Talking to Atuhaire Kisembo Grace felt different. Artists always have a way around things and honestly I couldn’t agree more! Atuhaire is a 21 year old Ugandan (proud mutooro), a second year student of MUK currently doing electrical engineering. Atuhaire is an artist, he draws these mind blowing images, honestly they are not normal and guess what and it does not bother nobody because going insane with what you do is absolutely the new normal. Before I forget he is my first creative feature in the new column of young creative on the blog! Let’s dig in!
Atuhaire did art in his o’level at Seeta High school but he started doing more of it late last year. This was after a visit and a talk with his friend who later sparked up something beautiful in his mind. I guess it takes a while for an artist to pick up a hint too, from collecting spray cans with friends at a young age, to admiring beautiful art work at a friend’s place which led to a beautiful talk. Friends have a way with us, Atuhaire recalls wanting an art piece from the friend he had paid a visit. After drawing something on one side of the board, he told Atuhaire to draw something at the back of the board too. Who doesn’t want to play with a paint brush? When he was done with the painting, a few friends used to come in to sign it and the same comments flew in, “the art is beautiful” but there’s always that one statement that sticks out, one that pushes you to actually pursue this impossiblity. The artist recalls a friend called Nantege Patricia saying that, “it almost feels like Atuhaire speaks or rather talks to his art in that moment.”
Did he always want to become an artist? Yes and no. he recalls having a lovely time with his friends in senior one, collecting art from the art room in the school. There is something beautiful about the Seeta art room and with the art that was drawn by the older boys in senior five, it was quite inspirational. Jesse was his favorite artist, he says, the rest were good too but Jesse’s art was amazing. Despite of the art obsessions, he always knew that either way, he was bound to go down the route of sciences so the art wasn’t much of a 100% guarantee or plan.
Atuhaire identifies with psychedelic, hippy art. He says he is a child at heart and with this form of art, he can share it with it with everyone. His art tells a story about his life. The things he has lived through and his surroundings mostly those that pull in his inner child. His favorite theme is astro world, he says there is so much to be appreciated and to see when it comes to the astro world theme. Although he is open to other themes of art like canvas, abstract and hopes to venture into textile as time goes on. Photo references are a great way to pull in your imagination and Atuhaire is one that uses photo references, goes an extra mile to research and watch movies. He uses these to create and redraw the character he finds interesting. He talked about Groot and the Simpsons. One of many that he uses as muse. He even has matching mix tapes and playlists that rhyme with his drawing. Looking at the customization of the art pieces. It is possible to actually do it for example, frames can be customized with different shades of vanish. Atuhaire says he’s still doing research when it comes to the production process which clearly engulfs the customization for example, looking at the different types of frames, thickness of ply wood, designs and finding a source of materials. For now, he gets his materials from a carpenter who’s near his home. He has a partnership with his brother, Fred Asiimwe. They intend to expand and set up a work shop. The customization of drawings is very tricky and he says there’s so much to look into and accomplish or rather purchase for example machinery that helps cut out the measurements of the board. If they do get to the point where they can handle the production process themselves and cut out the middle man then it will be simpler to take in customized orders form clients. Because they’ll try to do it themselves which makes it easier to handle the clients’ specificity of their order with care.
Working with music makes it more interesting thus drawing is not actually that lonely or boring. Atuhaire says that his music is his muse too and helps with his rhythm when drawing.it takes a week to finish and perfect an art piece. The pieces are very much amazing and detailed. How? On the board there is a main piece and then at the back, Atuhaire goes ahead to draw a pattern. So it doesn’t matter what mood you are in a piece and a pattern on the same board, now that’s intense and beautiful (more like thoughtful on my side). The hardest part about painting is that you cannot rush it! You need to be patient. Each piece takes in a lot of work and focus. And each piece has to be better than the last. It doesn’t matter if the difference is big or not. The little details matter too and people can feel it and see a shift in your work so don’t overlook it.
What is Atuhaire’s artistic outlook of life? Cartoon! What he grew up in and with, the world that he fills comfortable in. the music and the cartoons bring so much warmth and a different perspective on the world. Astro world is that one place or art of feeling or imagination that is not limited. His art is meant to show love and to spread positivity.
And the last words. Pray! Put God first, respect Him and all will fall into place. Try to be better, challenge yourself. Try to make each art piece better than the last. And don’t forget to learn and stay inspired.