At the age of 21 Talu Ratshitanga has become a master of her craft. Her sketches are done with so much passion and drive that they leave you in a complete awe. Even though she calls herself an aspiring artist but her craft speaks for itself. The Weekly Gazette got Talu to put down her pencil and brushes for a chat.

TWG: As a young artist what would you say are some of the challenges you are faced with?
TR: Putting your art out there into the world makes you very vulnerable. People are very opinionated especially online and as a young aspiring artist, you tend to get a bit too concerned with how people will react to your work and you may sometimes fall into the trap of creating art strictly based on what other people like/prefer to see. It takes some real self assurance to really stay true to yourself no matter what.

TWG: If you were given a chance to change your career would you and which career would you go for and why?
TR: Never. I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I love and to be surrounded by people that are as passionate, driven and smart. That rubs off on me.
TWG: Do you have New Year’s resolutions?
TR: I don’t like setting New Year’s resolutions. I have one big goal and I set smaller, ‘short term’ ones that I continuously work on to help me get there. I don’t like the idea of having to wait for a new day, week, month or year in order to start something.

TWG: What does your day at work look like?
TR: I work at an advertising agency by day. I get to the office at 8. The day is made up of brainstorming sessions, reviewing ideas and conceptualizing.

TWG: What has pushed your career to where you are now?
TR: Passion, lots of late nights.

TWG: How far are you willing to go as an artist?
TR: The ultimate goal is to own an art
studio-that not only showcases my work, but other African artists that inspire/d me. I have big plans on that, that I cant divulge at the moment!
TWG: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
TR: I’m constantly finding creatives who are doing an amazing job at staying true to who they are and capturing that in their work. The likes of Trevor Stuurman, Tony Gum, Cedric Nzaka.

TWG: Was it always your dream to be an artist?
TR: It wasn’t always a dream to be an artist. For a long time I was under the ‘art is a hobby and not a career path’ spell.

TWG: What does being an artist in South Africa mean to you?
TR: It means I have a huge responsibility to create original, quality art that’s true to my South African experience. We’ve been referencing American culture for long enough. I want the generation after me to be inspired by home grown material.
TWG: What inspired you to draw your first drawing?
TR: Back when I was little, Arts & Culture (at school) was the only time I would draw/ create any type of art. I enjoyed doing it, and I was applauded for some of the pieces I would submit. Soon, I began drawing at home. I mean I had a sketch book and some pencils so why not? I only realised later that creating art was my ‘safe haven’. I haven’t stopped ever since.

TWG: What has been your greatest achievement that you are most proud of?
TR: My greatest achievement so far is being able to know myself better. I struggled for a very long time to ‘find myself’ as an artist and to potray that in my work. I’m enjoying art even more now, because I’m emotionally connected to my work. It’s a work in progress, but I’m definitely proud.
TWG: Have you achieved all that you want to achieve, or do you still have a lot of goals?
TR: I’m still young! I definitely haven’t achieved all that I want to achieve! I’m just getting started.

TGWG: How would you define yourself?
TR: An artist in learning.

TGWG: What do you do to relax after a long day at work?
TR: If I’m not listening to music and drawing, I binge watch series!

Complete the sentence My dream holiday is… anywhere with a beach and good food.

My perfect day would be…Getting up at 10am, drawing or painting to the sounds of Erykah Badu, Jordan Rankei, alone.

If I had a super power it would be…Being invisible I love observing people… It would be quiet nice doing it without frightening them.