Ed Wainaina is an illustrator and art content creator. He spoke about his craft.
- How can we nurture future animators’ skills?
There’s a lot that can be done. Every day, new ways of communicating emerge in the animation industry. Thanks to social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Behance, animators are able to learn through audiovisual tutorials and perfect their craft.
- Who are some of your favourite Kenyan artists?
Jeffery Onyango who I regularly chat with on how to improve my art, Kabue, whose charcoal portraits are the most beautiful in the world, Wisetwo, whose attention to patterns in his murals is amazing, Bankslave, who inspires me to believe that art can take you to different counties, and Naney Chelwek who has a unique style of drawing women using bright colours and crazy patterns.
- Should artists strive to make money from their art? Why do some of them struggle to do so?
Certainly. Otherwise they’ll end up starving. Everyone needs to make their daily bread one way or another. And honestly, being a poorly paid artist can be quite demoralising.
“Exposure” is a word that has been used repeatedly in the creative industry to trick artists to avoid paying them. Artists need both the exposure and their dues too.
I believe that any artist who isn’t keen on the business aspect of his trade just hasn’t found the right mentor. When I started out, I was also groping in the dark. I had a deep desire to learn from my rich idols in the international creative field, and I frequently reached out to them through emails.
With the internet, there are now even more sites to visit. Artists can access content from a wide variety of local and international artists and find out how to price their artworks properly.
- Are you self-made or school taught? Can visual talent be learnt in school?
I’m a self-taught artist. I went to the University of Nairobi and studied my two passions – art and design.
Talent can definitely be learnt. Anyone can learn as long as they have ambition and an interest.
- If you were not a painter or illustrator, what would you be?
A psychologist. I love how the human mind works. I’m learning to understand people’s behaviours more every day. Also, I would participate in creating awareness on mental health.