Republic Exclusive: Wilcox Raphael

My name is Wilcox Raphael, a native of Otuasega and Otakeme communities in Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa State.

I’m the Firstborn of a family of 6. My Dad is a Pharmacist and my Mom a Businesswoman.
My Creative journey has been rather fascinating as my Dad never wanted his first son to be an artist, I realized early that I had a thing for Art even though I wasn’t being taught in my Secondary school but my Dad wanted a doctor for a son so He couldn’t comprehend that his son would rather be making greetings cards and art designs instead of focusing on his chemist store.

I remember vividly how he would pack my materials and designs and throw them away only for me to find a way and make some more. He would insist on me reading my books every day but I was rather drawn to more practical and technical activities,

I remember making a comprehensive Sketch pad showing the skeletal system, and all the bones, joints, and other relevant diagrams in Biology then.

I got into the University of PortHacourt to study Medicine through the Basic program in 2004/2005, but my cutoff mark wasn’t enough so I went for Biomedical technology instead because I couldn’t stay off Arts, I was losing focus, and wasn’t doing well in my exams, I requested for a change of course from my Dad but instead, I got grounded at home that I wasn’t serious with school cos I had several carry-overs, and if I refused and left for school I would be responsible for myself, I wasn’t ready for that so I stayed. His words weresend you Back, until then you’ll be at home”.

2years passed and I couldn’t wait anymore so I decided to go back on my own, got admitted the first time but the school I registered for fine Art decided not to register me since I was the only candidate writing the subject, remember my school wasn’t offering the subject so they felt it wasn’t necessary but it was compulsory for jamb so I missed that year.

Wilcox Raphael  in 3 piece
Wilcox Raphael
Wilcox Raphael Image
Wilcox Raphael

I decided to open a small Art studio since Art was all I had, I took it upon myself to be the best and try one more time when I had saved some money

Wilcox Raphael

I registered for jamb and WACE the following year and got admitted only for the school authority to say I was going to be moved to another department cos I added mathematics in my jamb and it wasn’t allowed, at that time I was already doing contract jobs for the school, I already decorated Ebitimi Banigo hall twice, did 2 big birthday greetings cards for my HOD (Prof. Chukwuegu) and my Dean then, plus other jobs for the department so I felt I was at advantage and they would consider me, I went to all the offices but they all claimed they couldn’t help.

I was smart and determined to study fine art and prove my Dad wrong so I wrote jamb again while I was still trying to sort things out, I got admitted the 3rd time into fine and applied Arts, my course mates were already 2years ahead of me by this time, I wasn’t going to let the feeling of being behind or anything else stop me cos I know everyone knew I was unusually good.

I couldn’t finish my clearance on time cos of some financial restraints so I prepared my mind that I wouldn’t mind paying the 50% extra as it was for late payment but when I finally got the cash, I was told they had just stopped the increment thing, that one’s the deadline was passed the admission was lost, I tried everything I could but I lost that too.

I decided to just go get a diploma in the chartered institute of commerce but wasn’t successful too.

Everything and everyone was looking at me like a failure but I knew I wasn’t so I had more people to prove wrong, I had to prove to them that I wasn’t. My dad hated me literally at this point cos it really seemed like I wasn’t serious with my life and he had other children to train.

Wilcox Raphael
Wilcox Raphael

I decided to open a small Art studio since Art was all I had, I took it upon myself to be the best and try one more time when I had saved some money

I started selling some gift items and meeting the Art needs, making signboards, banners, decorating churches, and customizing shirts for free, sometimes I would get appreciate but I truly wasn’t doing it for the money then cos I knew I needed to practice if I really wanted to be the best plus I was making more friends and staying out from trouble through this.

I decided to go fully into the business so I saved up some money, borrowed 150k extra, and traveled to Aba to buy more art materials, frames, and gift items for sale but the car I boarded got robbed and I received a bullet on that faithful day, I lost my goods but God kept my life cos He had plans for me.

