21 May 2019

Rwanda: How 20-Year-Old Pen Artist Debuted Into Art Industry

Photo: New Times
Gislain Mugisha at work.
opinion

20-year-old Gislain Mugisha is a self-taught creative artist who started with Rwf15, 000 as capital and has already started to generate monthly income by using his pen to produce different artworks.

The young man living in Remera sector in Kigali city. He told Business Times that his career started when he was in primary school.

"My story started at such a young age. What I remember is that in primary I used to draw as I had much passion for art. I have memories of me drawing in class for teachers and my friends in science lessons," he said.

The pen artist completed high school in 2017, in Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology from College du Christ Roi Nyanza located in Southern Province.

He is currently pursuing his university courses in Institute of Applied Science (INES Ruhengeri).

Having got basic trainings for about a month to boost his passion , the young creative entrepreneur trained himself on the remaining required skills.

"One day I went home from school and watched an artist who was narrating how he joined the industry without any formal art classes. From that time I asked support from my family to acquire basic training in art. They linked me with an artist who taught me art basics for only one month and by the beginning of 2017, I started teaching myself how to draw different things," he said.

After training himself in art industry, he said that he started in May 2018 to think of generating money.

Mugisha has produced many artworks that generate him at least Rwf120,000 per month.

"I invested a paper, a pen and frame. I produce different artworks and sell them. I combine my university courses and artwork production to get money for daily living. Having started to draw artworks for income generation, I have produced about a hundred artworks besides drawings and paintings. In the beginning it only capital of about Rwf15, 000," he said.

Although the market keeps changing, I earn over Rwf120, 000 per month through pen drawings, he noted.

Among the challenges, he said, include lack of getting enough time on artworks production since he combines art production with studying in university.

"Other challenges include lack of art supporters. Rwandans like art but their love for art has limits. Few give value to it because most have a perception that artworks are very expensive," he noted.

Linking with market, future projects

The young artist said that he uses different marketing platform so that he can double production in coming days grow into a realistic company once he completes university.

"I make my artworks using pen on paper and I even serve people who need to make orders. They reach me by using my social media accounts or by calls."

Mugisha said that right now his drawings are being sold on Fine Art America and Creative Debuts platforms where people can buy his drawings worldwide.

But for people in Rwanda, he said, can also contact him privately to know how they will get his drawings.

"I am still looking for a good gallery to accommodate my drawings.According to my understanding and my passion, doing art is something big compared to other fields. Art is the field that can give you satisfaction financially and happiness as you keep being creative. It is also part of recreation," he said.

The art passionate said that he wants to project his future projects to raise his art to international level.

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