Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Artist James Nyika paints the glowing atmosphere of cities across the world. As a child growing up in Kenya, he found art materials at the student bookshop and also borrowed just about every art history volume from the British Council library in Nairobi. "I checked out the same books over and over just to stare at the art, to try and understand how it was created," says James. With family encouragement to study engineering, James moved to the U.S. and immersed himself in science studies at Boston University. Several years after embarking on a tech career, he set a goal to create at least one painting a week, never throwing away any works and learning as much as possible in his off hours. Today, James still balances his full-time career designing large software systems with his prolific output as a painter. "Painting is a great antidote to the regularity of a computing profession and I really value it for the uncertainty that it brings - something frowned upon when writing code."