Chikopo prints on canvas

Chikopo prints on canvas
Chikopo prints on canvas

FRANCISTOWN: Printing on canvas on personalised portraits is becoming popular by demand due to its quality and permanency. Due to its high quality, it takes more time to produce hence it also costs more.

This in turn can scare off visual artists who are beginners. However, that is not the case for Nlapkhwane-born visual artist, Tshepho Chikopo, who has taken over the streets of Maun by storm by changing the narrative from having ordinary drawings and painting to printing on canvas. Chikopo, who has over 10 years specialising mostly in pencil drawing, says he has lately put that on hold to focus on the profitable printing on canvas. And that has paid dividends for the 30-year-old visual artist as the move has even boosted his financial status.

In an interview with Arts and Culture, the talented artist said he has always had the zeal and passion for art from a tender age. He stated that when he finished his Form 5 he used his creativity for his side business so that he can be financially independent. Chikopo said after he completed his Form 5 studies he won small tenders to draw portraits used as token of appreciations for different events for government and private offices.

He added: “Even to date I use my artistry skills as my secondary income as already I have a primary job.” He encouraged Batswana to always use their skills or any business ideas for self-employment purposes and make extra cash. The visual artist said in most cases, people depend on the government to create jobs for them yet they can do better than wait at home.

When speaking about his artistry journey, he said due to the demanding job he had to take a break from drawing and painting. He stated that it was during the first COVID-19 lockdown that he had ample time and started drawing and painting again. According to Chikopo, during the commercial portraits illustration jobs, some of his clients suggested he introduced canvas on painting because of its quality and durability. He added that ever since he introduced it, he began getting more orders from as far as Gaborone, Francistown and Selebi-Phikwe. Currently residing in Maun, Chikopo said he has started receiving request from international tourists to start making landscape and wildlife canvas on painting portraits. His last words were for people to put God first and keep hustling no matter the circumstances.

The creative Chikopo has a National Craft Certificate (NCC) from the Selebi-Phikwe Technical College as well as a Diploma in Construction under Architecture from the Francistown College of Technical and Vocational education (FCTVE).

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