Digital technologies are fast becoming an integral part of artists’ creative processes. Traditional art forms such as portraiture, paintings and drawings are increasingly making use of digital tools, and the digital artist has emerged as a modern-day phenomenon in the realm of art.
For 28-year-old painter Bonfils Ngabonziza, digital art is his new artistic frontier. The visual artist first discovered his calling in 2001, while still a student at Kabusunzu Primary School in Gitega, Kigali. He started off by drawing cartoons and illustrations for a children’s publication.
When he enrolled for his secondary studies at Murama Secondary School, Ngabonziza continued with his artistic pursuits, doing cartoons for the school newspaper.
Ngabonziza studied Civil Engineering at Etak Technical School in Gikondo, from where he graduated in 2011.
After high school, the budding painter pursued a secure career in civil engineering at Etak Technical School in Gikondo from where he graduated in 2010. After trying in vain to find employment in his field of study, the artist decided to fall back on his artistic endowments. He launched his painting career from a home studio.
In 2012, he was identified by Charles Kizito, the manager of Ivuka Arts Center in Kacyiru, and brother to the founder, Collins Sekajugo.
“I was with many artists, each of them with their different shades of creativity which drove me to find myself a lot. I even got a chance to work with Know Zone as an illustrator,” said Ngabonziza.
Today, he describes himself as an artist, painter, muralist and illustrator.
In order to hone his digital illustration skills, Ngabonziza recently enrolled at the Africa Digital Media Academy (ADMA), located in Downtown Kigali.
“I am trying to find myself, where I truly want my feet in art but of course Ivuka is still my home. Here is where you find yourself by exploring a new way of how you can draw or create what fits your heart beat. The reason why I went back to school is that I want to see myself in a good exposure of knowledge through my arts,” he said, adding: “Now I will be able to study many things like Digital Media Photography and Digital arts, and I intend to gain more knowledge about animation, modeling, emotion capture etc. The importance of knowing all of this to artists is that we are all living in a world of digital development.”
Ngabonziza noted that: “As an illustrator you will need digital arts to beautify what you drew and again you will need a well experienced illustrator to draw a realistic painting from your own photo you took.”
His dream is to own his own digital and painting studio once he completes his digital media studies.