Self-taught artist Gontse Maloka who started practising art during Covid-19 poses with her artwork in Montana. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Self-taught artist Gontse Maloka who started practising art during Covid-19 poses with her artwork in Montana. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)

Gontse Maloka was a beautician but now she is a full-time string artist

By Liam Ngobeni Time of article published Jan 15, 2021

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Pretoria - When the lockdown began, Pretoria North resident Gontse Maloka was a beautician, and now she is a full-time string artist.

The the 31-year-old yesterday told Pretoria News she was originally from Phake-Rankile in Mpumalanga, but now lived in Pretoria North. Her journey with string art started when the country was brought to a screeching halt by Covid-19, putting her out of work.

“I was home doing nothing, so I decided I needed to do something with my hands and time, because I was too stressed. And not knowing whether we would go back to work or what would happen, decided to try what my dad used to do as a hobby, something he never went far with.

“I looked at one of his pieces and thought, this wouldn’t hurt to try or cost much, so I decided to get a few supplies to emulate one of his pieces. I did the first piece and decided to do a few more, until there were 15. I then advertised online. The rest is history.”

Maloka studied beauty therapy and worked as a beautician, but had to leave when she fell sick and could not manage to work. But this was a push for her to start her own business.

“Since October last year I have been just doing string art exclusively. It has not been an easy few months. I was constantly wondering where I would get clients, if I was on the right path, if that was the right choice for me, or how I would get my work out there in terms of advertising.”

Her pieces follow various themes, and she also creates what is ordered by clients.

She creates pieces that showcase that various things can be done - from portraits to even a unicorn.

Her flat houses numerous pieces, made for various tastes and styles.

“I get inspiration from different things and places.

“It’s still tricky to target people and tastes, but I am finding my groove in different categories.”

She said for her father it started as just a hobby “… but I took it further and said ‘hold on, I can create a brand and get some revenue from this’. So when I got a positive response it clicked, that this could be something big.

“I would love to have a studio, where people can come in and view my work and purchase pieces that they love. I would love to collaborate with various companies and get to export my work overseas.”

Maloka has also had high-profile clients including Somizi, in the early phases of her work, as well as Kings of the Weekend, Bathu the local sneaker brand.

She wants to bring a different form of art not really seen out there, and give people unique pieces.

“I did not know that I am an artist, I could say art found me. It is still a bit of learning the industry and getting to understand what happens in the industry.”

Giving advice to artists on the come up, she said it needed time and patience to strive to be different and unique in what you do and never give up because the journey is never easy.

Pretoria News

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