Cesar Ngabo; a digital artist fusing traditional and modern art

Ngabo’s digital artwork has been used in horror films in the US. Courtesy photos.

Cesar Desire Ngabo, is one of the many 21st century artists who has taken the digital approach towards his artwork. Although mostly known for his visual art, the 23- year-old, is a visual artist, designer, photographer, beat maker and guitarist.

Also known as El’Cesart, his main forte is fusing traditional and digital art that he posts on his Instagrampage @Cesar_does_it’ and his website www.Elcesart.com.

The self-taught artist discovered his passion for digital art in 2014 and has since developed his own unique style and gained world recognition.

“I grew up with a passion to create and as a child I was known for my drawing. At first I thought it was something quite common until I grew up and realised it was something special that I had, so before I joined college I knew that I wanted to do art and I ended up becoming an artist.

What drew me to digital art however, was curiosity. When I joined Instagram in 2014, I began seeing many digital artworks on Instagram and I loved the way they were always clean with vibrant colors. So out of curiosity I did my research and taught myself how to make the same type of art, and I’m still learning,” he says.

It was then that he began exploring the then new type of art, known as digital art starting with vector art and later digital painting with the help of YouTube tutorials, and observation.

“When I got interested in digital art, I got a laptop and started doing art using a mouse, until I began improving,” he adds.

A year later he joined college, in the Philippines to pursue a degree in TradigitalFinearts which is a mixture of Traditional and Modern or digital arts that involves photography, animation and is set to graduate soon.

Cesar Ngabo is a self taught hypercreative digital artist. 

“That is when I started taking serious art classes like art history and photography. I now do digital art with a mixture of traditional art or separately. I have done portraits for artistes out of inspiration and out of the love that I had for them, not for the sake of being noticed, although some ended up noticing like Lupita Nyongo, Michael B. Jordan, T Pain, Akon, Willow and Jaden Smith, and many. Only Jordan however has purchased the portrait.”

On being asked whom or what he seeks inspiration from, Ngabo says his inspiration isn’t limited to a person or an object, but a variety of things.

“Life and everything I see and hear inspire me to make art. I get inspired by seeing people from diverse cultures. I have been blessed to live in many different places and every culture I get to experience just becomes an inspiration which is why I find myself mostly doing portraits of people. I also get inspired by photography which is why I do photography as well,” he explains.

As a Rwandan student based in Manila, Philippines learning art, Ngabo tries to make some money on commissions out of his artwork, thanks to the exposure of social media and his website.

“I started doing commissions in 2015, a time when my art wasn’t good and I wasn’t really known but I kept getting better and the better your art is the more clients.

If there is a commission I can make portraits for anybody, also I make portraits inspired by black American culture. I’ve beenthinking about making a couple of series of public figures in Rwanda but that is something that is still in the pipeline,” he says.

His artwork however isn’t limited to black culture. His biggest clients include Revolt TV, ( an American Television owned by P.Diddy), and Bleachers Report, a sports magazine and has also worked with big movie creators like 2019 Oscar awardee If Beale Street Could Talk where he did artworks for them that were displayed all over Harlem in New York on billboards.

Art to him is life “because it’s my way of living and even if I wasn’t making an income out of it, I would still create art. It is a lifestyle.”

“I keep reminding myself that I am doing art out of love and to inspire. With that being said, I will keep on creating so that I can inspire as many people as I can mainly in the Black community. I make art with intentions to provoke a thought, an idea or a feeling whether consciously or unconsciously to my audience. I always try to empower and inspire the black community because we have been undermined for so long. I make works that are meant to show us how beautiful and powerful we are. That’s my passion,” he says.

To further his trade he is selling apparel that showcase own artwork and hopes to keep working with bigger companies as well as individuals as he works towards bettering his craft.