Would you please tell readers a bit about you? I am a multimedia artist from Chicago, Illinois (born and raised in Iringa, Tanzania), and I specialize in both canvas and mural works. I discovered my love for the arts at a very young age after coming across animated feature films produced by the likes of Studio Ghibli, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Walt Disney. Beyond entertainment, these films taught me the importance of imagination, representation, and collaboration, especially when it comes to completing a creative vision. Fast-forward to now, I spend the majority of my free time working hard to produce intuitive, bold murals that explore the concepts of life, beauty, and community, but through my own unique lens.
What inspires you to create the murals you do? Art has always been, and continues to be, the main outlet for my feelings, dreams, and reflections of the world. From the young age of 11, I experimented with both acrylic and oil paint on canvas, traditionally 12 x 12 in. or smaller, but never large murals inside buildings or on the side of walls. This all changed during the spring of 2020, when my friend Tiana Sharpe and I were challenged with the task of completing a mural for the Underground Coffeehouse (eight walls). The Underground Coffeehouse is a student-run café located in the basement of Mather Hall that specializes in the preparation of artisanal, micro-roasted coffee for the Trinity College community. Our vision for the mural was to reflect the abundance of love and community that the Underground has been able to foster throughout the years, and in order to do that, we had to take into account the various people and organizations that have moved throughout the space. This mural took us approximately a month to complete, but it played an essential role in helping me realize how capable I am of expanding my creative range in terms of imagination, scale, and materials. This realization ignited my passion for creating bigger, bolder works of art that can engage with audiences more intimately. Since then, I have been able to complete seven murals both on campus and around the city of Hartford.
What do you hope people feel when they see the mural in the Trinfo garden? I hope people feel proud and inspired when they see the Trinfo garden mural! Mural initiatives such as this not only work to beautify the community but also function as a way of representing the remarkable people, culture, and nature that exist all around us. For this mural in particular, the imagery on the shed is representative of the greenery that the garden produces (strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, carrots, rosemary, mint, vines, and various flower species) as well as the insects that occupy the space (caterpillars, butterflies, ladybugs, bees, and ants). On the side of the mural, there is a panel that lists the names of the gardeners and organizations that own plots on the land; this feature was added to honor the people who have taken the time to nurture the land and make the garden the sanctuary that it is now.
You said you’d like to keep creating art when you graduate. Any ideas on what’s next for you? As cliché as it may sound, I wholeheartedly believe that I was born to be an artist. My passion for transforming the images in my head to tangible works of art that can be shared with others has only grown throughout the years. After graduating from Trinity, I hope to continue to do murals around the city while working hard to establish myself as a professional artist specializing in multimedia work, murals, and community outreach programming. Educationally, I aspire to enter the field of art therapy as a means of combining my love of the arts with mental health treatment and awareness. Lastly, I have a personal goal of completing approximately 100 murals in my lifetime, so I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It’s only up from here!
For more on Kimondo’s art visit https://www.neemakimondo.com