Collins Omondi Okello’s doggedness earns him a meeting with one of America’s most successful showbiz personality – Steve Harvey. Okello was not born an artist and art was not his first career choice – but from the time he decided to pursue art as a career, his unwavering tenacity is worth learning from.
According to CNN, he first posted his unfinished drawing of Harvey, shared the process on Twitter and spurred his followers to retweet and tag Harvey.
Once the drawing was complete, he posted the photo and tagged Harvey, hoping he would see it.
Complete! Pencil drawing of @IAmSteveHarvey. Will be a real boost to my hustle if you have this in your gallery. Waiting with bated breath🙏🙏🙏#steveharveypencil #JaduongArtWorks pic.twitter.com/MRxql0pbKh pic.twitter.com/gk2v7ki3bL
— Collins Omondi Okello (@collimondi) March 1, 2020
“Complete pencil drawing of @IAmSteveHarvey. Will be a real boost to my hustle if you have this in your gallery. Waiting with bated breath,” Okello wrote on Twitter.
Three days and after thousands of retweets later, Harvey gave him an inspiring (tweeted) reply: “Now I’m looking for you it would be my honour to have this …. what size is it and I’ll be in Joburg and Botswana soon let’s hook up then”:
Now I’m looking for you it would be my honor to have this …. what size is it and I’ll be in Joburgh and Botswana soon let’s hook up then https://t.co/GXKbR1fTgM
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) March 1, 2020
Like he said, he waits with bated breath for the meeting. Similarly in 2014, his portrait of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta went viral and got him an invite to the State House where he presented the drawing to the President.
The 30-year-old Kenyan studied finance but taught himself how to draw and now works full time as an artist.
He says being an artist (in Africa) does not receive as much respect as other crafts and he intends to change the perception in Kenya.
He intends to create a platform for more emerging artists in Kenya – by building a gallery and having exhibitions all over the world. He advises other artists to maximise social media and believe in their hustle.
NIGERIAN ARTIST SELLS ART TO KEVIN HART
In a related development, Nigerian pencil artist sells portraits to Kevin Hart.
Eli Waduba, a Nigeria-based pencil artist put out the message on Twitter and waited: Two days later, Kevin Hart acknowledged Waduba’s drawing of the American comedian.
The drawing strikes a likeness to the picture of Hart placed by its side, prompting Hart, 39, to say he’d buy the portraits and commission Waduba for three more.
I see it and I want to purchase it…I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work!
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 27, 2019
The ace comedian’s reply humbles Waduba: “I see it and I want to purchase it…I also want to support you and your amazing talent by giving you a fee to do a pencil drawing of 3 of my celebrity friends that I can gift it to. DM your info and let’s get to work”.
The hard working 26-year-old native of Kaduna in norther Nigeria never thought his hard work would pay so soon and in this way. He said: “But I did not know it would happen so fast. It has been so overwhelming and words cannot describe it. Kevin Hart has always been my favourite comedian.”
He now forms part of a growing collection of artists who use pencil, charcoal, and oil to produce hyper-realistic art.
The graduate of Cooperative Economics and Management from Kaduna State Polytechnic says he’s been drawing since he was nine and now works full-time as an artist. “I loved drawing growing up but I knew I could be better when I saw the works of people like people Arinze Stanley, Kelvin Okafor and Ken Nwadiogbu.”
The recognition he got from Hart is one of the major highlights of his career as he hopes to get better.
In 2016 the hyper-realist community in Lagos (Nigeria’s bustling economic capital) attracted global attention when the oil paintings by Olumide Oresegun were widely shared on social media, as many took them to be actual photos.
This form of art, among others in Nigeria was hitherto unpopular but social media has opened the art and the artists up to the world.