The creative industry is just now starting to find its legs, though wobbly; it is well on its way to become a leading source of income for Gambian youth. The creative industry enables us all to explore and express our individuality in many forms from creative writing, photography, branding, communications, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV, blogging, Vlogging to simply, being an Instagram model or influencer.
Meet Yusupha Njie, also known as Papisco. As a freelance creative and expert graphic designer his services include the art of “visual communication through the use of typography, photography, iconography and illustration”, and branding. A man of few words, he lets his artistry speak for him.
Tell us your story. Who is Yusupha Njie?
An introvert. A freelance creative based in The Gambia. A few years ago, I met a Senegalese designer who introduced me to the Adobe world and I never looked back. Along the way, I picked up a camera as a hobby, met a friend (STS) and here, we are today. Although, I don’t like being called a photographer because I’m not there yet, it’s still a hobby.
You are one of Gambia’s most celebrated photographers and graphic designers, What led you to discovering this passion?
I wouldn’t say I was inspired to become a designer and photographer. I was just inspired by the art in general. My dad owned those vintage cameras and I always had it in my hands. I was really interested in architecture. I never thought photography or design was something, I would eventually do. So I’ll say it’s basically love for art in general led me to discover this passion.
What’s a typical day in the professional life of Papis?
Lol! “ Professional ”! Normally, I wake up, pick up my phone and check my emails and msgs etc. Then I do the usual morning routines like everyone else and head over to the kitchen. I have breakfast with my mum everyday, and then take a look at my to do list to start my day.
How have your creative outlets(areas of focus, approach etc.) changed and evolved over the years?
Social Media has definitely become one of the biggest ways for utilizing photography as a means for marketing, and with that obviously, increases the need for photographers and creatives. I, try to learn more about what’s trending, my analytics, how to tailor my gallery with certain palettes, and aesthetics; I use all of this to my advantage.
The creative industry is in its infancy in Gambia, what do you think is needed to make it a lucrative entrepreneurial avenue?
The problem is that everyone is trying to become a famous influencer and Instagram star. I, think our industry is already being damaged as “ likes and followers ” now run the scene rather than passion and creativity. I think creatives should do more research on using their platforms to collaborate and learn from each other, understand how to monetise their content rather than seeing the next guy as a competitor. You are representing yourself; you’re representing your product. You are your only competition. The thing I don’t like about it is, I wish people would drop their egos. Accept criticism, if anything I’ve learned in photography or anything creative, if your friends don’t critic and have some input in your work, you’ll never grow.
What’s one project that you feel most proud of, and why?
With logo design, there’s various projects I’m proud of and I can’t pinpoint a particular one out of the lot, but some of the logo designs I’m most proud of are charity based designs. With photography, I would say having two superstars on my hit list ( Youssou Ndour & Chronixx ).
Is there something you’ve always wanted to work on, but haven’t gotten to yet? A“dream project” you’ve always had on your mind?
Not sure, I like not knowing what comes next.
What’s your vision for your brand? In the next five years, where do you see yourself and your work?
New York, Times Square ! Insha’Allaah
The Our Stories, Our Way Fast Three!
1. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
GIMS – 10/10
2. If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and why?
Antonio Gaudi. I wanna pick his brain and ask him questions about La Sagrada.
3. What’s your best advice to young graphic designers?
Do a lot of research, look at other photographers and creatives, and see what you find interesting. You could easily just pick up a camera or download a software and then get frustrated. Try to think of a different way to do what they are doing. Or create something completely unique. Every single person in the world has been influenced by someone else. Every artist has been influenced by another artist. It’s an evolution, it doesn’t mean that you are copying someone. Learn and read everyday, make YouTube your friend! I’m an alumni of YouTube.