Name: Lionel Richie Garang
City/Country: Nairobi, Kenya
Garang is half Tanzanian,with Kenyan and Sudanese roots. He was born in Kenya and he comes from a background of artists.His mother is a fashion designer and his brother an artist. After secondary school he then started doing grafitti on p.s.v vehicles in Nairobi, Kenya, he then moved on to painting on canvas using acrylic paints. He makes sculptures using fiber glass and raisin.
- Your name is very interesting,is it an artist name or your real name?
It is my real name.Lets just say my mum was a big fan of the musician Lionel Richie. Garang was my late grand father’s name.
- Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I started out with modelling with plaster of paris and casting with fibre glass then moved on to sculpting with wood.Currently I am mixed media using wood and recycled empty spray cans.
- When did you decide to become an artist?
My love for art started when I was in primary school, I used to draw on exercise books & t shirts l I fancied the Public service vehicles because of the intricate graffiti they had.After secondary school I started doing graffiti on the vehicles in my neighborhood.
- What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
To come up with my own ideas and to always do my best.
- Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
I market myself through my facebook page ,view and my blog http://garangjnr.blogspot.com/ I have a studio at Kuona Trust where I work and sell my art from.I also participate in exhibitions, the most recent being the Friends of the Arts exhibition held at the International School of Kenya
- Who are some of the Nairobi/ Kenyan artists you look up to?
Patrick Adoyo who is the acting head of the exhibition department at the National Museum of Kenya.He has always encouraged me to work hard and shown me how to model some of the sculptures I made.Kevin Oduor, a fellow artist who is famed for making some of the magnificent sculptures in Nairobi e.g the Syokimau Sculpture at the new railway station.I have had the opportunity of working with him through some of the sculptures he has made.
- What has been your experience working at Kuona trust?
Its been very educative, I have learnt a lot form the other artists.Its also been fun, they are quite an interesting lot.I have had the chance to exhibit my work in several group shows such as the FOTA at ISK and Peace through service at the Village market.
- What are your future plans?
To come up with my own style and technique of making sculptures and probably holding an exhibition in the near future
- Advice for other upcoming artists?
Never do art because other people are doing it.Do it because you love it.Always aim at coming up with new ideas and techniques. Art is not the easiest profession,it takes time to master.