Oboh Mosses was commissioned to do his first commercial illustration. The illustration was for the Boston Globe Sunday Book Review of the book by Clint Smith ‘How the word is passed’.
The Book highlights a tale of Black slavery, the services and sufferings of the Coloured Soldiers of the Revolution and how records of these events failed to be preserved.
It’s not a secret that I love what I do. I talk about it all the time. I go around preaching how important it is to be passionate about your work and love what you do. I’m one of the lucky ones. I have been representing illustrators for over 25 years now and couldn’t happier. One of the things I love the most about my work is discovering new talent. I get a visceral feeling in my gut that has led me to discovering some pretty amazing artists over the years.
This is how I felt when I first stumbled onto the work of illustrator by Oboh Moses.
I immediately reached out on Instagram and asked him if he was interested in being represented by our agency. I text him that I was blown away by his work and would love to take him on.
We text back and forth and I asked him where he was from. He told me Nigeria. Because of the style of the work and the subject matter he was illustrating, I assumed he was a young woman at first. I had never heard the name Oboh before. We text back and forth and I asked “him” now old he was and he text back 17, I couldn’t believe it.
We set up a Zoom call and it was only at that point that I saw to my surprise he was actually young man and a girl at all.
I was at home in my kitchen and he was in a tiny room in his modest home with 3 of his brothers around him. He moved the computer around to introduce me to them and I introduced my ten-year-old daughter to him.
When I hung up, I was more excited than ever to launch Oboh’s illustration career. I was so excited at the idea of helping him realize his goals and promised to do all that I could so that the world would see how talented he truly was.
As soon as we set up his portfolio on our website, I started to send out emails to introduce him to our clients.
A few weeks later, we got an email from the Editorial Design Director, George Patisteas of The Boston Globe who asked if Oboh was available to work on an editorial illustration for him. Oboh was thrilled and couldn’t wait to start. I’m not sure George knew this was Oboh’s first commission but I wasn’t worried he would be happy with the outcome.
I got to see the sketches and followed up to make sure all was going well. At one point, Oboh admitted to me that the fees from this one job were three times the salary of both his parents for a months work back in Nigeria. He also told me that because of this one commission, he would be able to pay for his school fees next semester.
It’s stories like these that make me love what I do. It’s such an honour to know that I can make a real difference in the lives of our illustrators and make their dreams come true. It’s also amazing to have clients like Gorge Patisteas, who are willing to follow our recommendations and take a chance on someone new. Oboh and his family will always remember this first commission.
You can see more of Oboh Mosses illustrations in his portfolio.