Kenyan Yvonne Muinde is an artist who was commissioned to play a strong part in the highly acclaimed ‘Avatar‘ movie designs. Her design portfolio includes being a matte painter (Matte painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that would otherwise be too expensive or impossible to build or visit) for such heavy hitters as’ The Day the Earth Stood Still‘, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘Knight and Day’, ‘The Lovely Bones’, ‘Jumper, Narnia: Prince Caspian’, ‘Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘The Fantastic Four‘.
She was awarded a Mural for the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library Denver Colorado in 2002; a 2010 Visual Effects Society (VES) award for outstanding matte paintings in a motion feature – ‘Avatar’ Pandora and a 2010 Visual Effects Society (VES) Nomination for Matte painting for ‘Avatar’ Weta Digital; and has two paintings–‘Blind Faith’ and ‘Freedoms Fighters’–donated by a collector to the ‘The Chemistry of Color’ collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
What she says about herself:
I am a painter and feature films matte painter based currently in Wellington New Zealand. There are three things, for me, which as an artist I try to understand before I can truly take on the responsibility of communicating to or invoking a reaction from my intended audience.
The three points of my focus are challenge, truth and evolution. As an artist I challenge myself first to push my painting skills and other mediums that I work in to be more technically sound and to express artistically the message through the work that will make the viewer see more than just the subject in the painting but also the stories and the emotions that is intended through the mood and style of the medium.
Challenging the viewer of my art to accept me as a painter without attempting to place me in a stereotypical category has been the biggest challenge to date. I am an artist, a painter, a woman and an African. I paint that which is closest to my heart and the things that are most familiar to me. These images can and will be from all the experiences that I have gained in my travels around the world.
Truth is the second thing that I must understand before I can truly paint with full confidence. The truth I know is that not all things are as simple as they seem. Not all art, is meant to be understood with a glance and for as long as I paint I will forever be working as an artist that is not afraid to tell a story no matter what the subject matter is that is expressed.
Evolution is the last and hardest of the three things I as an artist must understand because before I can evolve into the artist I wish to be, I must challenge my own truth to eventually grow into the painter that not just my friends but also the entire body of people that see my work can respect, interpret and appreciate.