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No matter how you picture the world, it’ll inspire you, one way or the next. Inspiration comes when it arrives, sometimes at the most unusual of places. That’s the beauty of it, the randomness of it all. Expressing what you can’t put in words could prove to be frustrating. But, then there’s Art, ready and waiting.

Stumbling upon people who support your work is an amazing feeling, especially when you doubt anything great could come from it. When you think back to it, you realise that you don’t have to buy nor beg to be noticed, because when something is meant for you, it‘s meant only for you. These are blessings, yours and true. I stumbled upon such a lady; beautiful and mellow Tshepiso Bojosi, who produces incredible drawings simply from observing life and all that comes with it.
I spent P-hive Minutes with Tshepiso Bojosi, amazed by her effortless talent.

When did you discover that you could draw? Why did you decide to invest your time in your artwork?

I realised I could draw back in primary school when I used to “design” clothes for my Barbie doll. Drawing is the one thing that comes effortlessly to me. I don’t have to force it or try too hard, unlike most things I’ve attempted in life.

How did your upbringing influence your love for the arts?

My late grandfather was a music composer and a tap dancer. My mom and my grandmother were also dancers. Both my late uncles were sketch artists, but they never took it far. So, as soon as they recognised that I could draw, they urged me to keep it going and to never neglect my talent. Growing up around such people made me realise how free and genuinely happy people are when they do what they love. I wanted to be like them.

Did you study towards being an artist?

I am a self-taught artist. Sometimes, I wish I had gone to some art school as there is still a lot for me to learn. I wanted to study for Graphic Design after high school but my dad refused as he thought drawing was just a hobby and that I would not be able to make a living out of it.

Where do you draw your inspiration from and how do you translate it on paper?

I draw my inspiration from everyday people and their actions. You could say that I view things as coloured pictures, and in turn, I turn them into greyscale. When I put them down on paper, I use graphite in my most of my drawings.

How long do you take to complete a piece?

The time I take on a drawing is completely determined by inspiration. If someone sent me a picture of them to draw, I’d probably take a day to finish it. But if I had to conceptualize the drawing, I would take longer than a day.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve found yourself inspired and you just had to sit down and draw?

This one time, I was in an elevator at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria and I was inspired by a little girl with a big afro and she had a hoodie on. I thought to myself, ‘Little Red Riding Hood – but with an afro’. I just had to draw it.

What sets you apart from another artist? How are you different?

Since I didn’t go to school for art, I don’t know how other artists measure proportions and all the other complicated stuff related to drawing. I just draw. And the outcome is good.

Are you working on any projects presently?

I am working on my personal brand – me; and getting myself out there and known as an artist. It is quite challenging as I have to know the right people to make it all work. But I believe that I have had the right start by moving from Pretoria to Johannesburg and becoming a recruit at Umuzi Academy - an academy aiming at helping young creatives from townships to become active participants in the economy.

How far do you want to take and stretch your art? Where do you want to see it take you?

I want to build a career out of my passion. I want my art to take me where most parents think other “great careers” will land their children – and put food on my table. I also want to be recognized as one of the great artists in Africa, or even the world.

From some of your works that I’ve seen, you are inspired by a lot by people. Why is that?

People inspire me a lot as they come in different shapes and sizes. People are weird. People are interesting.

Three years from now, where do you imagine you would be and what would you be doing?

In three years, I would love to have made a name for myself in South Africa and expanding to the rest of Africa. I would also love to start an academy for young black artists who were denied admission into tertiary institutions just because their maths isn’t good enough or they couldn’t afford tuition. I want to make so small difference where I can.

If you could, what colours would you use to paint the world?

I’d use purple and black. I love these two colours. Black is amazing. I’m always wearing black and it makes everything look good. Purple on the other hand symbolises creativity. What would the world be without creativity?

As an artist, what is art to you?

Art is an unspoken language. When I can’t express myself in words, I grab a pencil and paper. It speaks for me.

It doesn’t take a miracle to make a dream come alive. It takes commitment, resilience and bucket full of promise – a promise to make it work for you and to inspire the next.

Nothing worth having ever comes easy and once you have it, treasure it. And then, give thanks to those that helped, mocked, encouraged and made you stronger; because, you wouldn’t be where you are without them. Life comes as it happens and when you think back to everything, be glad it happened and that you learnt from it. Because you know, everything you’ve worked for, could’ve gone wrong or west.

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Sithembiso Promise Xaba | Words That Start With P 
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