NEWS | PAINTING
By Franco Praise Mwachande Jnr
He grew up with keen interest in visual arts. Portraits of Leonardo Da Vinci and visual arts gave him a great inspiration. This is a story of youthful artist, John Vincent Nyatanga.
Just at the blink of an eye, his artistic works hanging in his gallery wall speak volume of his handiworks. He is a rare gem.
And, equipped with a pencil and plain paper in his hand, the next thing remaining is a model to sketch a picture.
If it is a face of person, he looks at you for a while and that moment he turns his eyes on paper and start sketching with a pencil, you may think he is closing out poor work.
But give him some hours; the next big thing is complete sketch of you; a direct replica of yourself. His drawings are stunning and compelling. He does portraits, landscape images, abstracts wildlife.,. Murals and decorative art, nature and other products upon request.
The Lilongwe based visual artist said that he takes pride in sketching breathtaking portraits and has scaled heights he never imagined.
Born on July 14, 1990, John became an artist at the age of 5 after developing the love and passion for the art.
“Having discovered my talent at a very young age, I had my teachers and my parents too who helped me with everything I needed that time to turning my dream from Pollyanna into reality and so I grew up with all the support,” said the artist.
He adds: “First, art is something I would do to pass time and relax, until I started entering school competition and won most of them. That really inspired me, gave me motivation and that’s when I started looking at it differently.
That triggered him to up his game. And he recalls.
“I became more focused and started improving my skills gradually. I managed to complete my Cambridge out of these (visual arts) just before my grandfather passed on and that time I couldn’t go further with my studies. I tried doing other things but then later decided to make a living out of art.” Recalls he.
Due to determination and persistence, the artist has got recognition from organizations like The Voice newspaper in Botswana and a number of famous personalities worldwide.
So, with just a pencil and some little bit of ink, he is able to bring bread on his table.
“I’m a father and a husband. I manage to feed my family through painting. It’s something I enjoy doing, and I paint every day of my life; nothing else. Of course with time I would still want to invest in other things but I will not stop painting.” He reveals.
Typical of Malawians, John cries foul over the attitude of most of his clients who always want to access his products at cheaper prices.
“The major challenge is having clients willing to pay way less than what the art is worth, which makes me as an artist work for small profits… I’m also considering opening a gallery so selling my art the way I sell and the prices clients are willing to pay makes it difficult to come up with startup capital.” He cries.
The sunny side of visual arts
To him, being recognized by various people from all walks of life is his major motivation in his blossoming industry.
“I have to mention that my biggest achievement is recognition which I’m still getting now because for me personally that’s all that matters. Just imagine people from outside Malawi like Britain , USA come to my house, Area 25C and buy my products something encouraging to my talent, I have also donated some of my paintings to the late President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire, where I was awarded with a letter of recognition. That aside, I was also called to do a mural painting at Hon. Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s house. So to me it goes beyond achieving material things.” He said.
To him, both the government and the youths themselves can take leading roles in making visual arts a financially viable business endeavor.
“I think government may have done one or two things to support our talents but the youth should also engage themselves in some ways that will extend from where the government would have left. For example, starting art clubs where artists can get together and discuss as well as learn from each other…coming together and organize for exhibitions in different venues for exposure so I believe the government should be a support pillar not to expect it to do everything for us.” He lectures.
Advice to the youth
To youthful John Vincent Nyatanga, youths in the country need to be active in changing their lives and not wait for others to work on their (youths’) behalf.
“My advice to the youth is to wake up every morning and ask themselves on how far they want to go and how they want to be better than yesterday ..also ask theirselves if they have made any progress every night before going to sleep. Alcohol and drugs will do nothing but suck the last penny they have. And so what happens if they are not working and they are an addict? They end up committing crime by stealing, fraud and the like. I think there is no better person to motivate you but yourself.” He advises.
See some of his portraits below