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Meet Thato Mwosa of Tuli Art in Milton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Thato Mwosa.

Thato, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Tuli Art was inspired by my daughter Tuli who was one year old at the time. When I started thinking about decor for her bedroom, I had the ballet theme in mind.  I ventured out to different stores in search of ballet art pieces but was disappointed when I discovered that black/brown ballerina art was scarce.  That sparked my idea to create my own illustrations that represented girls of color. The result was an array of brown/black ballerinas in different poses wearing bold and vibrant costumes. I also made some ballerina silhouettes which are great because they represent young girls of any color. So far, I have illustrations of over 20 ballerinas with names including ones named in honor of Misty Copeland, Ingrid Silva, and Michaela DePrince.

I continued exploring different themes and i was naturally drawn to African women art. So I started my Afrik Art series, which features black women wearing bold and vibrant Afro-centric fabric. In these Afrik illustrations, I try to capture the beauty of a modern cosmopolitan Afro-centric woman who is sophisticated, fierce and is not afraid of expressing herself in a bold color. The designs are intricate patterns that embody the Afropolitan essence.

My animal series is specifically created for kids or nursery room décor. The illustrations are often in bold contrasting colors, which create a compelling palate.

I also expanded my product line to add t-shirts, tote bags, and greeting cards all using my art images.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is never a smooth road when you a small business. I think the biggest struggle for me as an artist is having the time and space to create. Because I work full time as a Film Teacher, I come home exhausted and I still have to mother my kids so my art takes a back seat most days. I get to create only when I have downtime. It’s a great stress reliever and I love getting into that zone. The other big hurdle is funding. There are many things I would like to do with Tuli Art such as expansion and distribution to other markets but right now, I am taking it one step at a time.

Tuli Art – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
For the most part, Tuli Art specializes in children’s art and I think that’s what sets it apart. When I started creating a line of black/brown ballerinas, I didn’t realize how many mothers longed to have art pieces that represented their own kids. I have received a lot of support from mothers and I am so grateful.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment always is when I see little eyes spark when they see a Tuli Art ballerina. I had a girl once tell her mom that she wanted the ballerina because it looks like her.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Photos by Eroc Arroyo-Montano

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