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TAKE 5: Brian Barasa

Thursday January 24 2019

Brian Barasa.

Brian Barasa is one of the co-founders of Nairobi Comic Convention (NAICCON). PHOTO| COURTESY 

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Brian is a co-founder of Nairobi Comic Convention (NAICCON), a geek, movie lover, and resident Superman groupie, who still finds joy in watching cartoons, reading comics and gaming at 30.

1. Tell us a little bit about the work you do for NAICCON

NAICCON is a marketplace for African digital creative art in the fields of comic books, animation and gaming. It also supports fields such as cosplay and film. We provide a platform for the creatives to market their work, network with peers and get skills from markets that are ahead of ours.

2. Why do you think animation and comic books are still not taken as seriously here as they are in other countries?
Largely because we are still hang up on traditional careers. The systems that are meant to support the sector are lacking. An example I would give is the lack of support from publishers towards comic book artists who would want to publish their work.

Most of the artists with anything out are self-published, which can be expensive. This lack of support limits the amount of work and frequency necessary to gain the traction needed.

3. Why do you think youth in Kenya are forced to take on extra side hustles to survive in an economy supposed to be providing for them?


It comes back to lack of support: from buyers, institutions and government. If we consumed more of their content and paid well for it, if government and institutions would put in the necessary resources for various sectors to grow, then the artists would be able to live off their work. On the flip side, the artists also need to market their work. Some of the feedback we get from potential consumers is that they didn't know these works existed. How can they purchase what they've never heard about?

4. What are some of the events NAICCON has planned for this year?

Well, we have the main Comic Con coming up in August. We will also be resuming our monthly meet-up (Comics & Coffee) soon, and of course with our partner brand, Pro Series Gaming (PSG), we will host a number of gaming tournaments as well as LAN parties, (when gaming enthusiasts carry their own gaming consoles and game overnight for two or three days) so that's something to look forward to.

5. Who are some of your favourite local animators and artists in Kenya?

Top on my list is my good friend Point Blank Evumbi. I also love the work that Harto Muhato at Tsunami Studio, Salim Busuru at Avandu and Mike Njau at Blankspace Studio are doing.