Eli Waduba Yusuf, a hyper-realist artist, was stunned to see his favorite comedian respond to his work, let alone buy it.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 7, 2022. It has since been updated.
When Eli Waduba Yusuf, an artist from Nigeria, posted his work of his hero online, little did he realize that Kevin Hart would reply, let alone buy the artwork from him and commission more work. Yusuf, a hyperrealist artist, said that watching his favorite comedian respond to his work felt like a "dream." Yusuf posted the image and wrote, "My name is Eli Waduba Yusuf. I am a Nigerian based in Kaduna. Am a hyperrealism pencil artist. Please Retweet, let @KevinHart4real see it, thank you." After some people retweeted to boost the visibility of the post, Kevin Hart came across the artwork, which was as good as any black and white photo, reported ABC News.
I see it and I want to purchase it...I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work! https://t.co/ImOYa0UNlL— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 27, 2019
Kevin Hart loved the portrait of him. "Talent out of this world... Wooooooooow," he replied, before telling Yusuf he wanted to commission more work from him. "I see it and I want to purchase it... I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of three of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work!" Kevin Hart's tweet garnered more than 426,000 likes. Hyperrealism is a form of art that looks like photographs and is very realistic. It is often done using charcoal and graphite. "I have watched a lot of his movies, he's my favorite comedian and I wanted to give him something as a gift as a way of saying thank you," Yusuf told ABC News.
Yusuf said it felt surreal that the comedian and actor had contacted him. "I still can't believe it; it feels like a dream. It's been so overwhelming. Kevin Hart has just blown my mind," he told BBC. Yusuf said a lot had changed in just a couple of seconds. "A few days ago I was just a local artist who loved drawing and would have loved the world to see my work, but I didn't know it would happen so fast," he said. He credited his mother for encouraging him to pursue his passion even though she herself never had an opportunity to have a formal education.
When asked about the artists that inspired him, he pointed to Arinze Stanley, a Nigerian artist, activist, photographer and engineer best known for creating hyperrealistic pencil drawings. "His work showed me the possibilities of art, so I decided that whatever I see I must replicate and do even better," said Yusuf. "I made sure that every new work I do is better than the previous one."
Stanley said he was so happy to see Yusuf's work. "I feel so graced to be able to inspire someone somewhere out there," said Stanley. "To see people win is the ultimate deal in life, you don't get a better feeling than that." Stanley offered to help Yusuf anytime in the future.
Twitter has already started speculating the three celebrity friends from whom Kevin Hart will commission artwork from Yusuf. Many already have one name penned down, which they feel is a given. "The Rock is about to have a great drawing of himself," wrote the user. "I'm waiting for him (Kevin Hart) to tell me who to draw. I will leave it up to him to decide," said Yusuf.