Darsan Ainembabazi are my names.
I am a self-taught visual artist in Uganda.
I was born and raised in Kabale district.
I Create Tomorrow by Vodafone Uganda.
Lenovo Yoga 3.
It is slim, sleek, light, flips 360 degrees, can work as a tablet and it’s easy to hold and manipulate.
Current mobile device
iPhone 6S plus.
Good camera for both photos and video recording (4K), good battery, no virus attacks, works perfectly well under instruction, slim, easy to use and has a fast processor.
One word that describes how I work.
How did you end up at your current gig
I came across an online competition organized by Vodafone Uganda that happened to cover my field of operation as one of the three categories, so I submitted a 45 seconds video that entailed the type of work I was doing and how I intended to create a better tomorrow for Uganda. The grand prize for the overall three winners was an all expenses trip to London to draw you close to achieving your dreams.
Are there any career decisions/life choices/failures that were fundamental in making you the person you are now, doing what you are doing now?
After my High School at St. Marys College Kisubi, I was not able to join Art School but, because deep within I really wanted to make everything in and around my art career happen, I took it upon myself to juggle Art as a career and business school at MUBS. I still needed to get Artwork moving regardless of the fact that I was in business school.
Is your start-up (or whatever applies here) able to fully support you or do you have side gigs to sustain you as it grows?
I am currently operating with the I Create Tomorrow gig and it is able to fully support me as this career grows. It was not just about going to London; it was about the results of the trip to London, so I am doing everything within my means to ensure that this project grows my career and everyone else in the same career.
I have personal clients too.
Any stories of some of the struggles/sacrifices you’ve had to make to see this dream come to life?
I am a finalist at Makerere University Business School and I had two options when the I Create Tomorrow opportunity came through; to go to London and build my dream career, or give up and sit my final exams for the first semester of third year and later apply and compete for the same jobs as people who are probably not as gifted as I am, which I considered as being unfair. I would rather build Art as a career so as to inspire, employ and shape other people and art careers behind me.
I, therefore, made a decision to go to London to build, improve, grow and make a self-sustainable career from which thousands of artists, that probably have not had a chance to go to art school like me, shall cling onto and be recognized and respected for all the struggles they ever went through to make their dreams happen. I made this sacrifice for specific reasons like these.
How do you hope to leverage winning the Vodafone #iCreateTomorrow competition to take your projects to the next level?
Through #iCreateTomorrow, I was able to exhibit in London, UK. I met high profile artists and personalities in my field of expertise. I got in touch with the Great Art store for art and design equipment. I am now part of the Creative Debuts team in London as an exhibitor and my works are up on the walls of the Black & White Building, London. We are holding several meetings to see to it that the results of this trip manifest in Uganda.
I am not hoping to, I am actually taking my projects to the next level with Vodafone Uganda. I do not think at this level I can turn back.
Stay tuned to see what happens with this program.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I can’t live without Gmail, Facebook and Instagram. These are my key advertising tools. They act like my portfolio because, even without first meeting me, people are able to see and understand what I do. This is where I meet, negotiate and close deals with clients if it’s not face-to-face.
What’s your workspace like?
Anywhere is a workspace for me as long I have a piece of canvas, pastels, a few brushes and acrylic paint.
What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?
It’s quite simple. Having to balance business school and art, I do not sleep, I rest. This is how I am able to attend class during day and paint at night. That is how I beat deadlines from both engagements.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
What gadget can’t you live without and why?
I can’t live without my Phone. Like I said, it is where I meet, negotiate and close deals with clients. It actually is my office.
What everyday thing are you better at than most?
Every other day, I learn, do and talk something new about art. This is how I manage to keep informed about my art.
How do you recharge?
I’m a very prayerful person, so there is no other recharge point or style for me as strong as prayer, whatever the situation.
I also listen to motivational speakers, and one of my favorite speakers is Dr. Eric Thomas commonly known as ET.
What do you listen to while you work?
I listen to Jason Mraz, Ronan Keating and George Strait. Very thoughtful music/lyrics. Dr. ET as well.
What are you currently reading? What usually leads you to buy a book? Books you’ve read recently that have impacted on you deeply? What kind of impact did they have?
Well. I am not a books kind of person. That is not being true to myself. However, while I was growing up, my mom did a lot of reading and she would enlighten me on what the content of the book was, for example, Stop Worrying and Start Living. This process got me to adapt, embrace situations and know how to live around them without worrying. Thanks to mum.
I also read lots of articles about art to get to know what is transpiring on the International art scene.
Any mentors/role models that you are working with/have inspired you and what lessons have you managed to learn from them?
My biggest mentor in the art Industry has been Ssajjabi Edward Kamugisha, a painter from Kabale. Edward picked interest in the young passionate artist that was within me. He took me to his studio, taught me how to stretch and prepare a piece of canvas for artwork, shared with me all those small little details I needed to become a successful artist and, up to now, he still is my mentor and critic. He also offered to showcase three artworks of mine at Bird Nest Hotel, close to Lake Bunyonyi in south-western Uganda, under his name because he was a prominent exhibitor there.
My mom is my biggest role model. She is a very strong woman. There is no single day of my life as I grew up where I saw her fall to the ground and stay there. She always made sure we watched her bounce back up because whatever she wants, she gets. Extremely hardworking lady.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I am more of an extrovert.
What’s your sleep routine like?
To be honest, it is a little irregular because at times, just when I feel like it is time to sleep, this is when am actually at my best on the canvas. So I forego the sleep just to get those shades, strokes and tones right.
What can keep me awake, can put food on my table.
How do you strike a balance between work, family, friends and other social obligations?
Work is work. When I have a deadline to beat or something important to finish up, I do that first unless it is an emergency that comes up. I am more comfortable and settled around family and friends when I have accomplished tasks.
Social obligations, these I manage to keep up with because most of the people around me love to see what I am doing, or what I recently completed. So, to work more, I keep up with my social obligations as a pushing force.
Who else would you love to see answer these same questions?
John Ssenkeezi, Marketing Social Media & Digital Specialist. Vodafone Uganda.
I feel like there is a powerful brain behind that name.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My family advised me to consider this London Trip as a breakthrough for me over my final exams at school. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that if I had turned down, I’d never have forgiven myself.
If you have any additional questions for Darsan, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. He will try and answer those he can. Click here to read other Hustle Tales
The Hustle Tales (adapted from LifeHackers, How I Work series) asks people that are doing epic things how they go through their daily routines to make sure whatever is needed to get the job accomplished is done. If you are interested in doing one these interviews or know someone you think should do one, inbox us with the details and we’ll see if we can make it happen.