- Sometimes you get customers that are not serious, they give you work then they realise they can't pay so they go silent.
- People backtracking on payments hurts my business.
- He is comfortable with the earnings for now.
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When Leonardo da Vinci, he of the famous Mona Lisa painting remarked that a painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light, he didn’t know that 498 years after his death there would be a lad using that quote as a principle in his work.
That lad is 20 year-old Carl Lewis Oyieko.
He does realism art in both drawing and painting.
“In layman's language, I do portraiture. That is making portraits of people and things by drawing or painting,” he says shyly.
As if that’s not enough, also does landscape abstract and mixed media. A jack of all trades but a master of two: drawing and painting.
“Abstract art is painting something virtual, things that don’t exist…imaginary things while landscape art is painting what one sees anywhere, anytime at least under the sun,” he explains.
How did he start? Did he just pick a pencil and a brush and started painting?
“I started gradually at a young age but did my first portrait at Class Five. Afterwards, I mastered the skills as time went by.”
He attributes this to hard work, not talent. Carl is not of the conventional idea that talent is everything in the skills industry.
“My older brother draws too. In fact, he was better than me before but he stopped practice. Hard work beats talent,” he says acknowledging the long hours he puts in his craft.
Carl dismantles a preconceived notion in the arts industry that talent comes first, to him, ’making baby steps takes you far’.
“When I was young I never knew people could make money out of art. I knew art is just there for beauty.”
When he joined high school, he met people with various skills who taught him art styles. Through his mentors, he started selling art pieces though he got off to a rough start.
“It was difficult to get customers but gradually, my customer base increased because they said my art talks.”
In a month, he makes an average income of Sh20,000.
He charges per portrait depending on the size. A size of A3, A2, A4 goes for Sh3000,
Sh5000 and Sh8000 shillings respectively. His clientele are middle class Kenyans. Like any other business, he has challenges.