Over the centuries art has evolved from complexity to simplicity to downright nonsense(depending on who you speak to). However, today’s feature is an artist who dabbles in a very unexplored territory in the artmosphere…koff koff. Most of you know it as doodling. Calm thy crawlers before you start lynching me. In this case I am not referring to those mundane sketches you do when bored but a more complex form of it but it still retains it’s simplicity. He showcased his newest work in the recently concluded art fair at the sarit centre and believe me when I say,”Seeing is believing.” His work incorporates a lot of imaginations, cartoons and other forms of artistic expression. He goes by the name of Quotmie and he is an awesome artist and a pretty cool fellow.
Please tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Nairobi.
I went to high school in Booker academy and I did my primary schooling in St. Peter’s Mumias.
What about your names? Your birth name and the creation of the name Quotmie?
My birth name is Henry Otwoma. I came up with Quotmie back in 2013 in high school. I enjoyed my art back then so i decided to create a style and name it quotmie. It is a style that quotes words people say and give them character. So the “quote” and “mie” for me joined together makes quotmie.
How and when did you start engaging in art?
I picked up my art from my uncle who used to do sketches of Moi that I’d find so impressive. He drew them so fast and perfectly and I had interest in capturing the speed and doing what he did.
What about doodling?
In class 4 I had a friend who used to get me spiderman comics. She was very nice because even after I went to boarding school she’d still bring me some at home and give my sister to keep them for me till I returned.
What fascinated me most about these comics was the fact that they were all in monochrome apart from the spiderman images which were at times red. This is what inspired/ pushed me into doodling.
I’ve always liked cartoons and humor. I remember as a kid I’d watch cartoons and miss the jokes but now that I get them it drives me to recreate such moments.
On the other hand, I have always liked my own unique designs and doodling is very unique and relatively new in this country.
Before we began the interview you showed me a comic that you’re working on. Do you mind expounding on that?
The name of the comic is called Layla. It’s a Sci-Fi comic. The story revolves around a girl living a very complex life. She lives in a house in a deserted place with an alien friend. It’s still a work in progress therefore that’s all I am at liberty to say at the moment.
I’ll be definitely be looking out for that.
I also noticed you had some unique and interesting stickers with you. Mind telling me about them?
Most people find them a bit scary and it bums me out because they are afraid of what they do not know. The colourless eyes have a story behind them. The reason I coloured the eyes like so is because they aren’t tied to a particular race or people. This is also he reason behind the strange skin tones.
What inspires you to keep going at this?
My ability to create is my main inspiration. I just love creating and expressing myself and this acts as my fuel and drive.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
Acquiring capital has been a major hurdle in that I might have a really awesome idea but I can’t it execute due to inadequate funds or lack thereof. On the other hand I don’t have many paintings which makes it a bit harder to sell myself.
I have a feeling you are a man on a mission what is it?
I intend to create something unique but still stay true to the African culture. I remember when starting out my lecturer wasn’t really sold into my style until he saw my first painting.
On the other hand I intend to bring something new into this industry.
Speaking of which, what do you make of the Kenyan art industry?
It’s definitely becoming more colourful and I love it. I remember seeing art from the 90’s I noticed people were more into monochrome like tones of using one colour scheme mostly grey or brown. The colours were more subtle in terms of variety. However, trhe new generation of artists are willing to create and experiment in colour which is quite encouraging.
Why should people look out for you?
I am very unique and I create my own stuff.
What is you main expectation when doing all this?
I intend to come up with a proper Kenyan brand.
To view more of Quotmie’s work and engage with him, please click on the link below: