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How learning painting after secondary school brought me into limelight – Bamaiyi

Bamaiyi Danladi is a Kaduna State-based mural artist and painter and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Northern New Creations. With the aid of social…

Bamaiyi Danladi is a Kaduna State-based mural artist and painter and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Northern New Creations. With the aid of social media, he has been able to bring visibility to his works, and the strategy has brought him several clients, including a recent one, the European Union (EU).

The success of his trade was borne out of introspection on the need to have a handiwork that would sustain him in a tertiary institution having struggled to complete secondary school. The situation led to him at a point to work as a bus conductor and labourer.

With a love for drawing as a leisure, fate brought him to painting after witnessing a house get painted in his community. He asked the head of the painters if he could join them to learn the trade and was accepted.

He said, “This was in 2012, immediately I finished secondary. I worked with my boss for four years before graduating. The company focuses on painting buildings. We went to paint a fuel station and the owner asked us if we could do the signings and other art works, and my boss said no. His response elicited a curiosity in me on how I could learn art works to incorporate it in the painting I was taught.

“You hardly find most painters doing both. I saw a challenge so as not to do half jobs for my future clients. I was fascinated when I saw the person that came to complete the work was as young as me. I asked him if it could be learnt, and he said yes.”

He said he confided in his boss that he wanted to learn the art work but that the response he got was smacked of derogation.

He said, “He told me that art is for those that are talented. I felt he implied I was not talented so such an area was not for me. In another way, his remark was a blessing as it motivated me to learn it. But finding a mentor to guide me on the journey was difficult, so I took to YouTube to watch videos on art work. I was able to fuse the two together and my background in drawing contributed my transformation into a mural artist.”

Inundated with different ideas, he was brought to the limelight following murals of the figures in Nigeria’s currency putting on facemasks during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. The aid of social media made the mural reach a wide audience and he featured in interviews on radio and newspapers, including Daily Trust.

But he could not feast on the pecuniary aspect the new fame brought through the murals as potential clients asked for works he had done which he could not provide.

He said, “After the painting that brought me into the limelight, I knew I needed something to sell instead of just waiting for someone to contact me for mural services. Also, there were people contacting me for samples of the work I had done but I didn’t have any to show. Why I don’t have them is because I only learnt how to draw on walls. So, I had to learn how to draw on canvas. It was not easy because they are two complete mediums.”

He noted that the knowledge of art work enabled him to combine both traditional and modern art designs.

He said, “The style of mural painting I do, I combine my own ideas with those I learnt, thus I come up with some techniques that make my work stand out.”

He added that the fusion of the two also got him a double contract for clients who wanted painting and art work on their walls.

He said, “I added interior decoration, and doing this has brought in more customers for me. The way the economy of this country is, you can’t focus on one particular job, so when there is no painting, I do murals or sign writing.

“Now, I have a studio where I do paintings on canvas. I am working on a series where I will do an exhibition by the end of this year or next year.”

Speaking about how he got the work from the EU, he said, “I was surprised when I got the contract, but I knew that one day such would come because I have been improving myself, and without being commissioned, I paint celebrities on their birthdays.

“I was on Instagram when I got a message that there was a collaboration between the EU and the Federal Ministry of Environment on the International Day on Zero Waste. It was the first time the programme was held in Nigeria. They sent me the images they wanted to paint on the wall and what they represented.

“I started working on it a day before the programme. I was able to deliver it with the grace of God and they allowed me to speak about the painting. It was a great honour and a milestone in my career to speak in front of the minister, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and a host of other dignitaries like Ice Prince, Toama and Nice.”

He added that since he started his company, he had been able to train five apprentices while three were currently working with him.

He explained that posting his works on social media had elicited interest from those who wanted to learn from him so he has decided that “instead of hoarding this knowledge which I also tapped from others, I am working on a programme to train others who are interested. It can be online or physical.”

He noted that the challenges he faced most during the course of his journey were finance and clients who rejected him when they learnt he was based in Kaduna.

 

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