B, also known by his art name Bijijoo, tells us that he’s “always identified as an artist,” despite his years working as a research scientist. Inspired by his daughter’s vivid imagination and the essentiality of chaos within the creative process, his latest exhibition, Bijijoo, is currently running at Saatchi Yates in London and will do until 22 May. The exhibition features a variety of pieces based on sketches the artist produced during 2022 and represents “a pinnacle accomplishment in my mind” B tells us. Be sure to check it out!
Both his art and his music, B works to combine different processes, the smooth digital with the raw analogue, demonstrating the way in which these contraries do, in fact, complement one another. Through these creations, comprehensive creatures and narratives emerge. In his interview with us, B discusses the intimate dialogue between the worlds of art and science, the way in which these narratives unfold within his work and measuring success through inspiring others.
Could you start by introducing yourself and your work?
Hello! I’m called by my nickname B, just the letter, and use Bijijoo as my art name. I’ve made art since I was a kid and have explored many different art styles and had many different careers before settling on my current art path. I’ve got a young daughter that’s really into art too and she’s been a huge inspiration for me.
Despite having spent your childhood drawing and painting, you pursued more technical studies, even getting your Ph.D in Chemistry (Biophysics) and beginning a career as a research scientist and then a patent agent. However, you did eventually return to painting. What drew you back to artistic practices or did the desire to create never really leave?
I’ve always identified as an artist despite all my other pursuits. Making art has always been my way of instilling meaning in my life. All the other stuff I’ve done supported that. I’ve always been seeking and experimenting to find my way forward through art. It’s only been recently that I’ve settled on my current art path, which feels really authentic and sustainable to me.
The worlds of art and science tend to be perceived as such separate spheres. Having spent experience working in both fields, how do you feel your background in art influenced your understanding of and work within maths and science and, then, vice versa?
For me, art has always led the way. That pursuit led me down a path toward symbolism and philosophy which led to an interest in and love of mathematics and physics, which I studied for a very long time. I’ve always sought to bridge art and science: I think there are many commonalities beneath the surface and each inform the other.
Bijijoo 1.jpg
You are currently exhibiting solo at Saatchi Yates in London until 22 May. The exhibition features sketches and painting experiments from the past year, pieces that reflect your experience coming out of the pandemic. In what ways does this exhibition reflect who and where you currently are as an artist?
For the Saatchi Yates exhibition I produced large-scale paintings between October 2022 and February 2023 based on sketches I made during 2022. The large format of the works in the show supported richer explorations of surface and brings a confrontational presence [to] my monstrous figures.  These are results of a refinement of my early experiments into confident techniques, incorporating chaos and uncertainty into a well-established, sustainable process I’ve been developing over the past few years. The exhibition at Saatchi Yates represents a peak for me, a pinnacle accomplishment in my mind, but I view it as only the beginning of what’s next.
Your art often combines digital elements with more traditional mediums like painting or drawing. Can you talk about the process of bridging these different worlds and creating something that feels unified?
For me it’s all part of the same process. Digital and traditional or physical approaches provide an expanded set of tools to make creative discoveries and render imagery and ideas. I use digital techniques to guide the physical rendering process, often starting from digital sketches. I often bring the physical work back into the digital realm to map out next steps, for example by digitally sketching onto a photograph of a physical work in process. I’m also drawn to the aesthetic of combining polished digital with tactile physical and incorporate that into my work.
Your mixed media pieces also often feature a narrative or storytelling element. What role do narrative plays in your art, and how do you develop the stories behind your pieces?
I rarely begin with a specific narrative in mind. The narrative is something that emerges from my process, which is essentially a tool for self-discovery. I begin by opening up, drawing automatically, sketching without thought, and experimenting with different media in an uncontrolled way. From this imagery I make aesthetic-based selections to guide a rendering on canvas. More discoveries are made during the physical rendering process, which can take me in unexpected directions and lead to new technical discoveries. The narratives are the result of this self-discovery process.
Bijijoo 8.jpg
The artist’s statement on your website says that “images are conjured from chaos, in a process akin to divination”. Do you think chaos can ever be detrimental to the creative process, or is it always a positive force for generating new ideas and inspiration?
I think it’s impossible to remove chaos from a truly creative process, there will always be unexpected things that come up when generating new ideas and imagery. But I think there needs to be a balance between order and chaos. This can come with practice and experience, in learning how to exert just the right amount of control over the chaos.
You’ve mentioned before that your daughter’s uninhibited but also fundamentally joyful approach to art has had a huge influence on how you’ve “relearned how to approach art”. How have you ensured that you are simply enjoying the creative process of what you make and not overcomplicating or overanalysing the final creation?
I always struggle against overcomplicating and overanalysing things and the creative process involves a lot of hard work and time. But I try to tap into a childlike freedom, naïveté and joy when I seek out new ideas to begin the work through sketches, paint experiments, or other free art processes.
Following on from this, creatives can sometimes find their work limited or, at least, influenced by its commercialisation. What do you think about finding that balance with regards to your own work? Who, if anyone, do you feel you make art for?
I mostly make art for myself, its my way of finding purpose, coping with life, capturing my experiences at a given moment. I feel fortunate that my work resonates with and inspires others, which is something I value a lot. The reception of the work by others also influences its direction since there are so many different directions it could go at any given time.
Bijijoo 6.jpg
You mentioned in your interview with Artnet you are hoping to spend more time working on your music alongside your visual art. Could you talk a bit more about your music and, perhaps, who or what has influenced your music?
Creating music is an important creative outlet for me. My first instrument as a kid was the saxophone and I’ve taught myself to play many other instruments over time. I got into 4-track tape recording as a teenager in the early 1990s influenced a lot by Ween, the Pixies, and Tom Waits. Later I got into sampling and using sequencers and computers to generate music. I love combining raw analogue sounds with more polished digital sounds, as in my visual art, and I’ve been putting more effort recently into making new music. An archive of my music from the early 1990s to present is up on my SoundCloud.
As someone who has a. Ph.D., someone who has featured in numerous art exhibitions, both group and solo, someone who has over 100,000 followers on TikTok, is there any particular moment in which you’ve thought “now, I’ve succeeded”? How do you measure success?
One of the things I’m most passionate about is inspiring creativity in others and opening people’s minds to new creative experiences and pursuits. That is my biggest measure of success: inspiring others. Despite what I’ve accomplished, I still feel like I’m only just beginning, there is so much more to explore and discover about myself and my art. I’ll probably always feel that way no matter what level of success I’ve achieved.
Finally, is there anything else you’ve got coming up for us to look forward to?
Yes! I’m working on new music projects, exploring bringing textiles into my visual art, and always working on evolving my work. More to come on all that!
Bijijoo 4.jpg
Bijijoo 7.jpg
Bijijoo 11.jpg
Bijijoo 3.jpg
Bijijoo 13.jpg
Bijijoo 5.jpg