I remember once an art teacher telling me that the line is the most basic element of art and design. Somehow, Maina Lines has managed to take 'the most basic element of art and design' and turn it into something extraordinary through his paintings.
Mookh: Who is Maina Lines?
Maina Lines: Maina Lines is a self-taught diverse artist. Diverse in the sense that i am a traditional and digital artist as well as an instrumentalist. I am a born again Christian and was born and raised in Nairobi, where I have been practicing art commercially since 2013.
Mookh: Your education background is in IT. How did you get into art?
Maina Lines: I have always been an artist since I was young and I knew I’d do something art based for my career. There was need to attain academic papers in order to secure a job hence pursued IT at USIU while still being an artist. This actually resulted in me giving a talk at a New York Art Forum when I was still in campus.
Mookh: Are you a fulltime artist?
Maina Lines: I am currently not a full-time artist as I am employed as a Graphic and User Interface designer at an IT firm but planning going back to being a full-time artist once again.
Mookh: Why lines?
Maina Lines: Why not! There are such limitless possibilities with lines. Over the course of my art career thus far i have discovered how versatile and complex yet simple lines are. With lines I am able to create shapes, patterns, forms, emotions and hide phrases within the same lines. Lines allow me to also focus on details as I draw using single lines hence requires a lot of patience as well as keenness in order to pull it off. The process for me is rewarding as I get to clear my head and watch the artwork come to life. The flip side is I might not be able to create art as fast as my peers.
Mookh: Where did the idea to use lines as the base for your paintings come from?
Maina Lines: I would love to say I saw a light appearing from above and a line was placed in my hand haha. But it was a trial and error process. I also like puzzles and mazes so that also played a huge role in that.
Mookh: What is the most challenging thing about the way you paint?
Maina Lines: My art is genuinely not hard. Anyone who can draw a stick figure can draw like I do. However not everyone is as patient as I am. So, the challenge is patience.
Mookh: What fuels your creativity?
Maina Lines: Of late just living life with my support system has been a source of creativity. I draw a lot of the creative juice from my emotions and how situations around me made me feel. Also, a big inspiration is from scripture. Many of the texts I hide in my paintings are an encouragement to myself.
Be Real Be Free
Mookh: What message are you trying to convey with your art?
Maina Lines: With patience and dedication anything is possible. I want people to know that no matter how hard or long the process of life is, if we can just keep pushing things do work out. It’s a process but there is an end to it and you begin again. A cycle. But you can choose to make it a good cycle. This is also a reminder to myself as well.
Mookh: Looking through your work, being your authentic self and freedom seem to be recurring themes. Tell us more about that.
Maina Lines: We’ve been hearing a lot of suicide cases recently and many of them being fueled by the pressure of social media. It’s really sad how society has been sucked into stress related illnesses and to the point that mental health is an epidemic. I believe if we can find contentment and focus on the important things such as family and purpose things will be much easier. How many stories have we heard of people on their death beds wishing they spent more time with family instead of chasing the high life?
Mookh: How has your art changed you as a person?
Maina Lines: It’s taken me through a journey of self-discovery. I didn’t know I could do many things I thought were impossible. It’s also really grown my patience and allowed me to interact with people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures and status. All of which I have learned from and gained so much insight from.
Mookh: What would you say is the most memorable piece you’ve made? Why?
Maina Lines: Mirror is still my most memorable piece. It was actually a challenge I gave myself and I almost quit halfway. It took me 2 months to complete, but once I was done It unlocked some drive in my mind to do even bigger art work. So, to me it is a reminder to keep pushing boundaries.
Mookh: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Maina Lines: Currently been working on commissioned work and corporate murals as well as new artworks but I am willing, open and excited to collaborate on new projects.
Check out more of Maina Lines’ work here