It’s a warm sunny afternoon in Eldoret. I walk into Peupe Gallery with immense apologies for being late😅. Standing behind his desk is the man of the day, Samskiddo L’artiste ( Samuel Thiong’o, kwa majina ya kitambulisho).
He’s in a white shirt paired with plaid pants and accessorized with glasses, jewelry, and a Gatsby hat). A man of style; I think to myself. There’s an ease of confidence about him, a welcoming warmth mixed with a hint of humor. He gives me a tour of the gallery.
We then seat ourselves for my long-awaited interview. He goes back to his chair and I sit on the desk ready to discuss all things art.
The Inspiration Behind Samskiddo L’artiste The Name and The Man
Samskiddo L’artiste is a name that stemmed from him fusing Sam, the short form of his Christian name with kiddo which was how people fondly referred to him thanks to him being short.
He says he likes it because, without a tribal affiliation, it helps people focus on his art and not him. Samskiddo the man is inspired by the everyday happenings of life.
That is what he examines in his artwork the majority of which he creates at night away from the hustle and bustle while listening to soothing gallery music.
The Making Of Samskiddo
He tells me every artist is born an artist so he’s been an artist all his life. His earliest memory-making art, however, dates back to when he was in class 1 scribbling with his brother. He would later on in life get into a tonne of trouble in school for those scribbles he loved so dearly.
His parents were called to school every so often because teachers would find drawings on his books when they collected his homework. He would also get caned a lot. His parents wanted him to take on a white-collar job but he refused although it cost him his relationship with his father. None of that stopped him though. Looking at the exquisite pieces he creates today, we are thankful for his perseverance and honed tenacity.
Samskiddo’s first interaction with paint happened in 2010. He sold his first painting the next year. He was in form one then. The rest is history as they say. Beautiful, eccentric, artistic, history.
Fast forward to 11 years later, he co-owns a gallery with Shangala Wilson an outstanding artist himself and is making a living off being a fine artist. He hopes to one day represent Eldoret in the international art scene, create a generation of artists, and do a live painting at Milford Sound New Zealand.
Talking Art & Fashion With Samskiddo
Samskiddo is a self-taught artist who mostly uses acrylic and oil paint in his pieces. The mastery and knowledge he has were amassed from Youtube videos, websites like wet canvas, Pinterest, skillshare, and learning from other artists he’s interacted with.
Depending on their complexity, his pieces take hours to several weeks to complete. He then sells them online or via Peupe Gallery which is located at Eden Centre along Bandaptai Road on the first floor, room number 3. For those who don’t know Bandaptai Road, it’s the one behind Comfy Inn.
The young man’s art expertise isn’t constricted to a canvas as it so richly flows in his dressing too. His outfits provide a welcome reprieve from the everyday artists with their rugged jeans and T-shirts. On the side, he’s a hat stylist. He takes plain boring hats and gives them personality and oomph.
Sam adores the classic era of fashion and says it’s great because it has stood the test of time. Like any authentic art piece should.
Words Of Wisdom To Budding Artists In Eldoret
- Pursue your dreams and stay true to your craft
- Draw when inspiration hits. Art should come naturally because if you force it you’ll end up making mistakes and becoming frustrated. In the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, When the spirit doesn’t work with the hand, there is no art.
- You can get good supplies at School Depot but they are quite pricy so if you have a connection in Nairobi, get them from there in bulk. It’s way cheaper.
- Nurture your artistry. Learn from others. I look up to Andrew Tischler and Clevas Odhiambo. There are a lot of resources online to help you hone your craft, use them.
- Know the value of your work otherwise you’ll be paid peanuts yet your artwork will be resold for a much higher price.
Photo Credits: Cynthia Muthama , George Mwangi