AUSTIN, Texas — Oso Ifesinachukwu wants to paint a picture – a picture that captures an experience and a picture that tells us how he feels.
“I want people to see my art and appreciate it for what it looks like, but then also look into it deeper and see the message behind it,” he said.
A former Vandegrift star and current member of the Yale football team, Ifesinachukwu knows that this moment is bigger than sports. It's why he's taking the time he'd normally be spending playing football to paint a picture of the Black experience.
“As an African American, I just remember having to put on a different way of speaking when I’m around different people and different clothes when I’m around different people, and just kind of wanting to be Black and be proud and live the true Black experience is very important. I want to express that through my art,” he said.
Ifesinachukwu is a self-taught graphite and charcoal artist.
Each composition takes more than 100 hours to finish, and each tells a story.
“With my drawing of Lupita Nyong'o, it’s about discrimination towards Black women. The title of it, ‘Erasure,’ [is because] a lot of Black existence is being erased and being suppressed,” he said.
Ifesinachukwu's portfolio includes dozens of similar messages.
He told KVUE he plans on launching a website soon so he can sell his art and then give all the proceeds to disaster relief.
"It's a tribute to my parents because they're Nigerians and they had to suffer through the Nigerian Civil War. I wouldn't be here if they didn't survive and they wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for people who gave disaster relief. It's just kind of a way to pay it forward," he said.
So at a time when coaches would normally be drawing up plays for Ifesinachukwu, it's Ifesinachukwu drawing up portraits to help others and help paint the picture of what it means to be Black in America.
"It makes me feel whole when I'm just drawing," Ifesinachukwu said.