Blen Azeze

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I was introduced to art, primarily visual, graphic and performing arts at a very early age. I have been making art for as long as I can remember, but I began to take it more seriously during a semester break back when I was a freshman in high school. My father let me take drawing classes, and I drew every day of that break and loved it so much.

My work ranges from drawing simple but unique artistic sketches to doodle arts which tell a story of their own. I mainly work on drawings using words. I combine my love of music with visual art and draw artists using their songs and lyrics. As Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its indigenous written alphabet, I mostly use the Ge’ez script in the Amharic language to write the words.

I have been practicing and bettering myself using this method since I drew my first drawing of J. Cole during my sophomore year in high school. I got an excellent review from many people. So since then, I started mastering this method to draw many artists. I even got acknowledged by a few of the artists I drew. I have done a few commissioned works for friends and families too.

I am currently a medical student in SPHMMC. There’s a misconception in Ethiopia that if you are pursuing medicine, that there is no room for creativity, or directly outside interests. But I prefer to disagree. What people don’t know is you most certainly can have both the science and the art. The thing to keep in mind is, diluting yourself too much can lead to frustration and subpar work. These fields are vastly different in their scope and level of responsibility. So, you have to figure out which is the cart, and which is the horse (i.e. which you genuinely will commit to first).

The hardest thing I had to face was balancing med school, drawing and my social life. I have to trim my time very wisely, so I do not take energy from one or the other. It’s chaotic yet harmonized. Through it, I learned, drawing and making art is my haven. I often made art for my satisfaction and never had the confidence to fully show it to others. I used it to escape from my daily routine, and that was the only thing I could do to bring me at peace. But for the past few months (meaning after school has been closed due to the pandemic), I’ve taken the time to fully process how to navigate this thing that’s been part of me for a while, to turn it into something inspiring for other people too.

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