola

Fasola explains that he first heard about the Araism movement while studying at The Polytechnic Ibadan, Eruwa Campus, Oyo State, Nigeria. “I first heard about Mufu Onifade at school, from one of my lecturers that is one year senior colleague of Mufu Onifade when they are art students. Mufu Onifade is a former student of my school, my campus, he graduated there 1988. I started searching for his name and possible contacts online after I heard about him and saw some of his works. After many trials, I was able to chat with him and talk to him on call. I saw him face to face for the first time when he invited me to the Araism Movement on the 10th of September 2013. It was after then that I joined the Araism movement with two Araism works that I submitted to him.”

The Adorable One, gideon Fasola

The Adorable One, Gideon Fasola

Gideon Fasola has created many portrait drawings and paintings. You can view more of Gideon Fasola’s art on his website, on his Facebook page, and on Portraits Africa here.

In the portrait above, the artist demonstrates his skill for working with the ink from blue, black and red ballpoint pens, common tools in Nigeria. He is especially fond of this ballpoint pen ink portrait of “my only niece, which I treasure as my daughter,” he has demonstrably titled The Adorable One.

Fasola also says that being an artist is a “humble career,” demonstrating his humility via encounters with “old wise artists who have made me a young man with an old mind.”  He recalls their advice–“An old artist once told me that art is in your brain and hand, to never let materials silence your expression, but to learn to use whatever can make a mark on a surface to express yourself.”

Gideon Fasola painting

Gideon Fasola painting

Fasola thinks that being an artist is “a gift, a privilege, I am not more worthy than other people to have the talent, so I’m using it like a precious gift given to me as undeserved kindness.”

He describes his painting, above, of laughing children– “It’s saying, if the poor can be happy then you can be happy against all odds if you choose to and if you have the right attitude the way you live your life.”




Part Two: 20+ African Artists Offering Portrait Commissions via International Service

Part one features the first eleven artists here. Find out how to get your own portrait here.

For Part Two, we’re featuring these artists–click on each artist’s name to read their bio and view more examples of their portrait art:


AfricanPPLateef Olajumoke, Nigeria

Lateef Olajumoke, Nigeria


AfricanPPEnam Boscokah, Ghana face

Enam Boscokah, Ghana 


AfricanPPTangwan Elice, Cameroon

Tangwan Elice, Cameroon


Jeffrey Appiatu, Ghana



Ivana Basa, Kenya & Serbia



Okpeyowa Moses Marquis, Nigeria


AfricanPPLynette Swanepoel, South Africa Lynette Swanepoel, South Africa



Waweru Gichuhi, Kenya



Gideon Fasola, Nigeria


AfricanPPClara AdenNigeria

Clara Aden, Nigeria



Victor Binge, Kenya


AfricanPPAlbert Dorgbadzi, Ghana

Albert Dorgbadzi, Ghana


Find out how to get your own portrait art from any photo here.

The Unconventional Portrait: Moving Away From the Literal Likeness


Face of Me And My Art, 41 cm x 30 cm,  2014, painting, graphite and charcoal on paper by artist Gideon Fasola of Ibadan, Nigeria, Africa.

The artist Gideon Fasola offers commissions of original fine art portraits capturing elements of you in combinations symbolizing your personality, profession, passions, collections, fantasy life, cos-play roles and creative activities in a visual yin-yang.

To discuss a possible commission from the African artists here, as well as other, and review their fees and details click here.

The unconventional portrait below, of a woman with her eyes closed, conveys her interior– thoughts, feelings, her mood– and gives us a glimpse into her inner sensuality.

"Virginity" by Kolapo Obadiah Olorunyemi of Abuja, Nigeria. Fine point pen on paper.76cm x 46cm

Virginity by Kolapo Obadiah Olorunyemi of Abuja, Nigeria. Fine point pen on paper. 76cm x 46cm


The remarkable portrait below, by an artist that goes by the name Theopencil (his full name Theophilus Boateng Kwaku Sarpong), from Accra, Ghana, Africa is a demonstration of his accomplished photorealism rendering techniques used to depict this image from the artist’s imagination. 




Artist D.A. Metrov was recently invited to conduct a public portrait session at the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art as part of Marinella Senatore’s highly-acclaimed Building Communities exhibition. The event was a huge success. Portraits from the exhibit definitely fit the category of the unconventional–


Kelsey, portrait by Metrov

Kelsey, portrait by Metrov

Metrov portrait, Unidentified 2

Metrov portrait, Unidentified 2

Metrov portrait, Kevin

Metrov portrait, Kevin

Metrov portrait, Chien

Metrov portrait, Chien

Metrov portrait, Connie

Metrov portrait, Connie

Metrov is known for his uncanny ability to capture his subject’s “spiritual essence.” “It’s not something I try to do, it’s simply what comes naturally. Some have called it a psychic ability,” says Metrov, an artist living and working in Santa Barbara, California.

View more of Metrov’s unconventional portraits on his website here. Metrov also offers commissions for your portrait. You can contact the artist here.