My name is Maraki girma, a 20-year-old artist based in Addis. I am usually involved in illustration, digital painting, oil painting on canvas and photography. Yes I do it professionally but I’m also a student a senior specifically, I am self-taught and did not go to any art school. However YouTube has been a good place to learn.
Digital and Oil Painting
I like the digital medium because it’s easy and versatile. It can diversify your use of colors, textures and other things. When it comes to oil painting, I like how the oil paint has this thick liquid feel to it and really gives life to the paint, most people use acrylic paint but I prefer oil paint because it doesn’t dry fast.
A lot of things inspire me, like human psychology and emotions different states of human joy, happiness and etc. I take inspiration from other artists as well, like Jean-Michel Basquiat, his art has this raw feel, you can see shades of that in my art. I also took pages from DaVinci, he really respects the art he practices and give it the time it deserves. I use Basquiat’s rawness and Da Vinci’s use of time, patience to fuel me. Music helps also, I’m the kind of artist who paints and works while listening. I need to balance the difference thoughts that build up while I’m working. I also take inspirations from quotes or statements that anyone says. If it’s intriguing it can help me build a concept for my next project.
My creative process starts with a quest for inspiration. I get inspired then research on that subject then draft some sketches on a notebook then do the art. I dance to music, some family time; I just do that something that prepares my mind for the art. I don’t really read books I mostly watch documentaries.
Art in Ethiopia is unnecessarily difficult, most people don’t have respect for art and there aren’t many art critics. Some people think critiques are insults and it’s hard to get your work evaluated and analyse other artists’ works too. I usually turn to social media for that, part of my progress is because of the feedback I receive there. I’m developing my own kind of art too. Equipment is also expensive, if at all available.
Some of my personal struggles also involve with the different choices I come up with when I work on a piece. It’s hard to choose between the multiple directions this piece could go to. Sometimes, when I research to work on an Ethiopian piece, it’s difficult to find reliable sources of information.
In short, being a creative in Ethiopia is a struggle but it’s worth the pain because of all the richness in culture, history and many other elements associate with it.
I say quarantine can be very helpful. It gives you time to develop different artistic abilities and if you’re not into arts it can be helpful in finding the thing you’re great at.
My advice would to be safe first of most then to focus on yourself, to become a better human being, think about your future start planning out what it’s going to be. And go easy on social media’s and Netflix.
Try out some new hobbies like cooking. Especially males they don’t really know how to cook. Not all men but some; and also drawing also is really helpful for stress, anxiety and is therapeutic.
As we know art can do many things teach and give joy, As creative people what we do brings us alive so we must share that feeling to others too so they can feel alive. Use your creative side to shed some knowledge to it, especially about the crisis.