It’s possible to make a living out of art in Malawi – Guy B Rapsy
What started as a childhood hobby has transpired into a business that pays bills for Guy B Rapsy, a Blantyre based fine artist who concentrates much on pencil drawings, using both graphite and charcoal pencils to come up with anything that pops in his head.
The artist, who can’t remember when exactly he discovered he had art skills, only remembers that he started drawing at a tender age sketching anything that grabbed his interest e.g. nice cars, animals or movie stars.
“When it comes to art I do not look at one person for inspiration or as an idol. I have a bunch of artists whose works inspire me a lot and it’s mostly their works that have shaped me be where I am now. My art has been inspired mostly by real life situations; things I go through in my life have played a very big role in enhancing my art,” he says.
They say “Curiosity killed a cat”. One may be asking, “How big or lucrative is the art industry in the country, is it worth risking everything for?” Well, according to Guy B, it is a win-win situation regardless.
“I do art because I love doing it, it’s been in me ever since I was young and am happy that its paying some of my bills too, it’s like am getting paid for something I like doing which is a good thing as far as high quality service delivery is concerned.
“Art business is not that big in Malawi but I think the quality of work for an artist plays a big role on the art market, if you do good artworks you are most likely to breakthrough on the art market,” the confident Guy B notes.
However, just like any industry, artwork has challenges too. Guy B pointed out artists getting paid less for higher quality artworks as the biggest challenge.
“It’s unfortunate that most people especially Malawians do not realise the value of art, elsewhere artists like me get a lot of money,” he bemoans.
“I can also blame the government somehow for not doing much to promote the art industry. If government took this seriously we would be able to generate so much money from arts (of all sorts) but government seems to care less, very few exhibitions happen here for artist to display their work and you will find that most of these exhibitions have very little audience.
“I think government through the ministry of tourism should look into that. On the other hand art could be one way of empowering the unemployed youth roaming around and the ministry of youth can prioritize that as a remedy,” Guy B articulates.
Questioned if he has an art gallery, he responds, “I do not have an art gallery at the moment but am working on getting myself a place in Blantyre where I can be displaying my works. I have a home studio where I work from and it’s more comfortable for me. As for the meantime all my works are accessible on my facebook page “Guy B Rapsy” https://www.facebook.com/Guy-B-Rapsy-231500560216780/?notif_t=page_invite_accepted”
The artist, who refused to disclose his passport name, started as a TV presenter for AFJ TV further said his newly established Dawnbreak Media Company is currently working with one of the newly opened TV stations on a television production but could not disclose more details, saying work is still in progress.
“Yes, I used to be on TV back then, and am still a TV guy. Right now am also working on some Television production, just keep your fingers crossed, its coming soon. However, I should admit that art at the moment still gets a bigger share of my time as I love it most,” states Guy B.
As a word of encouragement, he says, “I would like to encourage all those who have certain special talent in them just to work hard on their talents because it’s very possible to make a living out of that and live a happy life. Most especially the youth, who keep complaining about unemployment, there is just a lot they can do to their life.”
Link with Guy B Rapsy on Social Media:
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