By: Sueann Wickham

This week, we step into the world of a young Guyanese artist and entrepreneur, Serena Telford. In the confines of her bedroom, she embarked on a journey of creativity and passion for painting that has now transformed into a business venture. Known by her alias “Mulanii”, she has spent the past five years immersed in the world of artistry, captivating the minds and hearts of her customers while igniting their imagination.

In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard, the 22-year-old recounted the five years of her artistic journey and shared the inspirations, aspirations, and triumphs that have shaped her path as an artist.

It all began in 2019, amidst the solitude of quarantine, when Serena picked up a pencil and dared to breathe life into the characters of her imagination. Reflecting on her genesis, Telford recounted, “It was during quarantine that I decided to pick up a pencil and attempt to replicate Tanjiro, a protagonist from the Anime show ‘Kimestu No Yaibai’, popularly known as ‘Demon Slayer’.” What started as a simple endeavor soon blossomed into a fervent passion, fueled by the challenge of painting Natsu Dragneel from the anime Fairy Tail using nothing but a cutout from a cereal box and Crayola water paint.

With each stroke of the pencil, Serena said she embarked on a voyage of self-discovery which led her to the transformative power of art in the most unexpected of places.

Her passion for painting evolved into a kaleidoscope of creativity, encompassing a diverse array of artworks and mediums. From anime and cartoon characters to expressive pieces inspired by nature, her canvases came alive with color and energy. Speaking on her pieces she said, “I offer paintings on both glass and canvases, mostly replicating characters based on requests, but occasionally venturing into more abstract territory.”

With acrylics as her medium of choice, she breathes life into canvases and glass, infusing each creation with a distinct vibrancy and charm. “I don’t offer portraits due to its intricacy and time requirements,” she explained, “but I find joy in replicating characters that resonate with my audience.”

Rooted in her artistic heritage, she attributes much of her creative prowess to her mother, whose sketchbook filled with intricate designs ignited the spark of inspiration within her. “I would say I developed my artistic skills and eyes from my mom,” she reflected, “Growing up, she had this sketchbook where she would draw dresses of all sorts and I always admired it.” Beyond familial ties, the artist draws inspiration from other influences in the realm of art.

Among these influences stands Christopher Killikelly, a local artist from E. Burrows School of Art, whose guidance and mentorship have left an indelible mark on her artistic journey. “I met him at the 2023 Art Exhibition where he shared tips, advice, and inspired me to keep trying and practicing,” she recounted, underscoring the transformative power of mentorship in nurturing burgeoning talent.

She also draws inspiration from the vibrant community of artists on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, finding camaraderie and encouragement amidst fellow creatives.

In her quest to amplify her artistic voice, Serena has ventured beyond the confines of her bedroom, participating in exhibitions and art-related events. From the M.A.R.S Anime & Comic Convention & Rave to the upcoming Berbice Anime Expo which will be held next Saturday at 2pm, she has embraced each opportunity to showcase her work and connect with fellow enthusiasts. “In the future, I’d like to host my own art events for art lovers like myself,” she shared, igniting a beacon of anticipation for the burgeoning art community.

She was pleased to share that along her journey she has managed to forge invaluable insights on patience and time management. Behind every stroke lies a tale of perseverance, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. “There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that is being done,” she shared, adding, “It’s easy to become discouraged and want to give up. Doing this for quite some time has made me patient and hopeful in many regrettable situations in life.”

As an artist, Telford also finds solace in the symphony of feedback, drawing inspiration from the outpouring of love and support from her audience. “The most important thing to me is feedback,” she emphasized, “just hearing the positive comments, requests, and recommendations is such a heartwarming feeling.” Yet, amidst the accolades, Telford remains grounded, ever mindful of her long-term aspirations in the realm of painting. “I endeavour to continue to add valuable and creative pieces to persons’ comfort space at affordable prices,” she declared, adding, “I would also love for my clientele to expand regionally.”

Amongst her expansive portfolio, certain pieces stand as beacons of resonance, captivating the hearts and imaginations of her audience. “Paintings from the show ‘Boondocks’ have garnered the most attention,” Telford reveals, “I’ve never actually watched the show to understand the love, but I’m happy to make my customers happy.”

Amidst he whirlwind of accolades and aspirations, Serena remains rooted in her origins, her artistic essence distilled within the four walls of her bedroom. “All of my magic is brewed in the four walls of my bedroom on the floor,” she confesses, offering a glimpse into the sanctum where dreams take flight and colors intertwine.

Collaboration also lies at the heart of Telford’s artistic ethos, as she frequently joins forces with her younger sister, Stefina. Together, they exchange ideas, embark on joint projects, and infuse their collective creativity into their respective works. “My little sister, Stefina, her and I would exchange ideas with each other and often collaborate,” she shared, illuminating the symbiotic relationship that fuels their creative synergy.

Moreover, the artist remains steadfast in her commitment to providing quality and friendly customer service. “I would be lying if I say I have never gotten a bad review,” she acknowledges, “but outside of quality paintings, I aim to provide quality and friendly customer service.” It is this dedication to both craft and clientele that forms the cornerstone of her artistic ethos, fostering a community of enthusiasts bound by shared passion and mutual respect.

Beyond the realms of aesthetics, Telford’s art carries a profound message of inclusivity and boundless creativity. “The main idea of my work is that no one is ever too old to have ‘childish’ pieces,” she asserts, challenging societal norms and preconceptions surrounding art and its audience. In her hands, art becomes a universal language, transcending age and background to forge connections and foster community.

For Serena, art is not merely a creative outlet but a conduit for connection and expression, enriching lives and inspiring imaginations. “Art has created an avenue for me to network with other creatives like myself,” she affirmed, “being able to connect and express common interests is truly a warm feeling.” In her hands, the canvas becomes a tapestry of shared experiences, a testament to the transformative power of artistic expression.

As we bid adieu to the confines of Serena Telford’s artistic sanctuary, those who are interested in seeing or purchasing her art can do so by visiting her Instagram page at @mulaniisart or contact her via WhatsApp on +592 600-3194.



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