Close your eyes and imagine a room full of colour, lines and shapes. Imagine that you could be anything you wanted to be, that your dreams are just as essential as breathing, that growing up with a paint brush, a pen, a camera or even a canvas in your hand is nature. Being told that you are talented and good enough. That it was okay when you sat in that boring maths classroom back in high school and thought about your next drawing or something that excited you. Artists breathe life into the world with their extraordinary minds and the ability to turn nothing into something!
“Eventually artists will get to that point of being appreciated,” said M.J Turpin who has been an artist now for nine years and is a co-owner at Kalashnikovv Gallery. He studied Fine Arts at Wits for four years then went on to attain an Honours degree. His journey hasn’t always been easy but with dedication and hard work he seems to have pulled through this artistic industry. He feels as though he has been fortunate enough to have parents who are liberal who have supported him in his decision to study Fine Arts.
Considering that most parents wouldn’t explore that notion in their children’s lives, they would probably wonder how their kids will sustain themselves, how will they put food on the table? every parent wants to see a bright future and security for their kids, because let’s face it, the arts and entertainment industry is competitive and you need to be brilliant or have a unique style in order to capture the audience and grab a potential clients eye.
Most young people who may have artistic abilities become stagnant or fearful because they might think that becoming an artist is not a “sustainable” career. So they go into office jobs and suppress their individuality and creativity because in order to survive in this world you need to put materialistic things and settle for a job rather than a career.
Megan Mace who is a Director at ROOM Space and Projects in Braamfontein 70 Juta Street, has stated that if you have just graduated, or if you are starting up as an artist you need to prepare yourself for a whole lot of work. Such as sometimes having your work turned down by gallery owners or even having to alter your artistic style in order to fit or please the description of what the client wants,“There is a limited amount of freedom of expression” Magan further states. Although on the brighter side of things some artists are actually approached by gallery owners if their work is captivating enough. All in all it’s about exploring different ideas when it comes to packaging your work and getting it out there, but it’s crucial to remember that when you do approach a gallery or corporate entities, make sure your portfolio is on point! Include your artistic background and biography as well as an artist statement explaining who influences your artwork and why you want your work to be showcased. Lastly a concept of what you bringing to the gallery space and previous images of your work.
Although a lot still has to be done in our country in terms of funding and giving a platform to emerging visual artists, there is still light at the end of the tunnel, so no artist should struggle. After all artists are blessed with creative minds and the ability to tap into other spheres and explore different subject matters using diverse platforms such as blogs, prints and gallery spaces to share those views, its become easier to explore your artistic style and get other people to look at it.
“Follow your heart if you want to become an artist, then just do it!” said M.J Turpin.
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Pictures taken by Ric3hard