Perliks is Not Afraid to Embrace Unconventionality

Abdulrasaq Adebayo Babalola popularly known by his production name, A Perliks Definition, forged into the video direction industry at 17. Prior to this, he was just a young boy with dreams of being a footballer, and at certain periods, a doctor and pilot, “I always wanted to be a footballer growing up. Then I wanted to be a doctor, but I stopped because I was scared of syringes. I considered being a pilot after that, but I dumped that eventually due to my phobia for heights.” He had no particular desire to pursue video direction until he was orchestrated into his father’s already existing video directing career.

Abdulrasaq’s father, TELEMOON, is a veteran video director with most of his video direction credits tied to Fuji music and artists. One day, he called Abdulrasaq to accompany him to his shoot location, and that stamped the beginning of Perliks career. Under his father, he began learning video editing and progressed into video directing, “My dad is a video director and I grew up knowing he directed videos for Fuji musicians. Then one day, he just came and told me to follow him to an office in Mushin where I started learning from him. I started with video editing. Mainly Fuji music.”

“So when people ask me why photography? Why video directing?  I always tell them it’s a fluke. I didn’t plan to be any of that. I always wanted to be a footballer, but following my dad to his shoots changed my career direction. In fact, the way I started videography and photography is quite different from how the majority of people learned theirs. I learned mine like it was a mechanic job.”

Perliks started video directing in 2012 by directing music videos for his friends. This was a year after he started learning videography under his father. Not too long after this, he got bored and steered his wheel into photography with the sole aim of creating impact, “Along the line, video directing got boring and I wanted to do more so I started photography,” he said. “I promised myself I was going to make a statement with my photography and I did that.”

Greed by Perliks
Discomfort by Perliks

For Perliks, the impact was infusing his craziness into his works in proving photography is as solid as other forms of art, “In Nigeria, I think photography is not really seen as art. Most people think it’s all about shooting, but I wanted to prove that photography is more than that. I wanted to show that photography can be amazing too. And you can be crazy and still be a photographer.”

Destruction by Perliks

Years after, Perliks is a fulfilled artist with groundbreaking works that have earned him worldwide recognition and features in Reuters, BBC, WION, CBC, and elsewhere. 

Perliks most acclaimed project, “Plastic Angel” was created in 2021 out of his thirst to impact the world. The ingenious idea was dedicated to creating awareness about the negative effect of plastic pollution. “Much of the planet is swimming in discarded plastic, which is harming animals and human health. There is no silver bullet to solve this crisis; however, we unquestionably can do more to manage this plastic pollution. The “Plastic Angel” project was inspired by BENJAMIN VON WONG. Von Wong is a viral creative whose art focuses on telling epic stories through surreal photography and videography experiences. The inspiration for this piece came to me in 2019 while watching the film “Dominion”. There was a specific scene in which a majestic angel graced the screen. At that moment, I had an epiphany to create a visual that resembled that angel with plastic instead, to bring awareness to plastic pollution.”

Together with his team of 100 volunteers, Perliks brought “Plastic Angel” to life with 5,000 plastics. This he tags ‘the most creative picture out of Nigeria’.

Plastic Angel by Perliks

He further breaks down peculiar traits embodied in the “Plastic Angel”. “The image shows an angel with wings made of plastic materials and decorative lights to beautify the wings. The angel is wearing an oxygen mask, representing the angel’s struggle to breathe amidst all of the rubbish surrounding it. The decorative lights symbolise the ways plastic is beneficial, while the oxygen mask symbolises the adverse effects of plastic waste. In conclusion, while plastic is beautifying the angel, it is also harmful to her.”

A few months back, a year after the “Plastic Angel’s” birth, Perliks jogged our memories in a series of tweets, addressing still the harsh reality of the world’s plastic pollution crisis. “Looking at how flooded everywhere is and the disasters that come with it reminds me of why I did the “Plastic Angel” Project. It is easy to blame the government, I mean it helps us all sleep at night but beyond the government, there is people’s problem. A large majority of us have chosen the drainage system ( the gutters and canals) as our dumping site. We throw in inorganic waste like bottles, nylons, plastic and other material which then go ahead and block the flow of water which in turn causes these waters to flood our streets.” He tweeted.

Following these tweets was a call to action for everyone to collectively contribute to the improvement of the ecosystem and join the fight against plastic pollution, “The government has failed to have proper drainage systems in some areas and also they have refused to create or enforce policies to prevent people from being unruly, this is why we all need to come together and do the right thing on our own. The campaign against plastic is not just for quality aquatic life but a quality life for us all. Please dispose of your waste properly, don’t litter or throw waste in gutters and canals.” He urged the general public.

His pinned tweet on Twitter which is a video compilation of a series of his works depicting the before, and the process to the after of each project, has garnered over a million views. 

Recently, Perliks co-directed what is arguably the best music video of 2022 with singer Blaqbonez for his single, Back in Uni off the Young Preacher album. The video, which was a parody of music videos from artists Wizkid, Burna Boy, Oxlade, Ayra Starr Carter Efe, Portable, BNXN and Ruger, took many on a humorous ride and sparked interesting comments in the creative scene. 

Blaqbonez and Perliks

In reference to his role in the direction, Perliks blew his trumpet, “I’m going to drop humility here. I did an amazing video direction with Back In Uni. Although Blaqbonez developed most of the idea for the video, I’m so sure the execution and the little details from my end perfected the idea. For the process, Blaqbonez suggested the imitated artists and I suggested using the exact outfit and location as the artists in their original music videos. I also engineered the transitions.” This goes on to show the essence of collaboration in the creative scene especially when two crazy minds merge their creative prowess. 

Looking at Perliks’ achievements, one would imagine him to have a critical creative process, but the unconventional artist has found his style in being carefree and playful and has zero will to conform to the ideal expectation, “For me, I don’t like to plan.” He said. 

“When I tell my friends I have an idea, they don’t doubt it. They never second-guess my abilities. This is why I say I’m one of the craziest photographers from Nigeria. A lot of people tell me to conform. They tell me to have a creative process but I always tell them no because that’s not me. I just want to play. Playing allows my creative juices to flow abundantly. That’s how I like to work, with the vibe. I’ve tried to change and be normal, but I’ve realised my craziness works best for me.”

Perliks on set

10 years down the line, despite the rough beginnings, and Perliks’ unwavering desire to impact the world, he declares himself a successful creative. ”Success for me is impacting life positively and making enough money. So yes, I’m successful. I’ve had people claim I changed their lives, asked me to be their mentor, and say they want to be like me. That’s me impacting life positively, giving people the will to do more and encouraging them to create crazily without second guessing their ideas.”

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