Visual artist dares to dream

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TsekzAtz stands besides his portrait of the late American actor, Paul Walker, during the NUL Expo
TsekzAtz stands besides his portrait of the late American actor, Paul Walker, during the NUL Expo

Mohalenyane Phakela

FOR visual artist, Sebastian “TsekzArtz” Tsekiso, drawing and painting are lifelong passions that are slowly but surely becoming a viable career choice.

TsekzArtz told the Weekender this week, he was smitten by visual art at primary school. The third year Development Studies and Sociology student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) said he was regularly on the receiving end of beatings by teachers during his primary school days because of a penchant for drawing on every book in sight.

According to TsekzArtz, a flair for artistry is an inborn thing since he never received any mentorship during his formative years.

“I believe every talent emerges from as early as kindergarten for most children. Most of my peers loved soccer during those days, while I would sit near the pitch as they played and tried to draw them while in action,” he said.

“With time, I improved and when I went to high school I got the opportunity to access the internet where I researched about luminaries in the visual art realm such as Leonardo Da Vinci of whom I am greatly inspired.”

Having been born and bred in Mantšonyane village in Thaba Tseka district, TsekzArtz said he had scant exposure to visual art. He only realised the art form could be a career choice after enrolling at NUL in 2013.

“When I enrolled at NUL, I could access the internet on a regular basis, and would download pictures of various celebrities whom I would draw for my amusement,” the 21-year old said.

TsekzArtz used part of his National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) stipend to buy visual art equipment such as paints and drawing boards much to the surprise of colleagues who used the money for boozing and partying.

“After the disbursement of NMDS allowances, Roma comes alive with a lot of parties since a lot of NUL students will be blowing their money,” he said.

“But, since I have always been passionate about sharpening my skills, I invested in my craft by buying equipment. Every free time is used to draw and paint.”

Upon seeing his handiwork, TsekzArtz’s colleagues began asking him to draw their portraits for an initial modest fee.

“People close to me were enchanted by my celebrity drawings and would ask me to do their portraits. That is how my career started, as each person I drew would spread the word,” he said.

“I then started getting orders from different people and charge them from M50 to M100 depending on the material I used.

“As I improved, the demand for my services grew, so I increased my prices. I now charge around M400 per portrait.”

TsekzArtz, who made his debut exhibition during the NUL Expo at Pioneer Mall last month, said he would not get carried away by visual art, but also focus on his studies.

“It is difficult in this country to just rely on talent as a career, so I am still uncertain whether visual art would be my full-time career. I want to finish my studies first and then weigh my options thereafter,” he said.

“My ultimate goal is to exhibit in museums and art galleries as well as international art festivals. Hopefully, I will be as famous as Leonardo Da Vinci who left an indelible legacy.”

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