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Monday, August 7, 2017

How I bought art materials back when I was living in poverty ~ Dusty Northern Bookshops

The greatest period of my artistic journey was when I was at the early stages of learning. I was passionate about making art and as soon as I finished one, I would hang it on the wall and start creating another (because the art I just finished ignited 4 other ideas I could try).

However, back then I didn’t have a job. I was an unemployed teenager and used my pocket-money to finance my passion (diverting money meant for snacks into art supplies). The money was little and my parent was against me making art (by that time) and blamed all my life problems on my pursuit for art (other people were faltering me by calling my works odd, divine and genius, while my dad looked at it and called it demonic). Despite all the challenges, it was the most productive period of my life.

I use to avoid big bookshops. You would think because of their size and popularity, that the prices would be subsidised; that was not the case for me. I would rather search town for that one bookshop where some of the book have dust on them. Once I noticed that majority the shop items have been on the shelf for years without selling, I know I would get the best deal.

Items from those types of shop are cheap not because the owner is desperate, but because, the owner would still be sell them at the rate he bought them 3 to 10 years ago. The prices don’t always reflect the current market price which is high due to steady inflation. Just between 2014 and 2016, the exchange rate of the dollar against the naira has increased almost 100% due to the ‘change’ President Buhari has gifted us with. A times the owner would feel sorry for me like, “poor kid, he just want to make art, look at how straight all the money are, they must be his life saving. If only he knew that most artists live in poverty”. Of course they never said that but there attitude sometimes suggest that is what they are thinking.

That was how I was able to afford art materials in those days. Apart from my ballpoint pen and cardboard papers, I still scavenge for the best deal when searching for art material by patronising the dusty bookshops of Bauchi.

Anyway, I also improvised and made my own brushes and sometimes colours.

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