The power of the pencil

Baitshepi Sekgweng
CREATIVE GENIUS: Boineelo Motshidisi

Talented youngster etches out a living

At the age of ten, Boineelo Motshidisi realised his ability with the pencil was a little bit special.

The youngster’s illustrations were so good his classmates would often come calling, begging him to draw in their school books whenever their homework required it.

His prowess with the pencil did not go unnoticed by his Art teacher, who helped Motshidisi harness his God-given skill.

14 years later and, unable to find formal employment after graduating from university, Motshidisi is using the raw talent he honed as a child to make ends meets as an adult.

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The 24-year-old describes himself as a full-time visual artist, specializing in pencil-drawn portraits and abstract paintings.

“On my drawings I draw people I listen to, people who I watch in movies and those I like such as musicians and actors,” explains the Papatlo native, who now trades under the registered business name, ‘Art by Bmotshidisi’.

The power of the pencil
WORK OF ART: Motshidisi showing off one of his masterpieces

For Motshidisi, making money through art is nothing new, and served him well during his days as a student at Limkokwing, where he fittingly studied Professional Design.

“I really love drawing so when I was in university I had to come up with ways of making money on the side to support myself as such I started doing portrait drawings of local public figures like Reagile Kopi and Veezo View and as result people started ordering their own portraits,” he tells Voice Money.

Motshidisi’s masterpieces range from P400 for an A4 size to P5, 000 for an A0 portrait. Drawing from his home in Kopong, the artist works on a ‘to-order’ basis, waiting for a request before he puts pencil to paper.

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Targeting everyday working citizens as his main market, the young artist admits he is not getting as much custom as he had envisioned.

“The reception of my art is not as one would expect as I’m not getting as much sales or commissions as I would like. It’s frustrating at times but I have always pushed myself not to give up because this is what I love to do. My art speaks for itself, I always aim to put my all into an artwork, such that those who are interested get to buy it,” he declares.

Despite these difficulties, Motshidisi does not lack for confidence, insisting he is in a league of his own when it comes to his brand of art.

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“I consider myself to be the best at what I do, so I don’t see myself in competition with other artists. I just do what I do and I’m great at what I do. I have loved drawing from a young age, and as such it has never felt like work to me, it just gives me my mind peace!”

Although he has only attended one art exhibition to date, the Wine & Art event in Gaborone back in 2019, Motshidisi plans to change that going forward, as he strives to ‘get his work out there’.

“I would like to have my own art gallery and also have my art works in different galleries and homes around the world. One of the challenges I have faced is getting my art out there to the people,” said Motshidisi, acknowledging his poor marketing skills are largely to blame for this.

It is a mistake the youngster is hungry to rub out as he looks to draw a successful new future for himself.

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