OWNING NATIVE STORIES THROUGH DIGITAL ILLUSTRATIONS
Brian Omolo is a Graphic Artist born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. He loves working with abstract ideas, breaking them down and putting them together to tell a story. His style is a mix of hand-drawn illustrations which he then scans and adds color effects on the computer. His work is usually inspired by personal experience/lessons, tales of Africa or by a desire to do something outside the norm of graphic design.
Brian is inspired by, Nu Africa; our colors, our texture, our vibe and sometimes other random playful ideas that spring to his mind at the moment. “I’m starting to also love capturing people’s essence in portraits. I love working on things that allow me to express stories in my own way and put a hopeful positive spin on it.”
He believes in Nu Africa and is stimulated by where we’ve come from, what’s within us and how we can impact the future. His work proves that we’ve got something to say and we’ve got our own way of saying it, and that’s valuable.
Brian considers the role of artists, to be honest, telling it like it is. To tell our stories but also give people something to be hopeful for, something to be inspired by or at the very least something to laugh about. “We have a gift that can impact people so I think it would be good to use that positively.”
Lately, he draws inspiration from what he is feeling at the moment. “I try to be in touch with my intuition and express things in my own way.” He also gets inspired by other creative people who are genuinely authentic and honest with their work while staying true to themselves and their values, those types of stories always strike a chord with me. Lastly, he draws inspiration from the people he interacts with, mainly in Nairobi. How they interact, what they believe, how they thrive, and so much more.
His ultimate dream project/goal is to establish his own studio and do bigger projects that can impact culture, to create a series of work that’s really deep, authentic and close to him. Then, exhibit in contemporary pop art galleries internationally. He also aspires to do commissions for renowned brands like Nike, Adidas, Manchester United, Computer Arts, Design Indaba, Ideo, Reach Records, etc.
Brian has been drawing since he first watched Tom and Jerry. “I would put the tape in the VCR, hit pause and sketch.” He then later did a lot more fine art and abstract illustration with dry media like pen, pencil, ink, color pencils and pastels. When he finally discovered digital art and illustration he was in University 10 years ago and he instantly fell in love and never looked back since.
Recently Brian watched the Tom Mboya Play by the team at Too Early for Birds, he felt that they really honored his legacy and was blown away by how well the whole production was done; from the research to the writing, directing, acting, the setup and production as a whole. “Seeing a big team of different talents come together like that really inspired me, it’s really the only way to accomplish big things, to work together and trust your team.”
The proficient digital artist likes that his art is unique to him. He loves that it grows and develops as he develops. He adores that his art is something he can do for the rest of his life.
Some of the challenges that he faces are, he still gets asked to do work for exposure. “I think a lot of people still don’t understand the value of what we do.” He has, however, learned to stick his guns and say no when the deal doesn’t feel right. He thinks that it is very important to know who your audience is and figure out a way to connect with them and build trust.
Brian advises other aspiring artists to be authentic and love who they are because it is so easy to get lost in being who everyone wants you to be or follow trends, but there’s value in who you are, who you are created to be.
Online portfolio: www.behance.net/brianomolo
Social media: I.G. @obrianstudio