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Artist Admiration: Toyin Ojih Odutola




Toyin Ojih Odutola is a Visual Artist from Nigeria, West Africa and grew up in Alabama. She studied a BA in Studio Art and Communications from the University of Alabama in Huntsville back in 2008.

She received her MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) from in 2012 from the California College of the Arts so it’s obvious to see that her Artistic and Academic credentials are impressive. 

Toyin’s Artistic style is distinctive and unique; she is best known for self – portrait drawings and has a particular aesthetic focus on her work being produced entirely, or primarily in black pen ink.

The portrait below of her Artwork entitled Lonely Chambers was produced back in 2011 and uses her Artistic flare of pen ink and marker on paper. This picture, in particular, is a signature Toyin piece of Art.


Her more recent work has evolved to incorporate the use of pastels, pencils and charcoal – offering a different aesthetic feel and tone to her Art. Although, it took some time before Toyin began to use colour in her work, due to her former reluctant approach to the idea.

A big part of her Artistic objective was to get viewers to see the layers and fine lines that compose a character – and through colour, this helped Toyin achieve this beautifully. Toyin’s portrait below entitled Hold It In Your Mouth A Little Longer is currently at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, USA.



Some of Toyin’s artistic creative inspiration comes from world – famous animated films such as The Lion King, Mulan and Vampire Hunter D. Her work has a recognisable mark-making form (a term used to describe different lines and patterns in Art), and reads as somewhat of a unique language of its own.

She has even be quoted as saying: “ I like the idea of reading a work as a code, the way one might read a letter or novella”. This is telling of Toyin’s approach to Art – not only do literal meanings matter in Art, but subliminal, symbolic and thematic components matter too.



Her engagement with polychromatic patterns in her Artwork is evident in the piece below. The left portrait entitled: “ A Misunderstanding with the Mistress” (2016) and the right portrait entitled “ First Night at a Boarding School” (2017).

Notice how that with multiple uses of colour, Toyin’s mark-making style is more visible and striking to viewers, and ultimately enhances the finer, more detailed embellishments in her work.




Toyin’s Artwork has featured on the front cover of George S. Schuyler fiction book Black No More (2018), illustrating that her work has crossed over from Artistic worlds into the realm of Fiction and Literature seamlessly.




Toyin’s portraits often illustrate the image of skin in unique and beautiful ways. Her mark-making style is distinctive on the skin of her portraits – highlighting her interest in the representation of Skin as a visual, in Art.




In reference to the topic, she has been quoted as saying: “ The style I employ for the skin is riddled with tensions inherent in the mark making, and I always like to tease those intentions”.




Toyin’s brothers have appeared in her portraits and unlike her early work, this one in particular shows off her polychromatic palette in an interesting and beautiful way. It shows her ability to take risks with the palette and how her use of colour became a skill that she wanted to include in the language of skin as well as the environment and surroundings in her work.




Category: Art

Tags: designer, Jewellery, independent, shopping, hackney, knuckledusters, fashion, statement 

Best Independent Boutiques in Amsterdam

Charmaine Leong

From bohemian areas of East London and Hackney, we now bring you to highly creative and innovative Amsterdam. With an equally bohemian spirit, the Dutch capital boasts a dynamic shopping scene. Many unique fashion boutiques exist alongside global brands in areas like Waterlooplein and Nine Streets, catering for every taste.

Here is our list of the top 5 independent boutiques in Amsterdam:

1) X Bank

x bank.png

Located in W Hotel Amsterdam, this hip concept store, which claims to be the ‘epicentre of Dutch design’, is more than a fashion boutique: it is a destination for the artistically minded. Featuring all types of objet d’art ranging from fashion, jewellery to artwork from local Dutch designers and artists, X Bank also hosts an art gallery and workshop space. Up-and-coming Dutch designers that are stocked at X Bank include Roderick Vos, Lola & Lou and Ink Inklusive Denim.

2) OU Boutique Stories


Curated specially by owners Val and Rose Adam, OU (French for where or where did you get that) brings all manner of texture, prints and sparkles into clothing, bags and jewellery. As the OU woman is bright, cheerful and feminine, but not afraid wear statement prints and colours, the boutique adopts tongue-in-cheek approach to make classic fashion too pretty and hard to resist.

