On our #OutsyderHustle hunt this week, we met up with Samskiddo L’artiste also known as Samuel Thiongo. He is an artist who by virtue of his passion has been able to learn all it takes to be a superb artist. He has the ability to do a variety of art styles and on different mediums. He uses oil paints when it comes to realism, acrylics in abstraction, graphite and charcoal when it comes to portraits. These are art languages that art lovers come to learn according to how they like their work done. He has a small art gallery called Peupe Art Gallery based in Eldoret where he works with two artists.
He terms himself as an ‘art-entrepreneur’. This is because he sells drawings and paintings on a daily basis as part of his income generating hustle. Samuel has been doing art from way back in primary school. He sold his first painting while in high school and that has been his motivation ever since. He says he never does it just for the money but because of the passion he has for art. “Art is something that runs in my DNA”, Samuel says. He tells us one cannot do art if he or she only focuses on the money and is not driven by the passion.
The art sector in Kenya has been seen to be appreciated over time. When international artists come to Kenya they normally have their portraits drawn by some of these Kenyan artists. Although we are not at the level where European countries stand in terms of art, at least the skill is being appreciated. Samuel tells us that paintings can go for more than 250,000 Kenyan shillings depending on who is buying. “A person who appreciates art will pay more than even one million depending on how good the work is done and if it soothes their soul”, Samuel says.
Getting into the drawing and painting business is not as hard as people think. It’s actually something that a person can do at home as they try to find their footing in the market. Most artists start by selling their works of art to their friends and family. As the market grows, they venture into an art gallery and slowly by slowly start minting good cash from the trade. If one works hard to advance in their trade, they end up showcasing their artwork in more developed art galleries.
Artists too undergo a lot of challenges before they get that final breakthrough. Patience is key. If one is never patient with the process then making it in the industry becomes really hard. As much as one’s art may not pay immediately, they should trust the process and know that their day will come. Appreciation is also a challenge that most artists get. A lot of people normally see art as just a thing people do to pass time. The mentality is slowly changing and we can see the increasing appreciation of works of art.
Samuel advises all those who want to do art and have a passion for it to just start. One does not have to wait for inspiration to be able to draw. One just has to draw. He says art does pay well and with patience, practice, hard work and determination one will get the best out of the skill.
For more information on the grind grab a copy of The Outsyder in The Nairobian every Friday.