In Uganda doing art as a business is rare as the majority population hasn’t embraced it well in terms of buying the paintings portraits as speculatively the public opinion states that the paintings are for the extravagant rich people and on some occasions the high learned class of people.
However Goodgrace Patience, a 21year old a third year student at Kyambogo University under government scholarship says her move to doing Art has been a wind of blessing and a fundamental change in her life as art sponsors her University requirements.
Patience is skilled in paintings and tells her art stories through Frog Paintings which distinguishes her from other ordinary artists as for every painting of her with telling a story or an objective she uses frogs as the characters that express her message through her final work.
At a young age in her primary, Patience found out that she was good at drawing as she perfected science subject drawings in her later classes’ primary six and seven. ”I realized I was actually good at drawing and my teachers could tell me to take this up on all other next levels of education” she said.
Following her teachers’ advice, Patience took up Fine ART subject till her A’leveI and got good grades that paved her way to Kyambogo University on a government scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in art and industrial design.
While at the university she never seized from practicing her talent which continuously improved later on she mastered the art of drawing with charcoal and pencil “I realized that my curiosity and love to be different, i decided to dive into color therefore I took on painting as a course unit and started practicing with the guidance of lecturers and other supervisors just outside the University” she added.
Covid19 period crippled many things both economically and socially but to Patience doesn’t lament anything because when schools closed, she welcomed it as a gift free time to dwell more into her talent whereby she consistently did drawing, watched YouTube tutorials done by other artists and also carried out consultations from her teachers to guide her more on how to improve on her works.
In further conversation with her, she explained that Drawing is like the back of painting in that as her drawing skills grew and she thought it was time to dive into color drawing therefore as soon as the schools mainly universities opened she had already developed an idea on what she had wanted to do and which kind of art she wanted to do.
Doing Art as Business
As part of her improvement, Patience joined a project of MOTIVE which is a creative space for different kind of Creatives who also have a district for art, where anyone that wants boost their drawing skills are given mentorship and space from artists with great reputation and achievements in the industry like Ezra Kwizera, who are able to guide one on whatever drawing basics and skills one needs to be equipped with.
At university, Patience got in touch with Mayanja Weayzer, the head of the Tadooba Arts gallery who is also her lecturer, he suggested that she do her internship at his Tadooba Arts Gallery. Based on what he had achieved in art she realized there is a lot she could learn from him if there is a space where he could give more time to her and more guidance and she testifies that she actually grew a lot compared to when she left campus at the end of the semester for internship.
“Having someone who would guide you like this would be better and opening your eyes to different possibilities of what you can do with your art. I was very grateful and am glad that I actually took his advice.” She added.
As her talent grew while at Tadooba Arts Gallery, she started selling out her art pieces as she sold some pieces both in drawing and painting and also gained more exposure to different aspects since with drawing and painting one doesn’t work alone.
“I price my work sometimes depending on size ofcourse counting in the materials I have used and then the time I have put in and also the value attached to a painting, paintings might be of same sizes but I may attach more value to one than the other for example one would go for a million Ugandan shillings and the other goes for five hundred thousand” she said.
Patience in a month sells at least four art paintings portraits which cost in a range between UGX 500,000 to UGX 1 Million and tourist Hotels/Lodges mainly being her usual customers and a few individuals that visit the Tadooba Art Gallery for exhibitions.
She holds a dream of starting up an art academy of empowering young female artists who have not gotten the platform to showcase and promote their talents.
On the sales made from her paintings, Patience takes off a cut she gives to charity organizations that look after the needy, pays her own utilities and bills and also saves some money for the future.
On the challenges faced in this work, Patience says one major challenge is the different tastes and preferences among people who view art differently, in addition she said that she makes paintings that have bigger themes but sadly people fail to grasp the objective of the paintings hence failing to make a sale of it and time wasted.
Secondly, patience says she’s at times challenged by the availability of materials to use, however advises that “as an artist you must do everything you can to get the tools to execute the work and what you don’t have you improvise.” She said,
Just like any other starting Artist, Patience lacks enough working space however she improvises at the places that are open to give artists space to work.
The process of making a painting
Patience says once the work idea is in one’s mind, one can’t just go direct to canvas, the first thing start to with is to sketch out what one has in mind and one needs reference images, because somethings you can’t just get from imagination, you get the necessary reference images you need to come up with your work ,sit down and develop sketches, the more sketches you develop the more ideas you come up with and one may not actually use all the sketches but different sketches will help you come up with different ideas.
“One has to have work in their sketch book which is very important to have so that whatever comes up in one’s mind you don’t have to worry that I may not use this or I might use this ,just take your time and processes you sketches then you determine what colors you want to use in your painting” she said.
Patience states that one has to first make a colored sketch which one has to put on canvas but it’s like a preliminary step then after that one gets a stretch up bar, which can either be ordered for or one can make themselves.
Patience further added that if one has the materials needed to cut wood and make the frame, can determine the size then measure it out and put together the frame and then one buys a cloth usually its a hard Chachi and then one stretches it out on the frame prime it and start painting and over time some things will remain as they are and one will trait here and there until the desired product is done.
She adds that there are different kind of creatives one needs to work with to make their work come out as they want it so learning to do hands on work is kind of material one needs or if it is photography, this is the kind of photos I need to accomplish my work, that helps one to be open minded, broader and exposed to different aspects of life in the process of drawing
Patience seeks to not only selling her art paintings as a business but also being able to use her work to impact and speak about things that are happening in life and also wants to be able to travel and see the kind of art that is out there so that she can be able to grow more art knowledge to better herself.
“I would say that what makes me different is how I choose to depict the things that I depict, I am trying my best though I can’t say I have fully found it because am still exploring but I want to be able to create art that someone sees and is so amused if it being different, I want to be able to create art that some one looks at and it affects how they feel, their mood and also to do something that is able to speak.” she said.
However she revealed that there’s still need for more recognition of art in Uganda because people have not yet really realized the weight of art itself and how important it is and also suggested that the government should also be able put up a museum or a public show room to show off particular art pieces for every artist out there to showcase their pieces.