Art can be expressed in different ways and for Patrick Mulondo, he focuses on using scrap to explore the beauty of hidden figures embedded in scrap.
Although scrap is considered dirt because of its poor disposal, Mulondo says, once given life, it can immensely be pleasing, interesting attractive and can be kept everywhere.
The Uganda Today had a one on one with this 24-year-old talented sculptor who showed us how he uses scrap to solve the problem of disposal and at the same time appreciate its beauty.
QN: Give us a brief history about yourself?
I was born in 1989 in Mpigi district. I went to Bbunga primary school, Maranathy Christian High School and Tropic High School for my secondary and the Makerere University where I did sculpture, fashion, and jewellery. In March 2013, I started Mpat Studio where I am a Managing Director.
QN: When did you discover your talent in art?
When I was young, I used to draw a lot especially the cartoons in New Vision by Ras. I had a 500-page book and I would redraw every publication of his cartoons. When I finished senior four, I was advised to take my art to the next level and in senior six I passed highly with a D1. At Makerere University, I was offered it as my first choice and since then I have been progressing.
QN: What motivated you to do this kind of art (giving life to scrap)?
When I joined Makerere, I was doing sculpture fashion, and jewellery. In 2012, I think my professors saw something unique about my art. They were commissioned by the government to make a monument when Uganda was commemorating 50 years of independence at Kololo Airstrip. They invited me to work with them so they can sharpen and help me build on my CV. I was part of the team leading other young artists. One of the people who motivated me during the three months of work was Maria Naita, a sculptor who never hides any ideas and is also very talented. She taught me how to cast with fibre glass. So I had picked many ideas from that experience.
QN: Where do you get the material to use in your sculptures?
When I lost my parents, I lived on the streets for sometime in 2005 and I used to collect stuff, metals to sell. So today I incorporate that background with my art. I get these street children to bring metals to me and I pay them like twice what they would have got if they had sold them downtown. I use these metals to make the sculptures. However, I have other sources where I get the metals. Street children manage to bring a quarter of what I need. Sometimes I use like 5kgs of metal, so I go downtown in Kisenyi and buy from there.
QN: How long does it take you to make a half or full human sculpture?
With my concept, I incorporate fibre glass (material used to make speeding boats) with other materials. So a whole piece which is only for metals, it takes me like three weeks, working for about 5-4 hours a day.
QN: How long have you been using fiber glass in your work?
Since March 2012
QN: How much do you spend on designing a sculpture?
I use like a kilogram of fiber glass and with metal of like Shs2,000. However, sometimes I use less than a kilogram depending on the size of the sculpture. For a whole figure, I spend about Shs150,000 but plus power it goes to Shs250,000. This is because it has a lot of details.
QN: How do people get to know about your work?
I invite people and when they go they tell someone, so it is a chain. I also have a website which helps me tell people.
QN: How much are your pieces?
It depends on the size, time invested and the resources used. But some are for $2000, $2500, $3000, $3500. I also do jewellery, which goes for about Shs50,000, Shs8,000.
QN: What kind of audience do you target?
People who understand and love art because I give every piece of mine value.
QN: Any new things people should expect from you?
I am developing a new approach in art where I will be using skeletons. It will be a real skeleton with a defined figure.
QN: How many pieces have you sold since you started?
I sold four pieces in a gallery in Mombasa, Kenya at a very good rate, three pieces in America and two here in Uganda. I also sold two pieces to a former Italian ambassador and two to an organisation in America for their fundraiser.
Seven pieces of my pieces were retained at Makerere University. Two are in the Vice Chancellor’s office, three in the art gallery, one was taken by my professor and another was put on display at Makerere which has actually got me many clients.
QN: Do you have a helmet to put on when doing your work especially with the metals?
Yes. I got this helmet from US. When I lost my parents I was lucky enough to get sponsors who saw me through school. So on my birthday last year, they sent me a helmet which I use when welding these metals. It is very strong and it has a sensor and a solar which charges it. It controls the light.
QN: Any future plans for your work.
My dream in the next three years is to have an art studio on a 5acre land, training as many young people as possible. It is very expensive to learn art. It cost me over $5000 dollars every semester. This was tuition plus materials to use.
Facebook: Pat Studio Uganda , Mulondo Patrick