Meet Sarah Ntiro of Sama Paints


Soni Sama


I met Sarah a while back last year and you'd never guess where. I still remember how silly I felt after answering some of her questions. A feeling I believe most of us get during or after a job interview. 

Yet strangely I still felt comfortable. It was the first interview I had gone to that I got tea offered to me. I am not much of a tea person, but I never forgot that kind gesture.

Sarah is a Visual Artist with a background in Human Resource. She worked in a digital marketing agency when we first met. We would later meet again this year at the Go Downs Art Center.

We are both enrolled for the creative entrepreneurship training I mentioned in my previous post.

With Sarah's permission I got to experience being on the other side of an interview, and I must say it was an intriguing couple of minutes, that swiftly turned into hours.


WAI: When did you start your journey as an artist?

SP: I have always been in the arts since I was a kid. In school, I used to do art projects on my own, I would also sing and tell stories. 

Sama Paints

WAI: So did you go to art school as a kid?

SP: No I did not. I went to normal schools that did not give the arts a back seat, it was important to go to science class as it was important to go to art class. We even had double lesson art class in every school that I went to.

WAI: What about campus, did you study art in campus too?

SP: No I studied Human Resource. My Dad told me I needed to have a practical degree to fall back on in case things did not work out when I venture into the arts

FUN FACT: Sarah comes from a family of artists her grandfather Sam Ntiro was a Fine Artist and an Art Professor in what used to be the University of East Africa.

Her Dad used to play the flute in a band and doubled playing the sax. Her Mum on the other hand loves re-purposing things in the house and right now she does landscaping.

WAI: What was the role of your parents?Do you think if  they were not artistic you would still be doing what your doing?

SP:  If I was still who I am. Yeah! cause my Mum would prefer it if I had a stable job with a stable income.  This is a personal choice I made and I would still have made regardless of the situation.




WAI: How did the shift come about from HR to entrepreneurship?

SP:  Okay umm...It's not as simple as that, because when I was in university I had business. Like I was working cause I was getting tired of asking people for money.

I got fed up and I like being independent. So I started making jewellery and actually initially I did not start making the jewellery because of money. I started making them cause I could not find things that I wanted to wear.

Jewellery at the time was like a Kenyan uniform, you could not be unique and you know being an artist there's this inherent need to be different somehow.

So that's how it started then I did that all through till I finished campus. It actually diversified from only jewellery. I would do jewellery and food. I used to sell pizzas and burgers  to students.

WAI: Aaah nice, was this inspired by your mother's cooking?

SP: Need... it was just need and I was good at it I used to do it for my friends and family all the time. They used to beg me to make them burgers and so my friends asked me why not use it to help me make money. It was not something I pursued a lot to be my source of income. I would only do it when I get an order.

Then when I finished school and started doing an internship I stopped doing business for a bit. On October of 2015 I was dating someone who was on the board of an Art's Organization and they needed to make a donation, as a board member. So they convinced me to paint something for them to donate and that is how Sama Paints began.

Sama Paints

I did not expect the painting to go for that much and it went for like  4 G's. From then on people would tell me they liked that painting and ask if I could do something for them.

It started like a serious joke. I was always talking about how I wanted to go back to painting. So when I was asked to do the painting for the donation, it was a very smart way of cornering me to do what I needed to do. Since then I have been painting,  I diversified into shoes last year and into the bags last month .

WAI: Oh last month! so recently and they are so good

SP:  Thank you. It was an idea for 3 months or so and I was very afraid of doing it until this class. It made me realize you will not know if it is a failure until you try.




WAI: Alright and how has your transition been from working and earning a salary to being an entrepreneur.

SP: Terrible, debt is real. Financially you need to be prepared which I was, but I was not this prepared. I wish I had done more planning and forecasted better, but I do not regret it.

When I was still working for the whole of 2016 it was possible for me to pay my rent or like a portion of my rent from my artwork. Actually even possibly all of it, from it. I just wish I had done better planning like save more than I did, cause I had saved enough for like 3 months.

I hoped in 3 months things would have turned around. I did not consider that there is currently hoarding of money, cause people are trying to prepare for a situation if anything drastic happens during this years elections.

WAI: Apart from visual arts is there another form of art you are passionate about?

SP: I don't practice any others, I used to write poetry but I have never been serious about it. I know I can but it is not a need for me.

The one that I am battling with is music. I feel like I can do it but I don't want it to be my life. I have passion for music but I feel I will make bigger change in the art community through visual arts than performing arts.

Does that make sense? basically I know where my strengths lie. I do not think that I have the drive to be consistent in the music industry because it is not my main passion.

Wendi Art IT

It was a pleasure talking to Sarah and getting a glimpse into her artistic world. There's a lot more about her that we could not possibly exhaust in one interview. For instance her interest in going back to what she learnt in school through Artist Talent Management.

She is basically going to be using her degree in an unconventional way, but that's a story for another day. If you would like to have a chat with her or even buy one of her beautiful pieces, you can do so through her social as listed below. You can also find her on Jumia Market and on Ndutahs Gifts. Until next time au revoir!

Facebook: Sama Paints

Instagram: samapaints

AA(Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya.





12 comments:

Raymond Oluoch said...

wow! I love the spirit. Keep it up

Wendi Mutisya said...

I agree, she is really going places.

Jude M said...

When you invest time in art, it pays off with time. All you need is a little passion and commitment 🙂🙂

Wendi Mutisya said...

True, I believe as long as someone is doing it out of a point of deep love. Then commitment and consistency come with time, but we need to be patient with the process.

Stephanie Crystabelle said...

Well informed interview of Sarah the Artist :)

Wendi Mutisya said...

Thanks for reading Steph.I have a feeling you two will collaborate at some point :).

abel lemayian said...

Good Read Wendy, weldone!

Wendi Mutisya said...

Thank you Lemayian :)

Alicia James said...

Oh wow! This is beautiful, one of my best reads today. she's a really good artist. i love her work

Wendi Mutisya said...

Thank you Alicia. I agree she is really good.

Akhila said...

admirable post! I really like and appreciate your work, thank you for sharing such a useful information about commitment management objectives, keep updating the information, hear i prefer some more information about jobs for your career hr jobs in hyderabad .

Wendi Mutisya said...

Thank you Akhila, will work on that.

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