WINDHOEK - Erastus Ashipala, socially known as Von Asha, has made a name for himself and is currently taking the portrait sketching world by storm.
Ashipala is a civil engineering intern at Conenpro Consulting Engineers and an emerging artist who runs a sketching business known as Von Asha Portraits.
He describes himself as a multi-talented person who started doing portraits of his friends and family members from a very young age.
Ashipala, who is a National Housing Enterprise (NHE) bursary holder, said: “Even though I had a bursary, it was hard for me to cope financially and so I decided to use my talent as not only a hobby but as a source of income as well.”
To him art is the ultimate talent which gives him the means to create something without words, something that speaks to people and is a language on its own.
He said he did not know he had a talent for drawing until a certain artist visited his school and taught them how to draw pictures of items by looking at them – and he got so interested in drawing that he would draw pictures of TV personalities and famous people every day.
“In primary school I used to have art and design related subjects and when I was in grade three I did a craft and technology project for a grade six learner on which I helped her design and build a house, and people were impressed by my work and they named me ‘KaEngineering’ and some would tease me that I fix my house’s television and fridge. So that’s how I noticed that I am gifted.”
Ashipala said one of the things that kept him going was the advice that he got from his peers and teachers, and he never gave up. “Many people would always be perplexed and they got impressed with how one can sketch pictures of people as they are. I am also motivated by several local artists that look up to me. Some ask me for tips and some say they wish one day they would be as good as I am,” he added.
He said nothing makes him happier than that young children are into arts because art boosts their productivity, makes them creative and helps them do well academically.
“To me drawing is more than just a talent, it is a way of living. People that don’t understand the significance of art would always undermine me for drawing, not knowing that I make a good living out of art. I get paid for drawing and I charge my clients differently depending on the size of the portrait they want. People that used to belittle me for drawing are now shocked by how successful I am at selling my artwork,” says the multi-talented sketch artist.
Ashipala said that even though he is happy with what he does, nothing comes easy. He mentioned that he faces challenges of balancing his academic life as an engineering student and his job as an artist.
“At first it was hard, especially in my third year at the University of Science and Technology. I had so many modules that required me to study in my free time. So it was hard to keep up with my studies and my job at the same time. So at times I would use the time I was supposed to study to do my portraits, which led me to overwork myself throughout every night, sleep in class the next day and focus less on my studies. Fortunately I managed to cope well and passed all my modules even though it wasn’t a walk in the park,” said Ashipala.
Apart from having a lot of work to do, Ashipala said as a Namibian artist it is hard to get the best art equipment and materials because most of the art-selling shops in Namibia do not have them and they are required to order them from abroad.
Ashipala also describes himself as a hardworking person and a multi-tasker. He said when he got an internship he decided to overwork every day and night to finish all the work that his supervisor had given him in just two months including his December holidays, as he wanted enough time to do both the remaining work and his art business at the same time in the remaining months.
“At this age I have achieved a lot and I have drawn a lot of portraits including portraits of my role model Lazarus Jacobs, Namibian socialite Maria Nepembe and Dr Ndapewa Schatz, just to mention a few,” he said. Ashipala encourages other young people not to waste their talent and to find ways on how they can use them to generate an income.
He added: “Learners should also focus on their studies as much as they focus on their talents. Everything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.”
The artist is also active on Instagram: von asha and Twitter: @von_asha21
New Era Reporter
2019-02-26 09:35:38 5 months ago