Paint, or pixels? That’s the question that Prince Gyasi wants you to ask when you see his work. “You should be confused whether it’s a painting or a photograph,” he said. “If you’re not confused, it means I failed.”
Manipulating his photos digitally to enhance or change colors, the 26-year-old Ghanaian visual artist straddles a line between artistic styles that makes him hard to label. Clashing, vibrant colours create fantastical worlds of everyday scenes in Gyasi’s work, bringing to life an alternative vision of Accra, his home city. Still early in his career, Gyasi has already worked on campaigns with Aple, shot magazine covers of supermodel Naomi Campbell and Nigerian musician Burna Boy, and was listed as one of the most in-demand artists of 2020 by online art marketplace Artsy.
Gyasi’s swift rise to fame is all the more impressive given the camera that launched his career: an iPhone. He began taking photos with a disposable camera as a child, before getting his first smartphone, a Blackberry, in high school — and finally, saving up enough to get an iPhone in 2012. Now, he uses a range of photographic equipment depending on the shoot, including film cameras, but he still has his iPhone for the right occasion.