Dennis Muraguri was born in Naivasha, Kenya, where he completed his primary school. He completed his high school in Kiambu and later moved to Nairobi where he went on to major in Drawing and Painting from the Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts. He topped his class with distinction. Dennis is currently a painter and sculptor. He uses wood and metal for his sculptures.
View Dennis Muraguri’s gallery. You can also view his artwork after the interview below.
ExtraImaginary: Dennis, could you please give us a background of yourself and your art?
Dennis Muraguri: I started very young, I did not know what I was doing actually. Art came from the toy making, the drawing of matatus (Kenyan buses) when I was a kid, and it came to a point where it affected my work in school cause I would no longer take notes. I would draw instead of taking notes, so my books were filled with a lot of drawings. But I still did not know what that was. I did not know it was art. I did not know what that meant. So later on I was lucky to go to a high school where there was art lessons. Then I took that. After that I went to a college where they taught art called Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts. From there I came directly from college and started practicing.
ExtraImaginary: When did you first see yourself as an artist?
Dennis Muraguri: Okay. I think the first time I sold a piece. Because before that, it was just something I could do better than my peers. That was all. Even when I went to college, I did not know what I was going to do with it. There were options to take graphics and all that. I picked painting. Then, even when I left college, I did not know the local art scene, I did not know local artists and all that, so I went straight into practicing and finding my own style, and after that is when I started trying to looking around trying to find out what does it do – after you’ve done it, what else. Then from there, I started going around and that is how I found myself with Kuona Trust.
ExtraImaginary: What medium do you use for your art?
Dennis Muraguri: Okay. Anything. I don’t like – when I went to school I studied painting. When I came out, I was doing painting. To a point I came to realize that when I say I am an artist I am not restricted to media. Right now I am mostly doing recycled wood and metal. But that’s not what, I don’t like saying like that’s what I do cause I would like to change at my own free will. Whenever I am done with this, I want to be able to do what I feel like. I don’t want to be the wood and metal guy. Yeah.
ExtraImaginary: Tell us about the process of creating your art. From your first inspiration to the completion of the piece of art.
Dennis Muraguri: Okay. First, I rarely think about what I’m doing like topics and themes. I try to be free. You might find what I think today is not what I am thinking tomorrow. So just because I was doing this yesterday, I wouldn’t stop myself because of that. So you may find a piece with more than one theme or subject. Mostly I just start and go with the flow. Every time I like to say – everytime there is something happening in your mind. There is never a point when your mind is blank. So at the end of the day when you’ve done something, you will know that this was influenced by this, this was influenced by this, but I don’t start with subjects, I pick the subject as I go.
ExtraImaginary: Do you work on one piece until it is completed or do you work on many pieces at the same time?
Dennis Muraguri: It depends. Sometimes I might start a piece and get stuck. Then instead of – it comes to a point where you cannot go on, you just leave it and start something else but in most cases you find not very many pieces at a go. Maybe 1,2 or 3 at a go. Right now, I am also painting from home since that space I have here at the studio is not enough to paint. So I can say I am always working on two things at a time because I am painting at home and when I come here I mostly concentrating on the sculptures.
ExtraImaginary: What is your favorite piece of work so far?
Dennis Muraguri: I don’t have a favorite. I don’t think I do have a favorite. Cause the next one is always the favorite.
ExtraImaginary: Who are your favorite artists? Who inspires you?
Dennis Muraguri: Hmm… I think it’s a blend of many artists. Today, I may feel I like this kind of art and then tomorrow I grow out of it and end up liking this or that. So it’s a blend of many artists, local and international.
ExtraImaginary: How do you overcome creative blocks?
Dennis Muraguri: When I … If may be I get stuck with one piece, I start another. But sometimes if that does not do … like … when I started sculpture, it was because I was not feeling painting at all … and I had reached that block. So I started something else. So maybe when I get to the point when I feel the sculpture is getting too monotonous or I’ve broken the code of order or whatever, I try something new. I leave the whole thing completely and try something new. And along the way it influences what even maybe … what you got stuck with … you got stuck on … you can find that something else can influence that to go on.
ExtraImaginary: What are your goals with respect to your art?
Dennis Muraguri: I think like every artist, it is just recognition. Yeah. To be able to pay my bills also.
ExtraImaginary: So is art your main source of income?
Dennis Muraguri: Dennis Muraguri: Yeah. I just do art. I am a fulltime artist.
ExtraImaginary: Dennis, thank you for your time. You are ExtraImaginary.