Meet The Binutu Brothers ; The Modern African Art Entrepreneurs

Ayokanmi and Toluwani Binutu are two young men painting a very beautiful narrative from the busy metropolitan city of Lagos. With careers in financial management and medicine respectively,these brothers are breaking new grounds in the art and design space. Meet the Binutu brothers shaping the face of modern art.
About us
I’m Tolu and this is Kanmi. We are brothers and we are visual artists. We are the founders of Pencils n Brushes artworks http://www.pnbartworks.com.ng , an art and design outfit based in Lagos, Nigeria.
As brothers, we grew up together and discovered early in our lives that we had an affinity for creative endeavours.  We tried our hands on various media, looking for new ways to create art. Paper cuttings, clay, biro and pencil drawings, paper mache..name it, we tried it.
We like to say that we never grew up. That’s true in some ways. Even though I went on to study medicine and Kanmi trained as an economist and a Financial analyst, we are still the kids who look for new ways to create art.
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What sparked your interest In arts seeing you’re both from different career backgrounds?
Tolu : I like to say that Kanmi was the natural artist. He was and still is one of the most gifted artists I have ever met. I saw him create some art pieces (which were magnificent to me at the time) and that lit a fire in me. I was about 4 years. For the last 20+ years, we have been each other’s sounding boards, conceptualising and testing ideas as partners and as friends.
What’s The PnB Story?
Tolu and Kanmi : The PnB story is a story of two very different people who are united by a common purpose and a common goal.
It’s a story of the possibilities that emerge when creativity and professionalism come together seamlessly.
It’s a story of what’s possible when artists and designers unite with the mind to change the negative stereotype surrounding visual art in Nigeria.
Honestly, in our case, the journey has been just as important to us as the hope of attaining our goal. We have loved every minute of it.
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What was the major breakthrough for you as a business?
Tolu and Kanmi: I think one of the major breakthroughs we have experienced came about when we decided to entertain people with what we do. Up until a few years ago, we were more focused on communicating with our art. So we created pencil portraits, paintings and designs that passed special messages across.
But by performing live in front of people, using ingenious ways that create suspend reality, we realised that art could also entertain people. It’s been an interesting journey so far.
On Challenges 
Tolu and Kanmi:The major challenge we faced and still face to an extent, is that quite a number of people do not understand what we do at first. Over the last few years, we have invested a lot of time, money and energy into creating awareness about our live performance products and services.
The response has been great so far, but we still have a long way to go until event art becomes a routine occurrence at occasions and events.
We understand that this is what we have to do as pioneers of this craft, so we are not complaining.
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On Resolving Issues
Tolu and Kanmi: We have disagreements very often but one thing that helps us resolve our issues amicably and speedily is an understanding that despite our different ways of doing things, we both want the best for PnB.
Say for instance, we disagree on whether or not to take PnB in a particular direction,we do what we can to discuss the issue objectively, drill down to our foundation reasons for wanting to move in that direction or for not wanting to move in that direction. We look at the facts, the figures and the possible pros and cons. Usually, after going through this process painstakingly, we come up with a final verdict together.
 
PnB in 5 Years
Five years from now, PnB would have taken her place as the one of the leading lights in  the Art and Design space on the global stage.We would have played our part in the great illumination/renaissance sweeping throughout Africa, correcting the negative stereotype attached to Artists and Art in Nigeria and Africa.
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Kanmi presenting a portrait to Uche Pedro, founder of bellanaija

bola tinubu

On Paying It Forward
Tolu and Kanmi :We have an Art academy called The Hive. Here, we teach artists and art enthusiasts how to create Art and how to make a career out of Art.
So far, we have trained about 50 people, some of whom have gone on to create spectacular careers for themselves.
And we are proud of each and everyone of our alumni.
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To see more of what Kanmi and Tolu are up to, including their incredible event art please connect with them here :
IG :@pnbartworks
Facebook : Pencils n Brushes artworks
website:pnbartworks.com.ng
No part of this interview may be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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