Great things happen when people connect in a milieu where everyone shares their talent and supports their passions. In the realism we live in everyday, creativity knows no limits when astuteness is collaborative. Ideally when a child is born the greatest joy a parent has is in seeing their child triumph.
This is no different for Mary Wangui mother to Brian Wainaina, who confesses that parenting is tough. “Being a single mother is challenging but I thank God for helping me endure the setbacks. Four months after the father figure left, I had to take up the responsibility of raising my son. At age five, I started noticing his love for art.” Mary says
A visit to the thriving Industrial town of Kikuyu, 30km from Nairobi where the vibrant young man hails from would not give room for guesses in relation to art. Wainaina now at the verge of starting up an art company has embraced his talent.” For me no success comes easy, people say that the shoes you wear are the first things people subconsciously notice about you but no, for me I believe your achievements are what count.” He says
The 24 year old Wainaina explains his tough journey to success. “When I was a little boy, my mum would go out for casual jobs and I would be left sketching at home and that is how I noticed something about me and art.” He says
He recalls selling samples of his copied pictures from the then comic magazine supa strikers. “I loved going to school because the little coins I used to get from the sales enabled me to buy drawing books without bothering my mum’’ he adds on.
His greatest motivation comes from young artists who have made it in life. He hopes to win an International award someday. “My mum’s attitude towards life that nothing is too great or too big for you to achieve keeps me going.” He says
“For me art means everything to me. It helps pay my bills as well as to grow myself.”
“I charge my art depending on the size; A5 framed goes at Sh1, 000, A4 framed at Sh1400, A3 framed at Sh2000, A2 framed at 4,000. The price is also determined by the type of wood used on the frame.” Adds Wainaina
“At school I draw pictures of close friends who just give me an appreciation fee. My main focus at the beginning was not to make money. I wanted to first create awareness of my art among my peers. “He says
10 years in the business, Wainaina has no regrets. In a good month he is able to make Sh30, 000 which helps pay his house rent and cater for his upkeep.
“Just like any other venture, there are setbacks that come my way; managing cash flow, gaining publicity, the fact that people deem art as cheap which is not the case and the greatest of all was losing my business partner. Samson Wamui was not just any friend, my best friend.”
The kind of friend that is family. “We lived together, went to school together, vacationed together etc. he had a passion for music and poetry so when I was busy drawing he was also busy drafting lyrics.” He says
“His death was a big blow to me in April, 2016. Especially considering that I learnt about it a day later through social media. You do not really know what an experience is like until you have it yourself. Nothing hurts more than losing someone you have a planned future with.” He says
Wamui’s passing on really affected what Wainaina was doing and he had to take a break. He deferred his studies to concentrate on his business. Around the time when he made the decision to defer school, he was also dissatisfied with the course he was pursuing. Bsc. Forestry. He had first quit in 2016 but his decision at that time was an emotional one driven by depression after losing his best friend.
“We had many plans together on how we would grow our talents into something people can look up to. He was my mentor too. “He continues the narration
Navigating these challenges is a work in progress. The heart I have put into art shows the strides am making. I am not only running my business but also making use of my ardor for art.” He says
“To cap it all, the time and effort I have dedicated to the business has nurtured it and so far I thank God.” He adds on. Internet has made things that were not in the realm of possibility possible. It helps curtail restriction of exposition spaces.
“Platforms like facebook and instagram help me reach my clientele. From my posts I am able to get orders and it takes me at least a day to finish up with one depending on the size, type and quality.” adds Wainaina
Besides fine art he also does song writing which has changed his life since he majorly writes about what affects him. He took up writing from makerea as they used to call him. He also works as a freelance photographer.
Three years from now Wainaina believes he will be running an arts and design company which will be dealing majorly with interior design. “This vision is driven by my passion for art and the urge to change public perception of art.” He says
He misses the good old days when they would go to school and attend art classes and even do tests on the same. This played a big role in refining skills.
“Youths should change their outlook from job seeking to job creation based on their talents. Everyone was created and born with a unique gift that makes them priceless. It just needs discovery and focus.” Wainaina concludes.
Ends, Maureen N. Mutoroku