Mmegi Online :: Local artist sets eyes on P1m artwork
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Last Updated
Wednesday 24 April 2019, 15:38 pm.
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Local artist sets eyes on P1m artwork

Making a living from one’s art is a Herculean feat to most local artists. Despite their strong talent and ambition, only a small fraction of artists manage to support themselves in the career they are passionate about. Arts & Culture writer MOMPATI TLHANKANE talked to a passionate muralist who just had cashed his biggest money from art.
By Mompati Tlhankane Fri 08 Mar 2019, 13:57 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Local artist sets eyes on P1m artwork








Speaking of big money, the artist had just completed a stairway mural at Carera Holdings in Gaborone worth P100k.While he had cashed big money before with his artwork, Kenny Ketshotseng from Molepolole shed further insight into how making money from big art is shaping his career.

For the majority of people making money is an unquestionable earmark of success, but for artists it’s oftentimes met with haziness. Artistic visions often clash with the expectations of the changeable tastes and demands of the commercial world.

But for the 30-year-old, the square-foot images are the secret. He hasn’t totally ditched smaller artworks, but his focus is big now that he is aiming to one-day make a single artwork worth a million or more.

In a city like Gaborone where new buildings spring up and are refurbished everyday, Ketshotseng’s mind is always painting the city’s colour, energy and the deep Batswana roots. Big outdoor or interior walls have just become a perfect canvas for his artwork.

Just late last year he completed another stairway and hallway mural at the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism headquarters in Gaborone.

Ketshotseng tells Arts & Culture that he spent over a week perfecting this masterpiece that includes Zebras patterns, leopard spots and caves.

Bucket-load of paint was used to craft the wall murals and he had never been proud. Earlier this year he sold a large artwork on canvas worth P50k at the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. He also painted the interior design of Nando’s at African Mall in 2016.

His artworks around these buildings show that he has real appreciation for art in interiors.

Known for his bright blue colours, wildlife subjects, and massive scale, Ketshotseng has cemented himself as a force to reckon with in this field.

 Imagine staying up all night and needing to spend more than 10 hours the next day hanging from a ladder? It just seems impossible, but Ketshotseng has shown to have the discipline of an athlete no wonder he finishes his big murals in a day or three.

“I am now into interior design even though I am based in Thapong,” says

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the artist. “I don’t take myself lightly these days. I am big because most of the artists don’t do big interior painting.” The artist prides himself as being unique as he does a mural that has different touches on them and has his own concept of blue touches in his paintings. 

Ketshotseng has already built his name as he receives calls from customers. “Every new building needs a painting, so I always approach them with proposals,” he reveals. He says many don’t know about art in Botswana and end up importing artworks from South Africa.

“My secret is that I approach them in time so that they don’t plan on getting artwork elsewhere. I tell them what I can do to improve the look of their building.”

According to Ketshotseng people often ask how he gets jobs from the private sector. He always shares the same approach. Ketshotseng says he even approached Avani Resort when they revamped their facilities.

Ketshotseng was quick to say that he has improved over the years and realised that more money comes from murals than just normal paintings. “We mostly sell small portraits to tourists, but as for big paintings we talk of big money,” he highlights.  Ketshotseng says painting a big mural is interesting and inspiring. “Just to see small self painting bigger has helped me to grow in my area of expertise,” he reveals. He also clarified that above everything else, he is pushed by his passion for art and wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

A mural is painted either directly on the wall or painting on parachute cloth that is then affixed to the wall. Aside from the community engagement, educational and mental health benefits a mural may bring there is actually an economic benefit too.

A study conducte in 2009 by Econsult found that murals are one of the few investments a city can make in commercial areas to have a positive impact on property values and retail sales.

The mural can turn an eyesore into something well maintained which in turn can cause property values and retail sales to go up.

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