My name is Ian Kamau, I consider myself an artist. I believe my ability to create and communicate is intimately tied to my purpose in life although I am unsure of exactly how.
Primarily I am a writer, producer and a graphic/visual artist. I perform much of what I write so I also consider myself a performer, I make music and write poetry; spoken word. I do not think of myself as an entertainer. I am interested in expression and communication through art in a variety of different forms. I’m sure that I’m not the only one.
After five years of studying fine arts and graphic design I graduated from university with a honors degree but this is by no means the end of my creative interest or outlet.
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada to Trinidadian parents who immigrated to North America in 1970. My parents are documentary filmmakers, my mother a producer, my father a writer and director from a family of teachers. I grew up around ideas, information, education and art. I hope my entire life will be immersed in this kind of creativity.
Art is the creative expression of our humanity. The greatest artists are those who have the ability to create compelling and inspiring work while communicating ideas, perspectives and powerful messages to everyday people. The most influential artists are everyday people themselves, with the ability to communicate in direct, expressive and still unassuming ways the thoughts and experiences of others like them, honestly. The greatest art in my estimation inspires people to take action, to be better and to see beyond their surroundings.
Art and music instigate larger conversations. I believe music is the greatest communicator because most if not all of us listen to it in one form or another. While some may never go to an art gallery or see a theatre production the majority of us listen to and appreciate a musical form of some kind.
Making music has taken me around the world, it has opened doors to experiences I never dreamed I would have and has put me in the position to have conversations with a diverse range of interesting individuals, these conversations have helped to open my mind and my spirit.
I believe in community and community building. My creative life extends to my work in community development, specifically with arts-based projects for young people. From painting murals in downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto, to volunteering with youth hip hop projects in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Nairobi to working with the Royal Conservatory of Music. That side of my life has always run parallel to my artistic life and reminds me of the importance of expression, inspiration and opportunity.
My desire is to put my thoughts and experiences into the world so that I may enter into a larger conversation with people in different places. I am an artist who wants to continue to be creative and support others in being creative while finding my purpose.