Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hmm, my name is Anne. I am a 23 year old who just graduated from Daystar University with a degree in music.
You did a music degree, how did you come about art?
I’ve always been pretty nervous about putting myself out there in terms of singing, it’s just so scary. I mean, I studied it but am I really good enough? Like, what if I post something and people go, “oh gosh what was that girl thinking!” It would be the worst thing to hear.
School was about to end and I knew after I finished my parents would start asking me what was my plan and I honestly did not know. How art came about was, I saw a lot of weird, inspired and creative art online from other artists around the world who pushed the envelope and were unapologetic-ally unique. I thought, “This is something I can do”
So it’s easier to put yourself out there in terms of art rather than music
(Laughs) Yes, it is so weird but there is some sort of detachment from art. It’s something I just picked up and I feel like even if someone tells me your art sucks I tell them, (laughs) I’ve only been drawing for two months so whatever. But if I sing and someone says I didn’t sing well and I’ve been singing for years, it’s a lot different.
How did Bissu art come about?
I came up with the idea of starting an Instagram page and it needed a name. In my head, I wanted to call it something provocative and there’s a certain type of person I’m trying to attract, this type of art isn’t for everyone. I was eating a banana one day as I was coming from the shops and I just thought Bissu and so it was, I did not think about it again.
How do you describe your artwork?
This was not intentional, I try to draw from everyday life and being a black woman living in Africa in the 21st century, just the things I experience and the things I see.
Like this one with the smudge like nail polish. That’s legit how I do my nails. I prefer to do my nails the night before I go for something the following day so I don’t get it all over the place. However in the morning, it would have chipped off which is kind of gross but it’s life. I like to draw from regular every day things that happen to me or that happen to other people.
Define the process
I’ll come up with an idea or I feel something for example, this may be a hint for my next drawing, I really like sandwiches. They are so convenient and easy to make, affordable and I want to draw something around sandwiches. I’ll think about it, I’ll draw a few scribbles and concepts, I’ll sleep, I’ll watch friends as I’m thinking about it and finally when I have the idea in my head I’ll draw it out. I’m an amateur artist so I’ll draw something I’ve never drawn before and I’m learning how to draw faces. This one I modeled after a video game called Sim
Sometimes I have to google certain silhouettes or a fist. After I’m done with the drawing, I’ll photocopy it, draw it with a pen and then I’ll take a photograph of it with it to my phone and send it to my laptop. Thereafter, I edit it out with Photoshop.
What is your favorite work of art from your Bissu Art collection?
There are a couple that have stories behind them and those are my favorite ones like this one.
There’s a girl at a claw machine and she’s trying to pick a gift. I was thinking about what I wanted to draw and I remember how being a kid, I never won anything when I tried the claw machines at arcades. I’m thinking, now I’m an adult and I have money so I can just go and buy 50 tokens and try 50 times to win this thing. In fact I am going to draw myself doing that and I’ll manifest it. However, the more I thought about it, I wondered why did I really want to get one of these toys because they don’t have Louis Vuitton bags, it’s just toys in there, and there’s nothing wrong with toys. I figured there could be a lesson to be learnt from this, like how sometimes people get caught up in doing things and they are really stuck in this situation “I must do this and if I don’t, I can’t survive”. Hence the girl with the claw machine but with a different perception.
What are your thoughts on the Kenyan art scene?
I’ve met a lot of vibrant, young artists on Instagram and their art inspires me but the artists who are ‘popping’ in the art scene in Kenya all do the oil paints, it’s just a woman carrying a pot and it is cool but that’s all there is. I’ve been seeing the woman carrying the pot since I was a child and I’m still seeing her now. There’s a gallery I approached with my artwork and they had beautiful, amazing oil paint based works but when I asked the owner about showcasing my work, you could see he was a bit unsure. So, I don’t feel like the people we are putting on the spot are really pushing the envelope and that’s boring.
What challenges have you faced so far?
I don’t know, I’m still very fresh but I would meet someone every now and then who has an opinion of how I can make it ‘better’ or someone who says I should spend hours creating a piece, an hour or two is too short and not professional. That’s an annoying thing that happens every now and then.
How can people buy your art?
On Instagram, go to my page and send me a direct message.
Do you see yourself venturing out of Bissu Art?
I do want to put up a website but at the moment it feels a bit premature. Some Kenyans do online shopping but majority are skeptical about sending money and receiving their packages. In addition, website fees don’t get waived if I would only have two people visiting the site. Since I started Bissu I have been getting a lot of positive feedback and venturing into music isn’t so scary anymore. Maybe I could post it on my personal page.