Duo paints beauty of their business dream



Duo paints beauty of their business dream

Samuel Kariira
Samuel Kariira works on a kindergarten wall mural at Githurai 45, Nairobi. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA | NMG 

When Enterprise visited, they were busy discussing about the best colour shades for a kindergarten wall branding.

John Mburu, 45 and Samuel Kariira, 38 are two birds of the same feather, who flock together to colour and paint the world for an income.

Based in Githurai 45, Nairobi they have established themselves as paint art experts and various companies count on them to brand their products on walls. To stay ahead of their game, they are constantly thinking of a new pattern, image or technique.

“If you don’t paint or draw often, though your talent will not diminish, you will not be as good as you were. Being Dormant in this art wipes away your creativity,” says Mr Mburu, a father of three.

Initially a rice farmer, Mr Mburu discovered his talent in drawing at an early age, and took art classes after high school to learn new ideas and concepts from the best in the industry.

“After the art school, I became a domestic tourist. I wanted to see variety of beautiful sceneries and landscapes then draw and paint them for sale. A drawing fetches between Sh500 and Sh5,000 depending on the materials used, scenery and complexity of the message being relayed,” he says.

For the past 18 years, Mr Kariira has been conceptualising ideas, drawing and painting them.

He explains that art is a profession, and so many factors determine the quality of a work of art.

“You must start by creating a super idea that the client loves. Then choose the right colours. Men love black, grey and dark blue while women like pink and cream white. Kids prefer warm colours like yellow, red, pink and light green,” says Mr Kariira, a father of two.

Motivated by Italian Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa portrait, the two artists aspire to be unbeatable in their trade. They are also motivated by good earnings.

“We are paid between Sh28 and Sh45 per square foot of painted wall. Sometimes we are tasked with drawing and painting thousands of square feet, and that takes us time,” says Mr Mburu, adding that they also draw and paint portraits and caricatures.

For a school wall branding they did recently, they earned Sh80,000 each, and they paint several buildings every month.

But what are some of the hurdles in this field?

“Sometimes county governments come for licensing fee of Sh14,000 for outdoor advertising from us, yet it’s the client’s responsibility to ensure business compliance. It eats into our budget,” says Mr Kiriira

Mr Mburu cautions that during a rainy season, you will be forced to incur an extra cost of buying canvass for protecting the painting while still wet.On sunny days, while using bright colours, the light reflects on your eyes and inhibits visibility, he says.

Like any profession, the world of art is also contending with rapid advances in technology, threatening to upset the traditional way of doing things.

The two, however, are unfazed with Mr Mburu asserting that talent cannot be replaced by computers. He notes that any artist using Autocad, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator needs to be creative in the first place.

“If you’re really talented, digital art technologies only complement your inherent strengths. They can never interfere with your creativity or imagination,” says Mr Kariira.

The duo are now property owners thanks to the power of a talented hand that can craft emotions, thoughts and actions on walls, cardboards and papers in a free thinking environment.

Mr Mburu urges parents to watch out for artistic talents of their children.

“Parents should learn to give kids opportunities to shine in the art industry,” Mr Mburu says.


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