Name: Brian Omolo
City/Country: Nairobi, Kenya
Website : behance.net/brianomolo
Brian Omolo lives and works in Nairobi, working as an illustrator and graphic designer.
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
Well Viongozi is a series of portraits that I wanted to work on mostly because it’s a relevant topic, everyones mind is on elections, everyone is thinking about these faces. I think s an artist I was attracted to that.. the fact thats its so relevant and also project prodived me the freedom to push my boundaries and go as far as I wanted to go. Hopefully it’ll get people to appreciate a different style of design. This project was very different from my past work because it’s the first one I’ve done that’s based politics. Its also the first time gone into this much detail, with the hand drawn graphics into the faces so I’m very happy with how it came out.
How did you decide to become an artist?
I think I’ve always been an artist its always been something that I’ve enjoyed doing even from high school times. But I its my time in University that realy opened my eyes to it and inspired me to make it a career. I always wanted to do something that I was passionate about, I didn’t ever want to be bored. I didn’t ever want to feel like I was in a chemistry class again heheheJ
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Be yourself, do you, do the kind of work that only you can do. People want to see your vision, you don’t have to be too smart, you don’t have to try to be too funny. Stay true to yourself be passionate about your craft and it’ll always show in your work. Your personality is yours alone no one else can do you or see things the way you see things, so if find a way to sort of bring your vision into what you do I think that’s what people are facinated with the most and that’s what gets people’s attention in a good way.
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sellyour work? How do you market yourself?
To be honest I never sold my art, I think this will be the 1st time I’ve sold my artwork but I do have an online portfolio. I do have a profile on behance which has really helped get the word out there. I’ve had a lot of freelance jobs, my 1st job, projects and collaborations which have come because of I put myself out there behance. The internet is definetly you biggest friend and you have to take advantage of it to the fullest. There are sites like www.society6.com, www.zazzle.com & http://www.etsy.com which are soooo awesome for selling digital artwork online, so Im also planning to set up an online shop where people can buy my stuff. Also just good old fashioned networking, meet people have a friendly chat let them see what you do and if you smell an opportunity coming up pounce on itJ Most people appreciate that kind of eagerness and passion.
Who are some of the Nairobi/ Kenyan artists you enjoy?
Actually im quite bad at following the local art scene I’m more into digital art, if I was to name a few who I like defintely guys like Jim Chuchu, Chilli Mango, Bonk.co.ke, Mutua Matheka photography, also other friends like Kevin Karanja.. young guy but extremely talented in what he does. Lukas Makau very good at graphic design.
If I were to follow you around to see art in Nairobi, which placeswould we go? What would we see?
I think if I’m feeling dry or lacking inspiration I defintely like to checkout places like the Goethe institute in town.. they always have something cool happening there, cool places like West gate, Village market, Java house, Art caffe(their branding is awesssomme!), Tazama galleries, Nakumatt the cd section. These are the places that drain my pocket and feed my imagination hehe. Most times its conversations with people, life experiences or even random movie scenes that bring the most inspiration.
In addition to www.kuonatrust.org, where do you go onlinefor good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see whatis going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
Wow there are sooo many sites there so many hehe the list is endless but to begin with… I always checkout africandigitalart.com which is awesome because they big up local talent, fromupnorth.com, behance.net behance is fantastic! They have a section for everything whether your into Illustration, Branding, Interior design you name it, Its like a one stop shop. And when Im looking for creative tips and advice I go to computerarts.co.uk, digitalarts.co.uk and 99percent.org. so yeah to round them up hehe those are the ones I go to.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Hopefully, I have afew ideas on what I want to do I just need to bounce them off peoples and just see how they react, still want to play around with first before I settle into what I want to do next.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
At the moment I just want to see if I can work on a few projects in advertising hopefully, maybe some interesting collaborations. I would love to do some artworks for a clothing company like Mr Price, maybe Converse, Nike! That would be a dream come true.