Drawing for the living

2018-03-22 06:00
Themba Mkhangeli shows of his impressive work which has helped place him second in the Bic South Africa Pen Art Master competition. PHOTO: Mandla MAhashe

Themba Mkhangeli shows of his impressive work which has helped place him second in the Bic South Africa Pen Art Master competition. PHOTO: Mandla MAhashe

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Nyanga’s Themba Mkhangeli is proving himself to be not just a talented artist, but versatile at it as well.

Themba,23, has spent most of his young life mastering the art of drawing, armed with only a pen.

Recently, he has added to his repertoire the art of painting in oil.

His portraits are so astonishing as to be real that he has even started selling his work at exhibitions and private clients.

Earlier this year he took second spot in the Bic South Africa Pen Art Master competition and says this is just the beginning.

“My dream is to have my own gallery as well as a programme to help develop young artists. I don’t want them to be like me and only discover when they are older that they are quite good in art,” he says.

Themba creates his masterpieces from a backroom in Nyanga, where he stays with an uncle, where all he pretty much does is to draw and paint.

“I don’t watch TV or listen to the radio because if I’m here, I paint or I am out playing soccer. I started drawing in primary school in Julukuqu, in Mthatha, where I was born.

There, I’d compete with my brother and a friend as to who can draw the best. That is how it started for me, despite the absence of art subjects in my school,” he said.

This lack of guidance is one of the reasons he wants to groom the young.

“At school, I was never great academically strong, but I worked hard just so I can pass.

A former learner at New Eisleben High School, he said he started taking drawing seriously after matric.

Even as he went on to register for an engineering diploma at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2015, he dropped out as he was struggling with the theory behind it all, he said.

Even though he now wants to study graphic design, he says he is living off his art.

Themba has an immense affection for insects, it would seem, for he is sure to place one in any of his work.

“I also love using insects as a signature in my artwork. As kids, we would kill them for fun, but now I realise their importance, so I add them to my drawing.”

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