By Comfort Barida
I discovered I was very good at drawing when I was in secondary school. My friends/classmates would queue up for me to assist them with their fine arts and biology drawings. My art teacher once used my exam script for an exhibition in school then. It was the first time I signed off on a job. My mother was also a fine arts teacher, I figured my passion for drawing was hereditary. After my secondary school, I stopped drawing for no particular reason. Sometime in January 2016, I became motivated to draw again after I saw an artwork that was given as a gift to a friend of mine. I also got words encouragement from my family.
The major challenge as an artist in Nigeria is that we still see art as a luxury and not a necessity. So I have restructured my prices to accommodate every client’s ‘pocket’. Second, art tools are not readily available and the ones here are quite pricey. But I get assistance with techniques and tools from a friend of mine who is a professional artist and has a lot more experience.
On coping as a full-time employee and an artist
Working and Drawing is very tedious, but I enjoy both my career as a non-key account manager and my passion for drawing. It sometimes feels like I work 24 hours a day between waking up at 6am and closing at 6pm and then heading home to draw and meet up with clients’ deadlines.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
First thing is if you have a dream, don’t wait for the right time to start because there is never a right time. I remember I started with 3 pencils at N250 each and I gradually started buying my tools (still buying them). So everyone out there with a plan should start now, break it into smaller plans that would ultimately lead to the big plan. Also find other people in the field you want to go into and learn from them. At every attempt I tell myself I will get better with time. When I feel discouraged I talk to my mentor and refocus. A lot of patience and focus is also an important part of starting out a business.
Looking back I only wish I never stopped drawing when I was much younger, but then again it is never too late. One can only get better.
I want to be the best at what I do. My plan is to keep studying, practising and one day my works would be hanging on every 8 out of 10 people’s walls.
Temilola Ogunyemi, a full-time employee and an Artist based in lagos