In 2019 I decided to try going to school again, took jamb, got admitted at NDU, most people believed I was doing my master’s degree cos I was freakishly good only for me to have more financial issues, then the day I was supposed to write my GES courses came only for me to find out that the date had been changed earlier and I wasn’t aware, my course mates couldn’t tell me too, that they thought I knew, and I promised myself that I was going to have a first-class with no carry-over, now the exams just started and I’m already having 2 carry-overs, I realized then that I was wasting time trying to go to school, maybe school wasn’t my thing.

Now I’m business-minded because I realize also that there are others like me that have probably had worse or still do, maybe I can still Inspire them by being successful in my Arts.

I know how productive Art can be with the right resources made available, getting the right tools and resources to make my Art has always been an issue so I asked for help from my leaders in politics since they know how good and professional my works are through the several jobs I’d done for them through the years.

I have made several 4ft, 5ft, and 6ft greetings cards for President Goodluck, King A.J. Turner, Hon Chief Mitema Obordor, Hon Egain Ebiango, Governor Dickson, Chief Timipre Sylva, Hon Tonye Isenah, Deputy Gov Jonah, Governor SDD and so many other high profile politicians,
I’ve decorated Ayala hotels, Ebiis Hotels banquet hall, Matho Chrystal hotels, Nengi’s place, and several other halls for weddings, shows, and other classic events.

I have printed several hundreds of Caps and shirts for campaigns and church programs including 31st night with pastor Chris, Independence day celebration, reach out Nigeria, 5 nights of glory, etc.

My Family motivates me so much, my Mom especially, my siblings and my Dad too, cos I know they have no one to support them financially but they always had my back even when it wasn’t convenient for them, and my Dad making me understand that I had to be stronger if I wanted to be anything in this life.
Now I realize that I wouldn’t be this strong mentally, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, and physically if he went easy on me.

Wilcox Raphael
Wilcox Raphael

So many young boys and girls at home so believe in me that I can’t afford to not succeed, several parents come to me about their children, how they would like me to teach them,
The thought of not failing all these people and my family alone gives me excess motivation to keep pushing until my plans work.
Now my Creativity is on a professional level and I don’t enjoy making simple Artworks, I pride myself in being a Creative Problem solver, I derive so much pleasure making my own Art and Crafts now, I believe I’m a genuine Creator, I’m functioning on the Capacity of God’s word that says He created man in His image and likeness if this is true and I believe it is then I see no reason I should have any limitations in my Creativity.

My Pastor, David Ibiyeomie, and other of my Creative friend Inspire me so much, I see how consistent and persistent they are in their different areas of expertise, they never back down for any reason, seeing them make progress no matter how small makes me want to do more to support them creatively since I can’t financially so I decided to expand my plans so I can accommodate everyone Creative in Bayelsa State.

Right now in working on a project that is bigger than my present capacity so I decided to make a Proposal for An ULTRA-MODERN ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTRE in Bayelsa State (UMAC Centre), an Incentive Facility equipped with updated world-class tools, machinery, and resources to aid and support Artists, Craftsmen and other creatives of Bayelsa Origin in making, creating, producing and trading Made in Bayelsa Creative contents and products.

I would say my magic-making formula is in my Calligraphy and instant branding on any surface and my fact response to provide solutions to problems verbally as I don’t see the unavailability of money as a limitation.

My advice for young people looking to delve into the Creative industry is for them to do everything in their power to be the best in their area of Creativity or be the first in whatever they want to venture into, Consistency, progress, and integrity should never be compromised for any reason. Succeed is sure !!

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2 Comments

  • Igrubia Oscar
    9 months ago Reply

    A great and inspiring story from Mr. Raphael

  • Rotr. Amuchi Joshua
    4 months ago Reply

    Wow 😮
    You’re great with an inspiring story.
    This also a motivation to Everyone out there. Also it stand as a very great development for the people of Bayelsa State and By the grace of God Nigeria in general.

    Wish you the best sir. Greater height

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