Dayan’s work grabs you. The vividness of the imagery he captures is rich and infectious. It captures the essence of his Kenyan heritage in a way that is at once scintillating and alarming with its sheer richness and artistic energy. If you like his work as much as I do, please share with your network, spread the images and ignite the Dayan Masinde buzz online. Scroll down for the interview below. But first, check out some of his work 🙂
CPA Interview with Dayan Masinde
cp-africa.com: Who is Dayan Masinde?
I am an all rounded artist involved in different art disciplines that compliment each other:
…Subjects vary from landscapes, imagination and portraits. My patrons have included Raila Odinga (Kenya’s Prime Minister), Joe Aketch (former Nairobi Mayor), Rev. Nii Clottey (Methodist Church Minister) plus many others. My paintings have been sold in parts of Africa, America, Britain and Australia.
VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN:
I have worked with several organizations and corporate companies in achieving their design brief objectives. My clients have included The British Council, Kenya, Integrated Tea Services, Lawrence Brown Safaris, International Couture, Institute of Surveyors of Kenya, Mondeas, IKO KAZI (Australia) and many more
Music has been a passion of mine since I was young. I composed my first song at age 14. Today, I have composed a total of 230 songs in different genres- Afro pop, lingala, zouk, RnB, Swahili serenades, Boogie Woogie, Ballads, Jazz and fusions. I also formed a band with a few friends in 2009 called LOVE REPUBLIC. We do live band performances of our own original compositions and renditions at Weddings and Corporate functions. I am currently recording my compilation album to showcase my skills in composition, arrangement, performance, production and delivery of music. I am looking out for ways of marketing, promoting and distributing my musical content.
I wrote my first poem at age 12. Today I have a total of 215 poems. I make my poems relevant, modern, inspiring, easy to read and captivating. My intentions is to publish poetry books.
Since my Primary School days, I developed dozens of original cartoon characters and stories for different audiences. This ideas have been polished and currently I’m searching for a suitable publisher for my comic stories. Sadly, Kenya’s conventional publishing industry is concerned more with educational material afraid to try new ideas despite the demand.
I have written scripts for plays and sold them to groups that have wonderfully performed them to a moved audience. I have developed scripts for T.V programs and African soap operas.
With cartoon and comic book design, interest in animation was bound to follow. Watching animations on our T.V’s and cinemas, I have constantly wondered when will we see African animation saturating our T.V,s, cinemas, phones, merchandise and computer games? To show that it is possible and the potential in African animation, I teamed up with a friend to develop an animated music video of one of my songs “PEPEA“. With the help of Kenyaimagine, a new media company, we set up an animation studio. Unfortunately, a week later, the studio was robbed plus 70% of the animated data. The salvaged video can be seen on You Tube. African animation is a very personal venture to me, if I could get a studio to facilitate it. Animation enables me to utilize all my disciplines into one project, from painting, to cartoon design, music and story development.
My vision is to see “A New Generation With A New Destiny”. My mission “To Positively Influence Lives And Touch Hearts Through Love, Service, All Edifying Forms Of Art And Being An Example In Speech, Conduct And Character”. I am to be defined by Love, Energy, Wisdom and Art.
cp-africa.com: How did you first become interested in African art as a means of expression?
In 2001, I took a four month break to analyze my life, understand what makes me and forge a direction for my future. Remembering the words I declared years back, “I will be a celebrated artist”, I resolved to become the best artist I can be. I acknowledged I am extremely gifted and I will perfect and use my skill no matter the good or ills I will meet my way.
I developed a strong identity. Studying art history, there was not much of African art or about African art. The music, paintings, clothes, books, ideas, programs, nearly everything around me was not made in Africa.
I asked myself why we Africans are not producing our own, why we are not expressing ourselves more, immortalizing what makes us? At that time, Art was a career to be laughed at, people preferred other “bankable, respectable” professions and yet marvel at art done out of Africa.
The need to express myself as an African to the world grew. I stopped looking for styles from Japanese, American, Canadian or European art and comic books. Driven by that urge, I developed my own music, stories, paintings, cards and scripts.
I was tired of studying History, it was time to make History. I immersed myself in original creativity whether people notice or not. I engaged myself in art, gave out my art to friends. I was tired of saying I’m an artist with nothing to show for it. So I created.
You know looking at your work, it seems to be very expressive, very vivid, very “alive!” What informs these portrayals? What are you trying to portray or what message are you trying to convey with your work?
My inspiration comes from being human. The ability to love, forgive, appreciate beauty, to rise above challenges, fresh starts, dream, hope, create and share wonder. My content comes from everyday life. One is supposed to encounter my art and feel special, beautiful, challenged, exposed to greatness, need to love, need for love. I want people to appreciate each other, the goodness that surrounds us, to make time to love. I want to halt a busy heart and have an interaction. To love through art, one heart after another.
cp-africa.com: Would you classify your art as modern art?
All that has developed art brings out my modern art. I celebrate timeless values and thoughts in a style relevant to today’s modern society. I pick something from different expressions and eras of art – the detailed style of classical art; the colour, rhythm and richness of Africa; the emotion of Impressionism, all collide together with my personally to assemble my work.
A good example is a collection of inspiring, provoking Kenyan graphic art based on the theme of propaganda posters of World War I and II, but modernized.
I deliberately feature African people, places, names and ideas in my art to celebrate Africa.
As a rising African artist, what kinds of challenges have you faced locally and globally?
“No one can argue with your work. Yours is bound to go places” These were words told to me by a client. For sure, my art has grown and it is great. The hard work has paid off.
However, challenges faced have been;
a) Difficulty in promoting and pushing my art to a wider audience. It’s one thing to have good products, it’s another to make your products known.
b) Accessing the market and audience that can buy my art. I know there are lovers of art. I need to get to them. I need to acquaint myself with the right networks.
c) Funds to package my art to its fullest grandeur.
d) Difficulty in penetrating some art disciplines due to lack of level playing field and hindrance of new players
e) Funds to facilitate costly art projects
f) It would be ideal if I concentrated on the creative process instead of worrying about management and administrative.
cp-africa.com: Where would you like to see African art go, in terms of relevance in the future?
Africa is rich with creativity and values, but much of it is untapped. We have greatly become consumers. We import knowledge, fashion, technology, art, ideas, products made from our raw materials, machinery and even entertainment.
It’s time for Africans to show what we are made off. It’s time we realize we have beauty in us and showcase it, encourage it, develop it.
Art is about self expression and appreciation. Once we celebrate our pride, our identity then greatness will follow.
I look forward to seeing more animations by Africans from Africa, hearing groundbreaking music brewed by Africans. I look forward to seeing more African content on global television, be it entertainment or good news about Africa. I looked forward to seeing more homes hanging African art, African art infiltrating the Corporate world, our fashion stores. I look forward to reading yet another poem from Africa.
I want to move Africa, to be moved by Africa. I see artists supporting artists. Africans celebrating their artists – buying, consuming their art. I see the world dazzled by Africa’s beauty. I see Africa changing through art, Africans resolute and proud. I see Africa rising. If we don’t produce African art, who will?
My desire is to build a foundation and academy that identifies, nurtures, develops, promotes and protects African art. That team will identify talent, have the capacity to stretch it to it’s potential. Hence, let artists concentrate on what they do best- create. To cushion them from all the struggles we have had to endure, on our shoulders they should stand and do greater things than we will do
Thank you for sharing with us Dayan! Spread the buzz about his work! Dayan can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. One love!