Art pieces paying student's N.U.S. tuition fees

Exposure to the art world has begun to pay dividends for 24-year-old National University of Samoa [N.U.S.] student Gert-Jan Jakobus.

The eldest of eight children, he is now pursuing a bachelor of arts degree at the NUS majoring in Samoan studies with a minor in visual arts.

Mr. Jakobus told the Samoa Observer that he has been selling his artwork which he has used to pay his tuition fees.

He said enrolling in the program at the university has given him a new perspective on how to run a successful art business.

"Additionally [the N.U.S.] art agency has taught me that I need to work accordingly if I want to earn money," he said.

"Some of our art pieces are displayed at a few restaurants in town, that way people can see it and be able to buy it.

"So once someone buys any art pieces from any student, 30 per cent of the money goes to the art agency because they prepare the brushes, paint and canvases while 70 per cent is for the artist who owns the piece and the idea."

Mr. Jakobus says he can work on more than three art pieces in an hour and has probably earned more than $800 from the sale of his pieces, which he has used to pay his tuition fees.

"I probably have earned about more than $800 here since I enrolled at N.U.S. from selling my art pieces and that’s about 20 pieces sold," he added. 

"Before the tuition fee deadline this semester, I had worked on my pieces here in school and out of school which had allowed me to pay for my own tuition fee.

"I’m now able to attend school and pay off my own tuition."

Mixing and interacting with other art students at the NUS has also been a learning experience for Mr. Jakobus. 

"I’m always keen on helping others and sharing my talent with them and in the same way, I’m keen to learn from other students’ as well to develop my skills.

“Art is one of the fastest careers of generating money and I believe that one can earn so much in probably a day and it’s one of the fastest ways of making money to help support my family.”

Sky is now the limit for the budding artist who aspires to become a well-known artist in Samoa and over the long-term promote the country to the world. 

"My goal is to become an artist in Samoa and to be an artist that can be able to promote Samoa to the world. If famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci could do [it] then I believe I could too if I put my all into my work," he emphasised.

The next project is an art exhibition before the end of this year, which he said will focus on COVID-19 and its connection to domestic violence. 

The theme of the art exhibition will be “Violence from COVID-19.”

"However, at the moment I’m working towards a theme and the theme is violence from COVID-19," he said.

"I believe that domestic violence of women and girls have risen increasingly because of the global pandemic."

Mr. Jakobus has come a long way since graduating from the Leulumoega School of Fine Art, in an interview with this newspaper, he said his art has benefited from international exposure when he was at Leulumoega.

"[These included] the [International Conference on Small Island Developing States] and I also got the opportunity to attend [an] arts festival that was held in Guam,” he said.

He said his experience in Guam taught him the value of working diligently to generate his own ideas while meeting others’ expectations. 

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