Art in Malawi

Interview to Simon Banda II – Digital Painting Artist in Malawi

Interview to Simon Banda II

Simon Banda II – Digital Painting Artist

Age 26
Current City Blantyre, Malawi
Instagram @killsimao

Notable Artworks

Name of Painting: Chuluke-Chuluke

Completed February, 2018

Partly inspired by the Malawian proverb that goes “Chuluke-Chuluke ngwa njuchi, umalira yakuluma.” The literal translation is something like: “it doesn’t matter how many bees swarm around you, you’ll only complain about the one that has bitten you.” I was moved by someone who I didn’t expect to move me at the time, and within the chaos, she was all I could think about. I never got to tell her though. Never will.

Name of Painting: Sunga and Her Curls

Completed June, 2021

A commission for a formidable woman who was celebrating her birthday. She was looking for something that was very African, very royal, something that was centrepiece-worthy. A gift from her to herself. The fact that it looks hand painted (or “traditional”) is my favourite thing about it.

Interview

Interview Date: July, 2021

“There was a time I made art to appeal to a certain type of people. As an artist sometimes you feed off the admiration of a selected few and start curating your work to their taste.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
What is your thought process like when you’re creating art and where do you draw inspiration from?

Usually, I visualize the end product in my mind and then start slow from there. It’s like I work backwards. The reasoning behind that is to not get caught up in miscellaneous ideas as you’re plotting out the art. Sometimes I do welcome random touches here and there and I try to slot them in, only as long as they are in line with what I had visualized beforehand. For example, with Spyral’s High Hopes album art, the “spiral of fire” was something that came to me mid-sketch and I went with it. I draw inspiration from people. I like observing people and their mannerisms. If you know me in real life you’ll notice I like making fun of people, simply because I notice their mannerisms and find them cool. Sometimes I look at other artists’ work to know where I want to take a certain piece in terms of mood and the rendering style. I used to draw a ton of inspiration from women a while back but that’s a story for another year.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
Which artists do you look up to and do you have a mentor?

My favorite artists are Zdzislaw Beksinski and Piotr Jablonski. Those are the ones I look up to the most. They are/were pretty dark and disgusting with their work, don’t Google them. But that’s what I like about them. I wish my art was like theirs, but I like happy and bright colors too much. At the moment, I do not have any mentors.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
Where can people buy your paintings?

I am yet to set up an online shop. Currently, people can contact me directly and buy my art work, framed and all. At the moment, I do not have any mentors.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
What is your favourite part about creating art?

It’s the catharsis. I think it’s an avenue where I can put down my feelings without people really “hearing” what I was trying to say completely. They can only get from it what they want to get from it, the rest will stay with me.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
How do you know when a painting is done?

When I start feeling like I’ll ruin it if I add more detail, that’s when I stop. Sometimes you want to take the details down a notch to give the eyes somewhere to rest. Too much detail is a problem.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
How has your practice changed over time?

Right off the bat, I think I do it for me now. There was a time I made art to appeal to a certain type of people. As an artist sometimes you feed off the admiration of a selected few and start curating your work to their taste. Once I realized I was doing that subconsciously, I took a step back. I left the socials and just made art for me. Secondly, it would be that I’m more confident in my work. I’m more certain of my strokes and what I’m trying to create. I know it’ll turn out just fine so I don’t stress on the technique. I stress on the concepts. Back then it was the other way round.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
Are you satisfied with the way your art has been received?

Satisfied? No. It can always be better. But I’m very pleased so far. People love my work and trust my vision. Lots of kind words flood my DMs too, so that’s a huge thing.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
What is your dream project?

My dream project would be to make concept art for a movie. It could be a local movie or Hollywood, who knows? That would totally get me hyped up.

MALAWI PLUS
MALAWI PLUS
Any artists you would like to collaborate with?

Akulu Lipenga. Hit me up again, my guy. Kas Mdoka, I would love to color his lines. On the international stage, it would have to be Jeff Dekal.