I met this guy way back in 2011 when we both joined Maseno University. At first he came off as this quiet mysterious type, the kind of people I like to hang out. A very chilled out guy, I guess like most artists are, and I would say the same about his art. His art is what I like to call rich, in the sence that it actually speaks to you, it’s full of depth and emotion and honestly makes me want to pick up a pencil and try my hand at something as well. In one word I would say it is ‘inspirational’.
I got a chance to sit with him and probe his brain a little in hopes of understanding where all this came from because I look at artist the same way I look at nature, they are expressions of the Almighty. Take a look at this amazing artists story…
- If you were asked to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
In one sentence it’s a bit difficult but I like to think of myself as a modest, compassionate, patient and thoughtful and I am dedicated when it comes to achieving my goals.
- What did you dream of becoming when you were a child?
Well when growing up I always loved drawing and flipping through books especially interior design magazines so my parents bought me drawing books, pencils, color pencils and paint so my love of art started since I was a kid and I basically set myself on that path ever since. Actually I recently got some drawing books I had when I was in class three and It was an amazing experience to see my art works from that time and see what I’ve become now
- What inspires you to draw?
Before taking on a drawing project I must feel connected to the subject I’m drawing. It could be a striking figure or a beautiful face but that first glance must attract my attention then I study the subject and really think and obsess about it and the effect of it is that I pour all my emotions into the drawing. So it’s important for me to feel that connection with the picture.
- How long does one piece take to be complete?
Anything from thirty to sixty hours, I pay maximum attention to detail so that any piece will look unique and consistent with my technique
- You are one of the few artist who uses both color pencils together with ordinary lead pencils, what prompted you to mix the two?
Color was a challenge for me so I decided to experiment a bit and it eventually turned out to form part of my technique. I wanted to be stand out from other artists and it quickly attracted a lot of attention
- How do you market yourself and get people to know of your work?
This started on Facebook actually I was encouraged to post my art around 2011 by my peers. I initially started with a few drawings and then I started posting on a regular basis. By this time I had quite a following so I could get calls from various people who wanted portraits done and that is how it all started. Family and friends also commissioned portraits.
- Most artists believe that you should not follow money rather you should focus on your art, what is your take on art and money?
That’s partly true coz it’s all about following passion and love of art but if art is going to be your career path you must sustain yourself financially. That means finding a way to sell art and make money
- Do you think it is possible to make a living from art alone in Kenya?
Art is yet to take on popularity in Kenya but we are getting there, in the meantime yes it’s difficult to make a break with art in our country. Like myself I pursue art but I also do interior design I learned that art takes time before you actually establish yourself well and make sustainable income from it.
- Do you think that going to school is an important steps that artist should consider?
Education is important since it equips you with knowledge that is going to enhance your skills. Talent alone is sometimes not enough, you need to learn how to live on that talent too and the only way is by learning.
- You have sort of disappeared from the social scenes, are you on a break or are you working on something new?
That much is true I have for a while been out of the scene, I’ve been studying and practicing in interior design which is art related so I haven’t gone away completely. I am working on an art project that has taken me underground but soon I’ll be through and ready to launch in preparation for an exhibition.
- What has been your biggest lesson through this journey?
Patience and dedication to achieving your goals is very important especially in this field where it can take a long time to get a break through.
Here is a sneak peak at some of his work…
My take out of this is actually the patience it takes to produce good art, how does someone diligently take 30 to 60 hours working on a single piece?! There is no doubt that this artist is nothing but a raging storm brewing, and when it hits, it will hit hard and I can’t wait to be caught up in the middle of it, I hope you will be there with me as we are drenched in its awesomeness.
Meet the artist! To check out more of his work go to his page Art by Kariuki Ouma
As always thank you for taking the time to read, I hope this was insightful, stay tuned for more inspirational stories like this and more coming soon. And if you or any of your friends or family members are doing something that you believe would inspire others, feel free to send me an email I would love to hear and share their stories.