Aita earns out of a self-taught skill as a visual artist

In 2019, when Covid-19 hit the world, Jonathan Daniel Aita had just returned home from vacation in China where he was studying.

This meant he couldn’t return to China for studies partly due to financial constraints but this didn’t stop Aita from thinking outside the box.

He resurrected his childhood love for art.

“I have been interested in art since I was a child and I used to draw and paint in my leisure time. It’s always been a part of my life. My parents are both humanitarians but as long as I maintained good grades, they supported me to pursue my artistic hobbies. They provided me with the resources I required and even assisted me in sharing my talent with their colleagues as well as mentoring me,” the 23 year old says of his story.

He says that while back in Uganda, he continued with painting, a skill he had taught himself as an early age.

The 23 year old from Arua also juggled painting with being a graphics designer and deejaying.

He sells his works online and at local art events.

Embraces social media

Aita says he realized he would reach out to many people at a go using social media and started sharing his art pieces on social media platforms including instagram and twitter.

“This paid off and I began to attract more clients and chances. I began doing portrait commissions and selling my paintings to collectors,” he says.

“The majority of my clients are referrals but I also gain new clients through social media and attending art events.”

He says his creative style focuses on the human figure and depicts individuals and feelings.

“I enjoy playing with several mediums, but my favourites are charcoal and pencil on paper. As an artist, my goal is to create realistic art that makes people feel something, whether it’s happiness, grief, or a link to their own experiences,” he says.

He says he is happy with what he has achieved out of his career that allows him to express himself and connect on a deeper level with people.

“It also gives me a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home or travel to various locations for inspiration. Making a living doing something I enjoy is a dream come true. It’s also been incredible to meet other artists and creatives through social media and in-person experiences,” Aita says.

The challenges

Just like any other job or business, Aita says his is not without challenges.

“I struggle with self-doubt and comparison to other artists. Materials are quite expensive and it’s not every day that you’ll draw a commissioned piece. With assignments to complete, balancing with school is also difficult. Yet I remind myself that art is a way of life, not a profession, and the passion and joy it offers me surpass any barriers.”

He says his goal is to improve his artistic abilities in the future by experimenting with new mediums and techniques, as well as collaborating with other artists.

“I also plan to exhibit my work in a variety of settings and to start my own gallery. I intend to as well increase my web presence and attract new customers, and, of course, continue creating art that brings joy and inspiration to others.”

The student of Computer Science at Cavendish University in Kampala advises fellow youths who are interested in doing art not to be afraid of exploring.

“Practice on a regular basis, get feedback from trusted sources, and have a strong online presence. Don’t worry about discovering your style immediately. Focus on improving and enjoying the process. Don’t give up on your dreams; anything is achievable with hard effort and persistence,” he says.

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