“I was looking through the photographs I had taken, and found this photo of an older woman, a headshot, just looking straight into the lens,” he remembered. “And she had some tears in her eyes. And I don’t know why, but that image caught my attention and I stared at it for a long time. I tried to recreate that image 6 or 10 times. I was trying to get at that feeling, that feeling when I first saw the image. This is what really got me into figurative painting, and from there, I started exploring more portraits.”
During this period, Quaicoe befriended a woman named Jessica on Facebook, who worked at a law firm but also had a burgeoning passion for photography. One year, at the Chale Wote Street Art festival in Ghana, Jessica visited Quaicoe for the first time; they went around Accra taking pictures together. They kept in touch for some time and formed a close relationship—Jessica returned to Ghana for Quaicoe’s birthday, and he visited her in Portland, Oregon, where she lives. Though he was hesitant to visit at first—“The U.S. was not a country that I wanted to come to”—he enjoyed the life he found there. Soon thereafter, the two eloped and Quaicoe decided to stay in Portland, where he has lived since 2017.