Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

Ezra Wube And Time-Based Painting


Ethiopian visual artist Ezra Wube is an interesting man with an interesting art technique. He uses a style called time-based painting, which combines traditional painting methods with technology, and where the art is drawn on a single canvas, photographed, and erased to start anew. When the photographs are collated together, a stop-action animation is created – and the final story become apparent. You can find out more about Ezra and his approach to time-based painting in this video, as part of Standard Chartered Bank‘s “Here For Good” community outreach campaign:

Thanks to TBWA/Tequila, I had a chance to interview Ezra about how an Ethiopian-born, Brooklyn, New York-based young artist aims to spread his brand of art.

1. Tell us about your background and your interest and passion in art.

I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the age of 18, I moved to the United States. I don’t remember when I started to make art. I always did drawings. My first introduction to painting was using food coloring spices such as curry for yellow. I still use food in my art work, coffee has a great pigment.

When I was 14, I won an art contest and with the $50 prize I purchased my first set of oil paints for $45 and a brush for $3. That was it for me.

2. You’ve been given a great opportunity to spread your art around the world with your artistic collaboration with TBWA and some of their biggest clients. How does that make you feel?

As it was a new territory for me to work in TVC, it was very admirable that the agency took on this challenge. In my personal projects I have to do all the work, but working with the agency was like having eight arms. As someone is doing the lighting, someone else is doing the editing and so on. It was an interesting challenge to say so much in such a short time and to find a compromise between being direct while having depth.

3. We hear that one of your dreams is to start an art school back in your home country. Tell us about that dream.

Ethiopia has only one official art school and over 70 million people. There has to be more. Education is the most important need. Opening an art school has been my dream for a long time.

I recognize it is a very ambitious dream, but we all have to start somewhere.

4. Many of Young Upstarts readers are aspiring youths who are also dreaming for a better future. Do you have any words of encouragement to share with them?

Do what you love.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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