“Culture and identity inspire my art, especially what and who we are. It’s inspired by why we lose our identity and people trying to be what we are not. I find being African cool and that is what I try to represent. I was ashamed of where I come from and who I am. I am now very bold and I’m able to speak vernacular. I feel like people are just making art to sell and not to express themselves. They are trying to sell to governments and to other people, that’s why you see a lot of nature art out there – it’s because that’s what sells. Don’t get me wrong I love nature but if that’s all you ever get to see year in and year out, it eventually gets boring for me.

My peers have also inspired what I do. I really allow myself to be influenced by everything and anything. I mean, I’m young so this is the time to experiment as much as I can. If I mess up so what, I can try again. Last year I had two friends, I just watched what they did and I’d imitate them, fail, get better at it and fail again until I could do what they did. I believe that I’m the best out of anyone I started with. The only medium I could use in form 4 was pencil. I saw other people painting and tried it and I did a terrible job. It was a tree and I found it to be very bad, but I was praised for it so that helped me continue. I also started painting acrylics. I kept trying to paint acrylics and I must admit I wasn’t good at it. I ruined a lot of my portraits, but I kept at it and I eventually became really really good at acrylic painting. I got a B in IGCSE, it was a close B and I believe I could have gotten an A.

Last year was my biggest experimental year. I went on to YouTube. I did tutorials on how to do this and that. I threw things into a blender and saw what I could come up with. I spent hours and hours watching step by step tutorials on how to paint skin and achieve super realism. Just recently, I painted one of my best pieces which was a portrait of me being splashed with coloured water. That was hands down the best piece I’ve ever done. My best pieces are the ones where I don’t move. It feels like I’m not the one painting them. If I put my all into a painting, like my emotions, dedication and effort it sometimes feels like the painting isn’t mine when I’m done. I always take a step back and I’m like wow, I did that? I really don’t feel it while I’m working on it, it’s as if I’m not making any progress. I just go from taking a piece of paper to ‘oh, I have a master piece here!’ I think every creative feels this way, after creating something out of nothing and evoking emotion in someone else. I put something that never existed into existence – can you imagine! This is why I love art.

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