Local artist on the beauty of oil and digital paintings | The new times

Like many children who dream of having a big impact on the world when they grow up, Elysee Kwizera’s wish since childhood has been to change the way art is seen and perceived.

Unlike other developed countries where art pays a lot and is valued, much to his dismay, this is not the case in Rwanda. But he is working tooth and nail to improve his talent as he hopes to raise the Rwandan flag around the world through oil and digital painting.

Although he started drawing at a young age, he started art as a career in 2015.

The 22-year-old is a professional artist specializing in digital art and oil painting and lives in Kicukiro district, Nyarugunga sector.

For oil painting, he uses brushes and paint, while for digital painting which is self-taught, he uses tablets and iPads.

He acquired artistic skills by studying graphic arts, ceramics and sculpture at Nyundo Art School in Rubavu district.

Kwizera is currently a student at the University of Tourism Technology and Business Studies, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism Management.

Whatever challenges he’s encountered so far, such as expensive art materials, he doesn’t underestimate the connections to different artists, continuous learning, and repeat customers.

In 2015, the talented artist held an art exhibition titled “Fly Free” in Kigali and in 2017, he exhibited his painting works in Kigali Heights.

In 2019, he was among the few artists who participated in the “Izihirwe Art Exhibition”. Kwizera has done a total of over 200 oil paintings, some of which were commissioned and some of which are exhibited in different art galleries like Kigali Art Center, Izihirwe and Biganza Art Galleries.

The youngster makes art from his parents’ house in Kanombe and advertises his works on social networks, mainly on Instagram and Facebook under the name “elysee k arts”.

His portraits cost $80 and more for oil paintings and $10 or more for digital paintings.

“My plan is to develop Rwandan digital art and make people more aware of drawing. I also look forward to creating my platform of animation cartoons all over the world,” he says.

Kwizera chose oil paint because it creates bright, resilient colors and blends well with surrounding paints.

But also with oil paints, he says that since they dry more slowly than watercolors, it gives him more time to work with designs and make changes. Also, it can be left open for long periods of time and can also be exposed to air for several weeks without drying out.

The local artist says the oil paints glide over the surface with a very satisfying feel and the finished product looks lush and special.

He loves digital painting because it gives him the wonderful ability to fix his mistakes. When he makes a mistake, he can immediately roll back with the click of a button.

According to Kwizera, no matter how many times he erases, the digital canvas stays clean and doesn’t tear, which isn’t the case with paper.

“Digital art lets me use any color I want, without paying anything extra, and I can create as many color palettes as I want,” he says.

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Marilyn M. Davis