Kevin Hart inspired an internet feel-good story by buying a young Nigerian artist’s portraits

Thumbs up from Hart.
Thumbs up from Hart.
Image: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
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Drawing portraits of celebrities and tagging them on Twitter and Instagram in the hope they see it is a common marketing trick for aspiring artists.

But given the manic speed of social media interactions where an A-list celebrity can get ten of thousands of mentions, the chances of getting a response of any kind is pretty slim—unless you’re lucky as Eli Waduba Yusuf, a Nigerian hyperrealism pencil artist. Waduba’s celebrity muse was Kevin Hart, arguably Hollywood’s hottest comedian at the moment. By itself, the hyperrealistic portrait of Hart proved striking enough to gain attention on Twitter but then things took an even better turn.

Getting a retweet or a like from a tagged celebrity is considered success but having your tweet quoted, getting an order for the portrait and being commissioned for three more, all in one swoop, is earth-moving stuff if you’re a 26-year old artist in northern Nigeria.

Beyond getting paid (Waduba has confirmed to CNN he’s already in talks with Hart), his work has already received significant mileage as Hart’s tweet has been retweeted nearly 100,000 times. Waduba’s success is also a win for Nigeria’s growing community of hyperrealism artists who have not shied from showcasing their work on social media.

Back in 2016, in similar social media-inspired success, Oresegun Olumide, a hyperrealism oil painter saw his work go viral thanks to Facebook, and received offers to exhibit them in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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