Born in 1966 in Enugu, east of Nigeria, Gerry Nnubia hails from Ihiala in Anambra State, and was raised in the line of discipline and morality by parents who were both school teachers and staunch adherents of the Catholic faith. He was a country child who drew on the walls at home with charcoals from the kitchen, and sketched in the sands with sticks for the lack of proper art materials at his disposal shortly after the Nigerian Civil War. At secondary school he soon distinguished himself in designing banners, drawing cartoons and illustrations used as teaching aids. Expectedly, Gerry studied Visual art at the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Enugu, where he was not only taught the fundamentals, but how to improvise to communicate meaning. This laid the foundation for what would become the hallmark of his art–the tendency to deviate.
Gerry Nnubia was also taught briefly at the Auchi Polytechnic in 1988 where he researched extensively on the use of colour in painting. Despite his closeness and interaction with his contemporaries in Lagos, mainly from the strongly figurative Yaba school, Nnubia found it necessary to seek alternative forms of expressing reality to ultimately match his artistic impulse. He so evolved the 'Acrylic Flow' technique after a 10 year experiment in his search for expressions that consummately appeal to his impulse as his depth of creativity might have offered, especially by means not necessarily bound by convention.
In the Flow Technique, different wet colours were flown on the surface of the canvas to create some effects germane to the formation and representation of certain concepts. Essentially, acrylic formed the foundation for other applications which at different stages, were exposed to certain warm temperature to ensure a level of dryness that allowed for severalcolours (of acrylic or oil) to flow together in a mix with the intensity of each largely retained. The steps involved in the flow however, were not quite ordered from the start, but rather established after series of trials and errors. The basic idea of ‘a liquid’ flow was the driving force, an idea which emanated from Gerry’s use of watercolour(during his Auchi Polytechnic days). Fascinated by the easy flow and mix of watercolour, it was convenient for him to locate acrylic, another water base paint, as a desirable medium with bolder impression since watercolour medium proved acutely “flimsy”.
Oil on its own, presented some complexities; it was difficult, if not impossible, to be flown entirely as a medium to derive the desired effect Gerry sought in the interpretation of his subject and theme. The base for oil is turpentine or kerosene, either of which is lighter liquid than water, and this ensured a reduced intensity of individual colours mixed in the flow, or resulted to their outright transformation to such a morbid colour as smudged gray. There was also the concern that oil took time to dry, and by itself, would not conform to the stages and process of the flow technique, since intervals of transitions required appreciable level of dryness of earlier application. Oil and acrylic synthesis however, offered a middle course - themixed-media flow. Here, oil was applied on acrylic surface with already formed motif, and was pertinent in forming some kind of texture under certain temperature as finishing. This was the only way Gerry could manipulate oil in his new found flow. Acrylic provided everything that eluded other paints; enduring luxuriant colours which retained intensity in a mixed fluid consistency even in variants or fused with oil under an arranged condition, all on the canvas. Given that acrylic dried faster also, the spontaneity of Gerry’s rendering was gratified, especially if the preconditions of his creative process are clearly analyzed.
Like most artists, Gerry’s works are inspired by thoughts of some experiences; certain occurrences, developments and situations. These fragmented thoughts, in his own peculiar way, are usually conceptualized and enlarged to form a conclusive picture in his subconscious - a deep process that might take months or years to develop, hence constitute fundamentally the difficult part of his creative process, while the interpretation of the concepts on his canvas is relatively simple and takes less time to achieve.