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Selling art comes with its challenges

Nandera has been doing art since high school. Although she tried grafitti, she did not succeed in it. Below some of her other pieces. PHOTOS BY Isaac Ssejjombwe

Artist’s life: Violet Nandera is only 24 years old, yet she is earning a living from her passion. She is a painter, sculptor and graphics designer.

Violet Nandera has always wanted to be a visual artist since her primary school days. Then, she would always carry an extra book to sketch and draw whatever came to her mind. Nandera continued drawing and by Senior Three, she had realised Fine Art was her calling. Today, the 24-year-old is the founder of Kissa Art Accessories.

What kind of artist are you?
I am a visual artist who specialised as a painter, sculptor and graphics designer. I also wanted to be a graffiti artist but I failed. I am focusing on what I am good at.

You studied Art in high school and university, when did it start paying off?
While at university, there was a time we needed money to fund practical assignments. Since I had nowhere to get the money, I decided to sell some of my old works to raise money.

Who was your customer at that time?
My fellow students, friends and family. Some students bought my works and presented them in class as their own. I sold them between Shs5,000 and Shs20,000, depending on the size and the creativity invested.

What has been the most expensive art work that you have sold?
I do not think it is much, but the highest I have charged was Shs500,000. This was last year when someone contacted me on Facebook and ordered five family portraits each at Shs100,000.

Besides social media, how else do you get clients?
Some are referrals from clients, or at social events when I get a chance to talk about my business.

Have you ever organised an art exhibition?
No, but I have exhibited my work at two exhibitions. I was part of one at Kabira Country Club and it required me to pay Shs70,000 and another at Bukoto Street which required me to pay Shs50,000 for space. It is not easy to organise an art exhibition, especially for fresh artists like me. Even being part of one does not come cheap. The worst part is that you are not assured of selling any art work.

How many clients do you get in a week?
This kind of business is seasonal. There are times when you have many clients to an extent that you have to look for someone to help you. For the past two weeks, I have not received any orders.

What are some of the challenges that come with your kind of job?
Some clients place orders and never claim them. Then there are issues of male clients wanting to sexually harass me; when you go to their homes to take measurements, they instead want to have sex with you. I have had three such cases and if you say you are not interested, they do not buy your pieces.

What makes you tick as a visual artist?
Before the money, I take time to understand what the customer wants. It is about creating a friendship so that whenever they are in need of my services, they come back to me and sometimes recommend me to other people.

Who is Violet Nandera?
I come from a family of four where I am the second last born. I attended Ntinda Primary School, Irma Pfeifer Bweya High Kajjansi, Wakiso for O-Level and Comprehensive College School, Gayaza for A-Level. I then joined Makerere University for a Diploma in Industrial Fine Art.

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