A Conversation with Oronde Kairi

A Conversation with Oronde Kairi

Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with the internationally acclaimed visual artist, Oronde Kairi. Welcome, Oronde! Thank you for joining us.

Oronde: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: Let's dive right in, shall we? Your work is known for its stylized realism and its representation of the human experience. Could you tell us a bit more about your artistic style and the themes you often explore?

Oronde: Certainly. I specialize in figurative art, particularly drawing and painting figures. My main themes revolve around sports, with basketball being a prominent subject. Additionally, I find inspiration in music, pop culture, and everyday life. These topics resonate with me and allow me to breathe life into my artwork, capturing the essence of these moments.

Interviewer: Fascinating! It's clear that your passion for capturing the human experience shines through your work. Could you share a bit about your journey as an artist and how you discovered your talent?

Oronde: Of course. Like many, I admired people who possessed talent and spent my early days exploring various artistic pursuits. It wasn't until later that I realized visual art was my true calling. Seeking to develop my skills, I embarked on a journey of training, which was a mix of hits and misses. However, everything changed when I met Dawud Anyabwile, formerly known as David Sims, in 1995. He offered drawing classes in the back of his family's world headquarters, where he created the comic book "Brother Man: Dictator of Discipline." His classes sparked my interest in attending art college.

Interviewer: That's incredible. It's amazing how a single encounter can have such a profound impact on one's artistic path. Speaking of education, could you tell us a bit about your academic background and how it shaped your artistic interests?

Oronde: Certainly. I initially enrolled in the Art Institute for Animation but later transferred to the University of the Arts, where I pursued a B.F.A. degree in Illustration. Although my formal education was focused on animation and illustration, my true passion always lay in fine art and painting. After completing my degree, I sought out painting workshops to further develop my skills as a painter. Interestingly, my experiences in animation and illustration continue to influence my artistic process and visualization, even in my "fine art" works.

Interviewer: It's fascinating to see how different artistic disciplines can intersect and inform one another. Can you elaborate on how your animation and illustration background influences your painting style?

Oronde: Certainly. The techniques and approaches I learned during my animation and illustration studies have greatly influenced my painting style. The way I paint and visualize ideas is deeply rooted in my previous experiences. Although I don't actively pursue work in animation or illustration, the knowledge I gained from those fields seeps into my "fine art" pieces, enhancing my ability to bring my subjects to life.
Interviewer: That sounds incredibly inspiring, Oronde. Before we conclude, we would love to hear more about your upcoming projects. Could you share any details about what's in store for your fans and art enthusiasts?

Oronde: Absolutely! I'm thrilled to announce that in the spring of 2024, I will be presenting a 15-piece solo show titled "Legendary Stature" at the Brassworks Gallery in Portland, Oregon. This exhibition will showcase my basketball-themed artwork, capturing the essence and significance of the sport. I'm excited to delve into the stories behind these pieces and share them with the world.

Additionally, I have some exciting news to share. I will be introducing my very own gallery, called UP TOP, located in the vibrant Germantown section of Philadelphia. This space will serve as a platform for me to exhibit my work and create a welcoming environment for art lovers to engage with my pieces. I encourage everyone to visit UP TOP and experience the power of visual storytelling firsthand.

Interviewer: That's fantastic news, Oronde! Your solo show and the launch of your own gallery are remarkable milestones in your artistic career. We're certain that art enthusiasts and fans of your work will be eagerly anticipating these events. Thank you for sharing this exciting news with us today.

Oronde: Thank you for providing me with this opportunity. I'm truly excited about these upcoming projects and can't wait to share my passion for art with a wider audience. It has been a pleasure speaking with you.

Interviewer: The pleasure is ours, Oronde. We wish you continued success and look forward to witnessing the impact of your art in the world. Thank you once again for joining us today.

Oronde: Thank you, and have a great day
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