Meet 10 young game-changers who are united by the same mindset: it’s your path, you can create it. They are singers, songwriters, artists and presenters; graphic designers, rappers, fashion designers and gig promoters. You haven’t heard of them yet, but you will. They are the future. First up is artist and graphic designer Design Butler.
TEJ ADENUGA (AKA DESIGN BUTLER)
FROM: Stratford, via Nigeria.
IS: Artist, graphic designer, creative renegade.
HIS STORY: After moving to the UK in 2010, Tej started designing his own clothes at school. “I used my lunch money to pay for it,” he says of how he funded his first foray into fashion, a one-off printed T-shirt. “I went hungry that week, but I wore that T-shirt every day!” He went on to have his own clothing line, Hypethrash Studios, but has since ditched it to focus on his art. His work is made up of clean line drawings of women, inspired by the sleek German Bauhaus movement of the 1920s. “I like the way they simplified life,” says Tej, who uses black ink pens to replicate images he finds on Tumblr.
WHY HE’S INSPIRING: Tej’s parents tried to get him to focus on science, but instead he followed his passion and studied graphic design at Ravensbourne art college. His body-positive artwork has featured in two exhibitions – including Replica, which is on now at the Truman Brewery in east London. And it’s set social media on fire, with fans across the world showing their love in extreme ways. “There’s several people with tattoos of my work,” says Tej. “I don’t know who they are! I’ve just seen shots online.” Another fan is rapper Tinie Tempah who contacted Tej through social media and has asked him to be his creative director. “Every day is a wow moment. Right now I have to go to South Africa to work with Tinie on his new video.”
HIS FUTURE IS: “Simple.”
Tej will present a new perspective on his Replica II exhibition at adidas Originals futurehouse, at BL-NK in east London, on March 21 and 22