Amoako Boafo paints flesh with his fingers. “This lack of instrumental barrier sets me free and diffuses a barrier between myself and the subject. I am able to connect with the subject in a more intimate way, which allows me to create an expressive skin tone. I don’t think this type of stroke can be achieved by a brush,” the artist explains. He’s described his portraits as self reflection focused on identity, and challenging preconceived notions.
The visceral attraction and veritable overnight success of Boafo’s paintings can be attributed to how he activates intimacy when he applies physical, unmediated pressure to his figures, caressing their likeness into actualization with swirling, sinewy gestures. The complexity of emotion is rawly visible.
Boafo grew up and studied in Accra, Ghana before moving to Vienna for love and grad school. Though he already had a handle on his style and sold commissions, he was turned away from the prejudiced galleries of conservative Austria. In choosing to enroll at the Academy of Arts, Vienna, Boafo embarked on a goal to develop a network.