Visual artist finds niche market in tattoos

Marvellous Chitsama

TWENTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Bulawayo born and raised multi-talented visual artist, Marvellous Chitsama considers himself a very lucky man, who God and the gods have smiled upon.

“I came to Harare when I didn’t have any relatives or friends,” he recalled his journey into the arts and continues to count his blessings.

“Coming to Harare was really a turning point. With only a yearlong stay in Harare I have learnt a lot. When I came to the capital city I started to realise that the lack of knowledge is what holds back several businesses from flourishing.

“Starting from scratch on my own in the capital city gave me new ideas and perspectives. In Bulawayo, I had done wall paintings, art on clothing, tattoos and canvas.  So when I started having new ideas I settled and over a period of a year my team and I have worked with over a thousand people.”

Through providence and good fortune he has managed to expand his art business and is glad that he is being able to live his dream in a country where musicians and actors dominate the arts industry with the visual arts category less appreciated.

Just as his fellow visual artists, Chitsama remains resolute to make a mark in the industry through perseverance.

Chitsama grew up passionate about art and since a tender age he has worked on being the best in his craft and has managed to expand his business and diversified his various forms of art into a formal business such as fashion merchandise (art on clothing), dread lock plaiting.

In the process, he has also stumbled upon a niche market: Eyebrow and tattoo drawing.

He now mainly focuses on tattoos, a visual art he sees gaining more attention in the future because the craft is a strong way of communicating.

“I always wanted to be innovative when it comes to my art. I then fell in love with the art of tattoos, although it is not the most favourable type of art in this country. I feel tattoos are going to be the most informative art used to communicate in the near future,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.

“Tattoos are less of what people think of them. There are less of the reputation people have given them. To me tattoos are a form of communication and from my experience I have seen that people are expressing a lot through those tattoos,“ he explained.

Chitsama reckons the time he spent in Bulawayo pursuing his art gave him a solid foundation.

“I take the time I practised art in Bulawayo as my foundation. That was the phase when I got to make a lot of mistakes, talk to a client for the first time and set the right connections for my business growth.” said Chitsama.

Bringing his art to Harare, though challenging at first, has turned out to be the best move he ever made.

Chitsama also added that he values art so much that he views it as a business.

He owes his journey into art to his mother, who he says played a pivotal role in ensuring that he grew up street smart and business minded. This has enabled him to handle his art into a professional brand called, WeCan Creatives.

“The word ‘streets’ is very much connected to my journey and business as an artist. It is from the streets that I learned how to handle street business and talking to clients into buying a product.  Many thanks to my mother because she was a vendor; and back in the days we would accompany her as she went to her stalk in the streets. It has enabled me to expand my business in the streets because I have that experience of selling in the streets.” he said.

The artist has solidified his foundation in the industry by studying international courses.

“My vision is to not only show the world that I can draw, but I want to ensure that there is a system, there is a concept and professional management of art as a business” Chitsama added.

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