By Franco Mwachande Jnr:
With a brush, pencil and hands, some people can turn ordinary things into gold.
One such person is Justice Grey, who mixes oil and acrylic paints, to create anything the mind can imagine.
The artist, a resident of Area 47 in Lilongwe, has become an expert when it comes to concocting portraits, landscape images, abstracts of wildlife and decorative art, nature and other products upon request.
Born on January 1 1985, he became an artist while in primary school at the age of 10.
“Having discovered my talent at a very young age, my teachers and parents helped me realise my dreams,” he said.
Grey, who is from Lobi Village, Traditional Authority Kachere in Dedza District, said his source of inspiration is Myck Mtika.
“His artistic works give the impression that something is moving in your body. That is how unique his artworks are,” he said.
He said, after secondary school, he used to paint between 20 and 40 pieces of art and supply them to Mpira Art Shop in Dedza. He then went to Blantyre, where he established an art shop called Maziko in Che Mussa Township.
Grey then signed contracts with TNM, Trashion Malawi, among others, and sells paintings at Kwa-Haraba Arts.
“There are a lot of benefits gained from painting. Imagine, I can sell a portrait at K40,000 and above, depending on the customer. This means that, if I sell 10 portraits, I get up to K400,000, which is a salary for some civil servants,” he said.
Through interaction with art-lovers, he has learned that pencil-sketch art is respected globally and has a large market.
The exception, ironically, is Malawi, where demand is just picking up.
His art has taken him to a number of exhibitions.
“I have participated in over 20 exhibitions in several places, within and outside Malawi, and sold over 1,000 pieces. I have exhibited at 255 Art Block, La’Galleria Lilongwe, Blantyre Arts Festival, Trashion Malawi Art Fever at Blantyre HUB, Visual Association of Malawi, Malawi Tourism Expo and Bingu International Hotel just to mention a few,” he said.
Maybe it is true that the sky is not always the limit.
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