By Thembelani Mkhize
I like to think of art as a form of unsurpassed visual communication. A language that all can see but only a few will ever understand. For Pietermaritzburg’s Sandisiwe “The Art” Sithole, creating artistic masterpieces is a way of not just communicating but connecting with her divine being.
She goes by the name Sandi The Art and the self-taught “Shicasso”, as I like to call her, is a painter, sketch artist and skilled photographer.
“As a kid I liked drawing but after being repeatedly told that it had no monetary value and I couldn’t make a career out of it, I didn’t pay much attention to my gift,” says the 22-year-old artist from Edendale. She graduated from Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School in 2015 and studied geography and environmental management at UKZN Pietermaritzburg.
“I rediscovered my love for art during my early varsity years, and the more I did it, the more I got better at it, until it got to a point where people were willing to pay for my work,” says Sithole.
She considers her creations an extension of herself – the attention to detail and different pencils she uses have an interesting way of making her art come to life.
“I surprise myself every time I do something new or I see my work. I always feel like I’ve just created something new and that’s my gift. There are art materials I want to explore further and master. Charcoal, coloured pencils, paint, fabric art. I also would like to do some graphics in future,” says Sithole. “Every time I draw or paint something I feel this connection with not only myself but God. Art was God’s gift to me, so practising and getting better at it was my gift to him.”
Sithole started photography after some much-needed encouragement from Redbrick City’s Mr LiveT (Thabiso Sindane). She started working with Redbrick City taking snapshots at events like The Pietermaritzburg Food Festival, The Live experience Fridays, and the Induku Experience.
“I had a camera for more than two years before I actually started using it and I found I was quite good at that too” she added.
Her goal is to start her own business. In the last couple years, she’s also been focussing on family portraits, which she says cost about R800 (her highest price thus far) or more.
Her mother has been the biggest influence in her life and is someone who taught her a lot about herself and life. “I just want to give her the world she gave me,” says the young artist.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth these past few years” says Sandi. “I’ve developed my skills a lot more and I’ve been gaining confidence in myself and in my art,” she added.
To see some of Sandi The Art’s creation, check out her Instagram page: @Sandi_the_art
She is also dabbling in fabric art in a very innovative way. Her emoji jacket was an instant sensation and she plans to share the concept with anyone willing to pay the bucks for it.