Onyinye Ubah

The path I chose has brought me a lot of peace. It was something I genuinely enjoy doing. There were no push backs and hitches anytime I am engrossed in it. After a careful thought of what I wanted to do with my life, I came to a conclusion I might actually do this art thing for a very long time or for the rest of my life.

Art was something I found myself doing right from when I was younger. This zest led me to study Creative Arts, with a speciality in Visual Arts in the University of Lagos.  I only decided to take it seriously about three of four years ago.

The funny part of it was that a lot of people didn’t take me seriously when I started. I mean, how could they have taken me seriously when I didn’t also take myself seriously at first? Somehow, there were people who saw my potential and inspired me to take myself seriously.

Starting off was not a walk in the park like some people would think especially when I started commercializing it. My first freelance year was very tough. At a point, I began to wonder if being a professional artist or illustrator was worth it.

Then, sometime early this year, I had a semblance of what some people might call a breakthrough moment. Apparently, I was unconsciously making connections and growing my client base the year before. I guess the process of networking was why last year was quite tough for me. Coming into this year, I could confidently say everything I did last year paid off.

Over time, this experience has taught me a lot about the beauty of patience. Come to think of it, I don’t even think I have really had my breakthrough moment for now because I am still a work in progress. I think I am quite close to it.

In making a niche for myself, I discovered my kind of art celebrates African women of all shapes and sizes. This stands me out in my field. I also think this has a lot to with my style and the aura that my artworks carry. The aura is quite strong and vibrant but a peaceful vibe.

In my steady growth so far, I have encountered some days where international clients or potential clients struggle with trusting me because I am a Nigerian. Despite the fact that I have a pretty good number of followers on social media, yet this issue of trust still rears its ugly head every now and then. I think it’s a mentality they have discovered because of the reputation Nigerians have abroad. On the other hand, payment is also a problem. It’s difficult to accept international payment from people abroad because of some forms of restrictions of financial transactions. Some organisations like Flutterwave have worked to make it a bit easier. Notwithstanding, there are still one or two hitches out there.

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