High Artist Spotlight: Noh Balcha
“My name is Noh Balcha and I am a digital artist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I started using computers when I was 8 (that was back in 1993) pushing pixels in Microsoft Paint on Windows 3.1. Living in Addis, wanting to be a digital artist has always been a gigantic mind-fuck that I just can’t believe I had endured for all those years.
I studied architecture but never practiced it because what you learned in school and what you did in the real world was never the same. Creativity is never understood, encouraged or appreciated in my society. If you are creative you are told to put down those silly notions and become a doctor, lawyer or a pilot and make your parents proud. My society is a victim of not being exposed to beautiful things. They have never experienced it so they do not understand how it could solve all their self-image problem that is seen manifesting in the dumb conflicts they are experiencing between them. You rarely see good or beautiful things. And this is why I do what I do. I create images of my people in situations that had never been imagined in their society.
By doing this I hope that it can get engraved into their subconscious mind and drive them to a better future.
I usually have a clear picture of what I want to create at the start of my session. I am terrible at drawing. Weird, but not uncommon. I looove photoshop. If it wasn’t for it don’t think I could have done what I did all those years. I love just spending hours on it piecing images together. I just let the natural process take over.
This piece is titled ‘Finally Unbound’. Monks, as well as a majority of my people, are either skeptical or unwilling to accept technology. It is seen as a threat to tradition and religion. But here we see this monk merging religion and tradition with technology and just at peace with God.”