Kugali Spotlight: Mshindo Kuumba
At first glance, it is apparent that you are looking at the work of an individual that has mastered their craft. Equipped with an meticulous approach and creative genius he is capable of transmuting a blank surface into a portal to unknown worlds teaming mythical life and fantastical landscapes, as if he were an alchemist. He has loaned his artistic prowess to numerous works including; Jaycen Wise, Dreadlocks, Batman Chronicles, and Impulse. His masterworks have also graced the covers of Charles Saunder’s Dossouye and Imaro. Our guest today is an illustrator, concept artist, artistic director and a true pioneer of Afrofuturism, Mshindo Kumba.
K: What gave you the courage to pursue a career in art?
MK: Well, the courage came from within but my first encouragement came from my father. My father was a truck driver that delivered mail from an airport to midtown Manhattan on 33rd St. He would tell me stories about his childhood and his youthful imagination caused me to indulge in my own imagination.
K: Describe the reaction of your family and close friends when they told you we’re going to be a professional artist?
MK: Even though I was encouraged, I got limited support from my family there wasn’t any money invested to see me get through to my career; I was the black sheep of the family.
K: Now that you’re professional there’s a certain level of qualiy your fans have come to expect. Has this changed your creative process?
MK: In a way yes, since I’ve worked hard to attain a certain level of quality I have to work hard to maintain that level of quality so I have to improve what already seems to occur on a very high level.
K: Describe your favourite job or project and why?
MK: It’s difficult to have a favourite, but one of my favourites was working with Wesley Snipes because it was a peak in my career and Wesley Snipes had heard of my work through word of mouth. It was nice to have my work acknowledged at the Hollywood level. Another favourite of mine is the Dynasty of the Magi MMO game. I’ve learned how to create a video game from scratch from the development process to financial input.
K: Describe your worst job or project and why?
MK: I don’t know if there’s ‘a worst’ project but if a project isn’t meant for you to do the headache that arises from it can be problematic. Or a client that is uncooperative through their ignorance or ego.
K: Describe your creative process from the point of inspiration to completing a piece.
MK: It starts with input either from my imagination or the clients. If it’s my personal work it’s an idea then it comes down to putting together the reference: that can be 2D or 3D references. Then preliminary sketches are done, the ideas are refined within a sketch and then a finished illustration is done (pre paint). The final painting process is done from there that’s it.
K: What do you think separates good art from great art?
MK: Intent. If your intent is to master your craft then what comes from mastery is a certain level of advancement. It advances the idea of what you’re doing. When mastery is not the intent then ultimately you have to rely on device instead of letting your work speak for you, you have to speak louder than your work.
K: When you think of the word beautiful what’s the first name that comes to mind?
MK: When I think of beautiful I think of progenitor, I think of original, ultimately there is beauty in all things. It could be found. Like good and evil, beauty is in all things.
K: If you had a chance to go 5 years in the past and talk to your younger self what would you say?
MK: Be careful of the quality of the people you allow to stay around you especially the women, it took me a long time to learn not to allow parasitic people around you
K: Who are your top 5 favourite artists?
K: Describe your art in a sentence?
MK: Art for the 21st century and beyond
K: What can we expect from you in the future?
MK: To create a vehicle through which our ideas can be created, marketed and distributed on a worldwide level.
K: And project wise?
Dynasty of the Magi, Anukiplapo, Brains Brown, The Art of Dynasty of the Magi along with the Magi comic book and a host of other projects like Indigo the high fashions assassin which I work on with my business partner Jason Wise and the Black Ops Crew.