Check out their Instagram here: OU Boutique Stories.

3) Hutspot


What makes Hutspot unique in the Amsterdam boutique scene is its lifestyle offering for young sustainable creatives. Brands sold at this boutique emphasise the use of sustainable materials and practices to ensure dignified treatment of the workers that produce their garments. After a long day of shopping and browsing, Hutspot also offers you the opportunity to kick back and relax and have a cup of coffee. Who wouldn’t like that?

4) T.I.T.S


Based in West Amsterdam, T.I.T.S stands for ‘This is the s***!’ and its name definitely lives up to the shopping experience. In here, you’ll be able to find funky and unique fashion pieces ranging Brixton Hats to stylish knuckledusters at affordable prices. Brands carried include indie label Mannish and Frisur and well-known Stussy and Lazy Oaf. Also, in mandatory Amsterdam fashion, coffee is served at the back of the store if you ever need a caffeine pick-me-up.

5) Cottoncake


A posterchild of Tumblr’s sleek, minimalistic and white interiors, Cottoncake feels very open and spacious despite being shaped like a pijpela (a long and narrow pipe drawer). Run by owners Tessa and Jorinde, the store only stocks items that they really love and pick up during their travels. Labels you could expect to see are Storm & Marie, Samoe & Samoe, and jewellery brands Mimi et Toi and Monocraft. Things are constantly changing however, as the owners bring in new upcoming designers, so don’t forget to pop in and check it out!

Top 5 Independent Designer Boutiques - LONDON

Ruby Byrogue

There is no denying that London is the heart of Boutique culture in the UK. Nothing

beats the feeling when you make your own local discovery when strolling through the

streets of London town and of course locals supporting small businesses.

Here are our top 5 favourite independent boutiques in London, brought to you by

Byrogue,  sunglasses and jewellery designers from London.

From the (once) alternative East London to the Ferrari parked streets of West London, we bring you

the very best of  London designer boutiques devoted to the latest fashion trends and beyond.

The Hub Fashion Boutique, Stoke Newington

The Hub

The Hub

Set in the bustling broadway market, The Hub fashion boutique is one of Stoke

Newingtons most loved boutiques. It boasts of a healthy smattering of European

brands – Great Plains, Etre Cecile and Sidline – it’s the young London labels that is

the biggest draw.

We find them great as they cater for men and women’s clothing and stock labels

from unique designers, so you can be sure that you won’t see every other person

wearing the same outfit as you.

Boutique LN-CC, Dalston, London



Tucked away in a basement on Dalston’s Shacklewell Lane is the underground

boutique LN-CC. Through the futuristic tunnel entrance, you’ll find a space curated

with pieces from Acne Studios, Ellery to high end brands like Gucci and Fendi.

They describe themselves as a progressive, innovative and conscious retail concept.

We find them great as they present their own individual interpretation of luxury and

offer a great selection of international brands, with eco styles and many more.

Browns Boutique , South Molton Street, London

Browns, a trendy boutique on South Molton street is one of London's most historic

and important fashion boutiques. Having been an early champion of Alexander

McQueen and John Galliano, it hosts a smart edit of each season's latest trends.

The store has a sister branch our favourite, Browns Focus, which targets a younger style-savvy

market. You can find brands from Attico, Aquazzura to Saint Laurent.


Goodhood Store is a favourite for those fans of minimalist fashion and design-

focused accessories. The stock is handpicked to appeal to Goodhood’s very East

End customer. You can find low-cost buys in the form of branded t-shirts, jackets and

hats along with mugs, badges and stickers. They cater for both male and females

and you can choose brands from Champion, Ashley Williams to Levis, Monocle Perfume, Adidas, Comme de garcon and jewellery from Tom Wood.

Darkroom, Conduit street, London

There are plenty of surprises to find at this Bloomsbury accessories boutique. if you

take the time to browse the shop’s range, you will quickly realise that the owners

have a soft spot for tribal designs from Africa and South America. Chunky necklaces

from 1950s Nigeria, Aztec geometric designs are a common find. Discover trendy

jewellery designs and furniture designs from Urchin.