We had the good fortune of connecting with Dotun Abeshinbioke and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dotun, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m Nigerian, grew up in London and I am now based in New York City. My West African background heavily influences my personal work, from photography to fashion to graphic design. I also explore West African themes in my work through hair, beauty, culture and use of everyday objects. Growing up in London, I attended an arts high school, which allowed me to dabble in different design mediums. Predictably, we learned about predominantly white artists. This naturally led to me jumping at every opportunity to create something I could relate to and that would be accessible to other West Africans.

Growing up in a household full of entrepreneurship and women, made a huge impact in how I run my business. By definition I am a third culture kid. Experiencing my culture in different environments has pushed me to make space for my design style in any project I work on.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being able to play in different disciplines is what makes me different. I can create a photo series, a set design, and a poster graphic in the same week, while still exploring the same themes that are a driving force in my work. Getting where I am today definitely was not easy. I had to learn what it means to be a professional in those fields. What it looks like to professionally run a design studio, be a designer and a freelancer.

Some of my biggest challenges during my journey were overcoming imposter syndrome, and the feeling that the design world was not a place i could conquer while keeping true to my artistic interest – especially because my design studio caters to african people telling african stories through their brands.

Along the way I am learning by heavily studying the industry. Discovering myself as an artist, and what I wanted to do professionally versus what I wanted to keep personal was key. Learning about being business minded when it came to doing design work, money, and making sure I’m making profit in the work I’m doing was also essential.

Some lessons I’d love to share are, the beginning is always rough and there will always be mistakes no matter what so you may as well enjoy the journey. Also, before all else I am and always will be a student. Being open to learning new skills and brushing up on old ones in an ever changing industry is important.

I want the world to know I am proud of starting my design studio during the pandemic and being able to support myself as a full time creative.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

When seeing my friends I like to be mindful of our energy exchange. Some say the stomach is the window to the soul so to maintain high vibrations, I would take them to African Kine for lunch, an amazing Senegalese restaurant in Harlem. I usually get the dibi lamb and jollof rice with ginger juice. Chatting over a wholesome meal can be a bit draining, to recharge we’d go back to my place to take a nap and recover before going to St. Mark’s street. St. Marks is a pretty cool street with tons of local businesses. We’d finish the night off looking at the skyline view in Dumbo, a lively area at the edge of Brooklyn.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Chineme – @chi.neme – Love her design style and use of color, when it comes to design we just get each other lol

Website: abike.studio.com

Instagram: @abike.studio

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.